NFC - An Ideal Mobile Technology for Millennials

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How can bringing intelligence and connectivity to everyday objects influence millennials’ purchasing decisions? And how is a smartphone able to build brand loyalty within this influential demographic?  

The answers are evident when you consider what millennials want in terms of a purchasing experience or brand interaction.

For one thing, an appealing brand story is often a key component of a marketing-to-millennials strategy.  When properly presented, it helps create an engaging experience and establishes an emotional connection with the consumer.

Millennials also want to feel good about the products they purchase. This extends beyond the brand story and touches upon more practical product attributes, such as how it was made, what ingredients it contains, where it was grown, when it was harvested, and the manner in which it was shipped. 

And let’s not forget – with millennials, instant gratification is a primary driver. They want immediate and seamless access to information and they want it on their own terms.

NFC – near field communication – is an ideal technology that meets virtually all of these millennial-centric needs. The technology rests in the hands of nearly every millennial with a smartphone, and year-over-year growth of NFC mobile users has averaged over 112% since 2013.

Plus, NFC provides direct communications between a brand/manufacturer and millennials, after the purchase, not just in pre-sale. The interaction is much less intrusive than Bluetooth or iBeacons, and is easier to use and faster than QR codes – as much as 15 times faster

Tapping a smartphone to an object that has an NFC tag can instantly serve up a promotional offer, peer-generated product reviews, loyalty incentives, or the means to easily share info with friends via social channels – catering to millennial wants and influencing their mobile purchasing experience and decisions.

Through both browser- and app-based mobile experiences, millennial consumers can be immediately directed to relevant information about how to use, prepare, and better appreciate the products being tapped. They can also learn more about product lineage, contribute to a brand’s charitable cause, or instantly reorder a product – all without sorting through search engine results or navigating complicated websites. 

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Topics: NFC, OpenSense, consumer engagement, millennial, mobile marketing

Quality Management Systems Enhance Global Competitiveness

Posted by Henrik Sjöberg, Sr. Vice President Product Management on Oct 26, 2015 12:43:00 PM

After a concerted effort by our Quality Management team and the entire Thinfilm organization, I am very proud to report that Thin Film Electronics has received “ISO 9001 Certification.” Our certificate is applicable to sales, technology development, product development and production of electronics by printing.

Compliance to ISO 9001 is a major milestone in Thinfilm’s transition from research and development to design and manufacturing.  The Quality Management System (QMS) we have put in place encompasses manufacturing and assembly of printed electronics and will help us optimize existing processes and provide a framework for continuous improvement. 

Alignment of procedures across our global organization improves Thinfilm’s ability to deliver high quality products and services to our customers.  Furthermore, the establishment of Thinfilm’s QMS has helped us formulate the company’s vision and mission to innovate within the printed electronics industry. 

ISO 9001 certification validates the integrity of our QMS and serves to enhance our competitiveness in the global marketplace. 

 

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Topics: NFC, printed electronics

FlexTech Alliance Awarded $75 Million to Advance Flexible Hybrid Electronics

Posted by Jennifer Ernst, Chief Strategy Officer on Sep 2, 2015 10:01:48 AM

Congratulations to FlexTech Alliance for receiving a $75 million Department of Defense award to establish and manage a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) for Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE MII). The new institute is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program (NNMI), an initiative of the Obama Administration to support advanced manufacturing in the U.S.FHEMII

As Chairman of the Board of FlexTech and a longtime member of the organization, I have seen first-hand how the Alliance has built a successful track record of facilitating collaboration and advancing technologies from R&D to commercialization.

The new Institute, guided by FlexTech, will impact markets beyond defense. Developing an infrastructure for flexible electronics will spur growth in other industries that benefit from electronics that are fabricated on a thin and flexible form factor.

Flexible electronics are already re-shaping multiple markets. For example, we’ve been experiencing increased demand for flexible electronic labels that dynamically sense temperature excursions and help preserve perishable medicine or foods. We also see tremendous interest in wireless NFC tags that allow consumers to communicate with products and help connect the physical and digital worlds.  

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Topics: NFC, printed electronics

How Can “Smart Bottles” Confront Counterfeits … and Improve the Consumer Experience?

In the wine industry – particularly in Asia – counterfeit wine is sadly almost common. According to recent reports, 50-70 percent of wine sold in China is potentially a counterfeit. For premium brand wines, this percentage could be higher.

But what if a connected “smart bottle", that communicated with your smartphone, could tell you if that bottle of wine you’re about to purchase has been illegally refilled, is an all-out fake, or is actually the real thing … among other pieces of information about the bottle's content?  

At Mobile World Congress Shanghai on July 15-17, Thinfilm demonstrated how smart technology can provide a solution to check the authenticity of wine bottles across the supply chain and directly to consumers.

The smart bottle concept – featuring Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense™ technology – can monitor individual bottles that are packaged, shipped, stocked and purchased in their original factory-sealed state. After unveiling the industry's first "smart wine bottle" made with printed electronics at the show, Thinfilm is now executing a live field trial in collaboration with G World and Ferngrove Wine Group. 

