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, SVP - Corporate 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, SVP - Corporate 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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Printed Sensors: Cost-Saving Innovation in Healthcare

This week at the Trillion Sensors (TSensors) Summit in San Diego, CA , our CEO, Dr. Davor Sutija, will speak on how printed electronics can make the vision of sensor proliferation a reality. He will present recent research on the role of printed electronics in expanding the market for the Internet of Things.

The TSensors Summit (November 12-13) unites the world’s sensor visionaries to present their views on which sensor applications, types and platforms have the potential to fuel sensor market growth to the trillions within a decade. I’ve been working closely with the TSensors group to help build a path to low-cost healthcare by bringing medical sensor platforms to market.

This summer, the organization will be releasing a publication devoted to sensor technology where I’ve had the privilege to contribute to the medical sensor content.  Here’s a preview of the topics we’ll be covering.

Cost-saving innovation is essential to improving the speed of diagnosis and delivery of healthcare. Low cost pre-screening and triage for chronic illness or infectious disease could lead to early discovery and life-saving treatment. The impact of this type of screening could be substantial in preventing epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak. 

Traditional prescreening tests and rapid diagnostics tests have often relied on chemical based and color coded read-out of test results where correct performance and interpretation of the results can vary widely. Digital readouts would be a vast improvement over faint lines or other ambiguous methods of interpretation.
 
Printed electronics provides the means to deliver low-cost, single-use, purpose-built, digital screening sensors. Digital read-outs made possible with printed electronics will not only improve accuracy of pre-screening done by clinicians, but will also provide better self- diagnostic tools in the future.

Thinfilm has developed a Smart Label platform that combines a printed sensor, printed batteries, printed logic, and a printed display to deliver valuable information about out-of-specification handling of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals or biologics.

Designed to be interchangeable, the Smart Label platform can be extended to sense a variety of physical, chemical, environmental, and other phenomena. The technology – which can be accomplished in ultra-high volumes and at low price points using roll-to-roll manufacturing – will have a significant impact on global healthcare as we know it today.

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Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija To Keynote Mobile World Congress 2015

Posted by Bill Cummings, SVP - Corporate Communications on Oct 22, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Every March the mobile industry convenes in Barcelona for what is the single largest exhibition of industry leaders, visionaries and innovators – Mobile World Congress. The event draws more than 85,000 people from 201 countries to explore the trends that will shape mobile in the years ahead.

This year we are proud to announce that our CEO, Davor Sutija is one of 15 thought leaders selected to keynote address at Mobile World Congress 2015. Sutija will join business luminaries from companies like Visa, Wikipedia, and Nissan to address this year’s theme, “The Edge of Innovation.” Specifically he will discuss the Internet of Things (IoT) – a trend that is set to dramatically improve the way we interact with objects and products.

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Printed electronics industry pioneer wins prestigious 2014 Marcus Wallenberg prize

Posted by Jennifer Ernst, Chief Strategy Officer on Oct 6, 2014 11:28:00 AM

Recently, I was privileged to attend the Marcus Wallenberg Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, where Magnus Berggren accepted this prestigious award. The 2014 Marcus Wallenberg Prize was presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden to Dr. Berggren for his pioneering research in printed electronics.  

Dr. Berggren has served on Thinfilm’s Technical Advisory Council and was one of the driving forces in the establishment of Thin Film Electronics.  His work has paved the way for much of the functionality we are seeing today in printed sensors and displays.

In the years that I have been with Thinfilm, I have been fortunate to be part of the team that has helped mold the industry and advance printed electronics technology from R&D into marketable products. Today, Thinfilm produces the only commercially available printed rewritable memory labels which provide a cost-effective way to embed intelligence into everyday items.  Thinfilm has also introduced a smart label platform which enables monitoring at a cost that is practical to implement. The proper handling of temperature-sensitive food and medication made possible with Thinfilm Smart Labels can have a direct impact on personal safety and health, while reducing overall waste levels.

Dr. Berggren is actively developing organic bio-electronics primarily for use in medicine and diagnostic tools in his position as professor of Organic Electronics at Linköping University, and Director of the Strategic Research Centre for Organic Bioelectronics. He continues to shape the direction of printed electronics at an exciting time in our industry.

I am proud to be involved with the commercialization efforts that are being built on the shoulders of such giants. Thin Film Electronics would like to congratulate Magnus Berggren for receiving this prestigious award and thank him for his contributions. 

 

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Topics: awards, memory, printed electronics

Apple’s NFC launch a huge jolt for the next generation of mobile engagement

Posted by Dr. Davor Sutija, CEO - Thinfilm on Sep 9, 2014 2:24:00 PM

Over the past 30 years, technology has fundamentally changed the way in which humans interact with the physical world and its digital extension. Plain text on green screen monitors gave way to colorful icons, and keyboards and mice evolved into intuitive touchscreens. On Tuesday, Apple announced a new payments platform, called Apple Pay, and three new mobile devices – the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch – that incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and represent the potential to eventually reshape how we share, learn, and make decisions.

The two new smartphone models and inaugural smartwatch will include NFC technology as a standard connectivity feature, alongside WiFi and Bluetooth. Apple joins Google Android, Microsoft Windows Phone, and BlackBerry in enabling short-range wireless technology to make simple and secure wireless payments with a touch of the phone or watch to a contactless payment terminal. While Apple will likely share the details of its NFC implementation in the coming days and weeks, NFC is already used today to intuitively pair and share with other consumer electronics and instantly interact with millions – and potentially billions – of smart tags connected to everyday items.

It’s no secret that Apple has a way of capturing the imagination of technology enthusiasts around the world. As a result, the company’s endorsement will likely serve as a catalyst for the development of new and exciting applications based around the simplicity and user friendliness inherent in NFC technology.

Apple’s support for NFC adds significant momentum to this fast-growing technology. According to industry analyst IHS Technology, over 400 million NFC-capable devices will ship in 2014, up from 275 million shipments in 2013. With more than a billion NFC-enabled mobile devices in use by 2015, Apple’s endorsement of NFC makes it ubiquitous on major smartphone platforms. Ongoing support from industry leaders in consumer electronics, financial services, semiconductors, transportation, and mobile app development makes for a thriving ecosystem.

The NFC Forum, where Thinfilm serves as a Principal member, provides industry-wide technical and market momentum by bringing together household names from multiple critical industries, including Samsung, Visa, Intel, Qualcomm, and many others.

Like Apple, Thinfilm supports NFC technology as a logical next step in enhancing wireless interactivity in a mobile-first world. As smartphones and tablets become hubs for work, play, and learning, NFC-enabled smart objects can combine with the cloud-based identity management services available through our partnership with EVRYTHNG to allow consumers to verify product authenticity, retrieve relevant and timely information and special offers, and even monitor the status of low-cost sensors integrated directly into products and product packaging.

New technologies create new opportunities, and thanks to Apple’s endorsement of NFC, we look forward to an accelerated deployment of smart, contextual wireless systems that will allow mobile-first consumers to take advantage of what’s possible when the power of the digital domain is literally a touch away.

 

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Topics: NFC

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.