Smart Labels in a Connected World


As everyday objects become connected, businesses and consumers will consume content in new ways. Printed electronics and smart labels, for example, can bring intelligence to everyday objects, and both businesses and consumers can benefit.

The market for printed electronics is growing. IDTechEx,, says printed and flexible sensors already represent a value of $6.3 billion as of this year, with the biggest market being biosensors. Going forward, the firm forecasts printed and flexible sensors will increase by more than $1 billion by 2020, with a new generation of printed sensors emerging.

The market for printed electronics and smart labels is big. This can include a food label with a temperature sensor, or high-tech labels that can track how much medication has been consumed, among many others. For consumers, this means being more aware by having data about the items that are purchased and consumed every day.

For businesses, these labels can also provide big value. Not only do businesses have access to the data gathered from perishable goods, medical products, and disposable goods, but enterprises can also enhance process efficiencies by tracking location without the need for a barcode.

In line with this trend, Thin Film Electronics,, announced today it has built a self-contained, integrated electronic tag system made through printed electronics. The system will power Thin Film’s Smart Labels.

This will enable businesses to store, process, and communicate local information to make objects aware of their environment. One example is tracking the temperature of perishables or medicine in realtime. With the Smart Labels, businesses can gather and display data.

Beyond temperature tracking, other possible uses for the Smart Labels include retail dynamic pricing for a display or brand protection from fraud.

The company says the system is powered by batteries and equipped with a temperature sensor, rewriteable memory, and display. Also, since the system is produced by printing on plastic films, it costs less than the price of the silicon-based alternative.

As the printed-electronics market progresses, businesses and consumers will be able to have access to more data than ever before.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #smartlabels #printedelectronics

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Connected World Issue
June/July 2014
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