In addition to OpenSense’s ability to provide authenticity checks, those who visited our booth for demonstrations were excited to see that our smart technology could also give consumers visibility into product lineage. While authentication of a product’s originality is critical, consumer engagement is now weighed in as a factor when brand owners calculate ROI for such solutions.

Consumers are expressing increased concerns about the way their food, beverages, health and beauty products are grown, harvested, and produced.  Having access to brand information before (and after) a purchase is a valuable way for consumers to learn about their product’s ingredients, manufacturing process, and environmental friendliness.

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Topics: NFC, OpenSense, anti-counterfeiting, consumer engagement

Thinfilm’s NFC Technology - Changing the way consumers, products and brand owners interact

Posted by Kai Leppanen, Chief Commercial Officer on Jun 10, 2015 6:17:14 PM

In the first quarter of 2015, Thinfilm introduced NFC OpenSenseTM, a new near field communication (NFC) sensor tag technology. NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible tags that can detect a product’s sealed and open states and wirelessly communicate content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone or device.

In the same time frame, we unveiled the Johnnie Walker Blue Label® “smart bottle” with Diageo and showcased it at Mobile World Congress 2015. The connected “smart bottle” will allow Diageo to send personalized communications to consumers who read the tags with their smartphones both before and after opening the bottle.

We are now excited to be partnering with additional leading companies in our efforts to bridge the physical and digital worlds and make everyday items smart. We recently signed several agreements with global leaders in the spirits, tobacco, and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries for demonstration systems featuring Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense product.

These agreements fortify our vision to fundamentally change the way consumers, products and brand owners all interact.

In addition to these commercial agreements, we are teaming up with the World Customs Organization (WCO) to combat global counterfeiting issues. Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense and NFC BarcodeTM products will be the first NFC-based solutions to be included in the WCO’s IPM anti-counterfeiting tool.

Because Thinfilm’s tags contain unique identifiers, it is possible to track products at the individual-item level.  Customs officers will be able to immediately verify the authenticity of products with the wave of an NFC-enabled smartphone, tablet or industrial reading device.

Come learn more about NFC OpenSense and other Thinfilm products at one of these upcoming events.

HBA Global, Health & Beauty America 
June 9-11, 2015, New York, NYThinfilm will be presenting during the Internet of Things conference session.

Cardware 2015 – Payment & Digital ID Insights
June 16-17, 2015, Niagara Falls, Canada
See our presentation “Taking NFC Beyond Payments: New business models enabled by item-level intelligence”.

Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2015
July 15-17, 2015, Shanghai, China
Thinfilm is showcasing NFC OpenSense inside the “GSMA Innovation City” exhibition area.

 

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Topics: NFC, OpenSense, world customs organization

Thinfilm demonstrates how printed electronics will help build the Internet of Everything

Posted by Dr. Davor Sutija, CEO - Thinfilm on Apr 15, 2015 2:08:00 PM

This week, Thinfilm will be demonstrating how printed electronics will help build the Internet of Everything.OpenSense_Pure_Elegance

Predictions abound that, over the coming decade, tens of billions of objects - perhaps even hundreds of billions of objects – will become part of the expanding “Internet of Everything”.

The question is no longer whether this will likely occur, but rather, what will this emerging landscape look like? While a good deal of the discussion so far has centered on the types of networks carrying information from these billions of endpoints to the cloud, and the Big Data applications that will mine and analyze this trove, much less has been written about how these ubiquitous endpoints will communicate, and what they will look like.

Conventional electronics are unlikely to be able to scale sufficiently to get to where companies like IBM and Cisco expect the world to be by no later than 2021. Many analysts are beginning to look elsewhere, and a growing consensus now predicts that printed electronics will be a key element in scaling and expanding the range of objects that will soon become “smart”. 

These disposable and wearable products may not need to be as smart as more expensive conventional electronic devices, but they will be performant enough to detect changes in the environment such as temperature, humidity, and other variables, while also helping the consumer determine that products are authentic and have not been compromised.

For brand owners, the expectation that smart objects can engage consumers provides new modes of how to market to the long tail, clustering users into more precise demographics and categories, and approaching the previously unattainable goal of interacting individually with each consumer - the proverbial “market of one”.

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Topics: NFC

.Cheers to Smart Labels at Mobile World Congress

Posted by Bill Cummings, VP - Marketing & Communications on Mar 12, 2015 7:42:02 AM


 

Greetings from Barcelona! There is a lot to be excited about this week at Mobile World Congress – we will reveal new technology on the world’s first smart liquor bottle, our CEO will deliver a visionary keynote address, and our CSO will join industry leaders in a discussion on industry-led mobile innovation.

