Who Wants Printed Electronics: Drivers by Industry

Who Wants Printed Electronics: Drivers by Industry

This article raises the problems faced in five industries, driving the organizations involved to look at printed electronics solutions.

Raghu Das
Who Wants Printed Electronics: Drivers by Industry
At IDTechEx, we help our clients identify and execute on their opportunities in complex emerging technology industries. As one would expect with new technologies, there is an element of "solutions looking for problems" which can lead to hype, which our analysts cut through by interviewing end users across different industries to ascertain the real interest from the companies that sign the purchase order.
 
Similarly, our events, which bring end users together with technology suppliers, focus on the commercialization of the technology with presentations and strong attendance from large adopters across different industry verticals. This is one of the reasons why Printed Electronics USA, to be held in Santa Clara, CA, on Nov 15-16 2017, is the largest event on the topic, connecting users with suppliers.
 
In this article we consider some of the problems faced by companies in different industry verticals which is driving their interest in printed and flexible electronics, with users themselves in attendance at the show to share more.
 
Problems in the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry
Brands are being rapidly copied - with slight alterations - by supermarket private labels and other companies. Brands make large investments in marketing the product and do not sell directly to the consumer, yet others leverage off their investment. The problem is highlighted in the picture below, with the established brand on the right and the supermarket version on the left.
 
Source: IDTechEx
Brands seek to increase customer loyalty and increase sales with differentiation that the consumer values. Additionally, package labelling needs to convey more information (often by law) yet has to be appealing enough to sell the product.
 
Smart packaging is helping to address some of these challenges, with light-up packaging for premium products, sensor labels, interaction through NFC with consumers and more, as shown below.
 
Source: Compiled by IDTechEx
Problems in Healthcare
The growing number of elderly people is increasing the burden on healthcare systems, with some countries not having enough resources to look after them as much as needed.
 
Medication non-compliance is estimated to cost health services $100 billion, which is where patients do not take medication on time, resulting in a failed treatment, or worse, resistance of the disease to the treatment.
 
Then there is the wastage of medications that have to be disposed due to poor temperature monitoring in transit.
 
Addressing some of these problems today, smart blister packs enabled by printed electronics are being used in clinical trials to monitor patient adherence. Sensor labels monitor the temperature on blood bags and new cosmetics products have been created thanks to flexible disposable batteries enabling anti-wrinkle skin patches that are sold at premium prices.
 
Source: Compiled by IDTechEx
Problems with Wearable Technology
Wearable electronics today is mostly boxes of electronics that you strap to yourself. Prices of fitness trackers has fallen from hundreds of dollars six years ago to dollars today, such has been the speed of commoditization based on these conventional electronics.
 
Below are a few ways that printed electronics is enabling truly wearable products, thanks to being not only flexible but also stretchable.
 
Source: Compiled by IDTechEx
Problems with Vehicles
The ongoing government and consumer demand for more environmentally friendly vehicles drives lightweighting, structural electronics and energy harvesting, such as lightweight flexible solar.
 
Additionally, the move towards electric vehicles requires better batteries, supercapacitors and related advanced materials such as improved thermal interface materials. As the interior of vehicles becomes one of the key differentiators, better lighting, user interfaces and in-vehicle health monitoring is in demand.
 
Source: Compiled by IDTechEx
Printed and flexible electronics are being used by Boeing over a large area of the wing as a bird strike detection system, they are also being developed for improved user interfaces and lightweighting in cars. Hanergy have announced that they will be making commercial vehicles with the roof and bonnet covered in a flexible solar technology to assist with energy generation - being flexible this is lighter weight than conventional glass based solar.
 
Problems in Consumer Electronics and IoT
The reducing margins of many types of components - such as glass based displays and PV is driving companies to innovate so as to differentiate their products. Smart phones and tablets are saturating the market place and the cash rich companies behind them need to find large new product categories.
 
In addition to these bigger problems there are many smaller drivers - such as consumers wanting thinner devices, more robust devices (remove the glass), displays right up to the edge of the device and round them, foldable displays, longer battery life, easier charging and more.
 
As a result, huge investments have been made and are still being made in displays on plastic, which enabled curved and later flexible displays with products in consumer devices.
 
Source: Compiled by IDTechEx
 
Meet End Users at the World's Largest Event on the Topic
Printed Electronics USA brings together end users with technology suppliers. The event, which will be held on November 15-16 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, is devised by IDTechEx analysts with a focus on adding value to the industry by showcasing user needs and the most significant industry developments.
 
At the same time, the topic is not hyped or oversold, with clear assessment from IDTechEx analysts presenting and sessions covering the short and medium term business opportunities from those that are achieving success.
 
The event covers many related topics, from the enabling materials, equipment and the components they make, to integrators and end user industries including retail, automotive, media, military, built infrastructure and energy and consumer electronics.
 
For full details see www.PrintedElectronicsUSA.com External Link.