 

 

 

 

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2014: A Year in Review

Posted by Bill Cummings, VP - Marketing & Communications on Jan 22, 2015 10:30:00 AM

There’s no doubt that 2014 was a momentous year for Thinfilm. In addition to developing new and innovative technologies, we became a product company with a number of commercial achievements. Beyond that, Thinfilm celebrated many successes related to clients, partners, new technology, corporate funding, media exposure, industry awards, and thought leadership.

Here’s a look back at our journey in 2014 – a list that highlights our most notable achievements, all of which have helped move us closer to making the Internet of Everything a reality:

January 8: Thinfilm announced it would form an alliance with Brady Corporation to bring electronic smart labels to market.

January 21: Thinfilm acquired certain assets of Kovio, Inc. – including its innovative PDPS (printed dopant polysilicon) technology and announced the opening of its NFC Innovation Center in Silicon Valley.

March 31: Thinfilm and Temptime collaborated to deliver printed electronic temperature indicators for use in distribution, storage and management of sensitive medical products.

April 1: Thinfilm announced a commercial distribution agreement with PakSense, Inc., a market leader in the development of intelligent sensing products specifically designed to monitor perishable goods.   

May 9: Thinfilm announced it had entered into new design and prototype agreements with two additional leading global companies in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) markets. Both programs involve custom uses of Thinfilm’s printed electronics technologies for smart labels.

May 27: Thinfilm, along with Nedap Retail, a leading developer and supplier of innovative solutions for the retail market, announced it will partner to supply global fashion brands with a high-value loss prevention system that will go to market under Nedap’s !FaST brand.

May 28: Thinfilm successfully demonstrated the industry’s first printed NFC-enabled Smart Label. You can view a video of the demonstration, which shows the wireless capture of threshold excursion data from a a temperature-sensing smart label, here.

July 2: Thinfilm announced a collaboration agreement with EVRYTHNG, the Web of Things software company that makes physical products smart by connecting them to unique digital identities on the Web.  

September 2: Thinfilm announced a partnership with Flextronics, a leading end-to-end global supply-chain solutions company, in which Flextronics will further expand its Open Innovation Platform with the addition of Thinfilm’s award-winning technology.

September 8: PharmaManufacturing.com named Thinfilm a 2014 “All-Star Innovator” for its NFC Smart Label product.

September 11: Thinfilm was a winner at the 2014 CTIA Emerging Technology Awards in the “M2M, Internet of Things, Sensors, RFID and NFC” category. CTIA, The Wireless Association, is an international organization representing the wireless telecommunications industry.

October 8: Thinfilm completed the first 7-figure unit delivery of its EAS tags.

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Mobile 360 Europe Roundup - Connectivity and the IoT

Posted by Kai Leppanen, Chief Commercial Officer on Dec 18, 2014 5:13:00 PM

This December, Thinfilm was invited to participate in Mobile 360 Europe, in Brussels. The conference brought together industry and policy leaders to explore the opportunities mobile communications provide. Some of the most significant discussions centered on expanding the capabilities of mobile.

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Topics: NFC

A Basic Memory Device Adds Intelligence to Simple Consumable Items

Posted by Jennifer Ernst, Chief Strategy Officer on Dec 2, 2014 1:46:00 PM

Thinfilm_20-bit_memory_labelThe power of printed electronics lies in its ability to add intelligence to large volumes of everyday objects at a relatively low cost. A simple memory label attached to a consumable refill or replaceable part can help tell us whether water is clean, disinfectant is effective, or automobile parts are compatible.  

A printed memory is not only cost-effective but it is also easy to use. Thinfilm’s non-volatile rewritable memory comes in a thin adhesive label and requires only a simple contact-based reader.  Unlike EEPROMs that have rigid substrates, these Memory Labels are easy to integrate into almost any product. Plus, our readers are smaller than alternative RF-based solutions.

Memory labels have applications across industries. For instance, in a hospital setting where physicians and nurses are constantly using anti-bacterial soap dispensers to sterilize their hands, a Thinfilm Memory Label attached to soap refills can count how many times soap is dispensed before it’s time to replace the refill.

Using this information, the base unit – in this case the dispenser – could send a message that a new refill is needed. Or the dispenser can be programmed to stop working altogether once a pre-set limit is reached until a fresh refill is inserted. This would prevent any improper replenishing with lower quality soap or other unknown and potentially unsafe liquid.

In other industries, memory label solutions can enable office printers to communicate when an ink cartridge needs replacement, empower auto mechanics to determine when a new air filter is required, and allow refrigerators to tell us how many days  remain until a water filter should be replaced, based on data stored on the consumable.

For more information about Thinfilm Memory Labels, click here to download our brochure or view our presentation.

What do YOU think? Can a thinner, smaller and affordable memory make consumable items interactive? We’d love to hear from you.

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About Thinfilm Thoughts

Thinfilm Thoughts is the blog for Thinfilm Electronics ASA (“Thinfilm”). The postings published here present our opinions and thought leadership views regarding printed electronics technology and products, the printed electronics industry, and the role that printed electronics will play in powering the Internet of Everything.