Thin Film Electronics ASA (“Thinfilm”), of Norway, a company active in commercializing printed electronics, announced on January 22 that it has completed acquisition of Kovio technology, intellectual property and manufacturing assets, and that it has opened the Thinfilm NFC Innovation Center in the heart of Silicon Valley.
“Adding NFC to our printed electronic memory and sensor platform will allow the seamless exchange of information between Thinfilm’s Smart Labels and NFC-enabled phones and tablets,” explained Davor Sutija, Thinfilm’s CEO. “Kovio technology is the only industry-supported NFC interface in printed electronics. We’re launching the Thinfilm NFC Innovation Center with a strong NFC team, significantly expanded intellectual property, and pilot manufacturing.”
“The acquisition of Kovio technology is an astute strategic move by Thinfilm,” said Raghu Das, the CEO of IDTechEx. “Kovio has impressive capability, NFC products and IP that will accelerate Thinfilm’s product roadmap, in addition to giving Thinfilm a substantial presence in Silicon Valley.”
“Internet of Things” re-defining a trend
Gartner cites the “Internet of Things” as one of the top 10 strategic trends of this decade. Analysts and companies alike are predicting markets in the trillions of dollars. Yet most applications of IoT focus on fixed infrastructure, where the sensor is a static node at the edge of the network and data is routed to a central server.
Low-cost, disposable sensor labels — able to autonomously collect information to later be read by NFC phones and tablets — offer a fundamentally different approach. With more than 400 million NFC-enabled smart phones already deployed, a number projected to grow to 1 billion by 2015, linking ubiquitous sensors on Thinfilm Smart Labels with the mobile platform would create a fluid and agile alternative to traditional data infrastructures. It is this agile network that will truly launch the Internet of Everything, says Thinfilm, in a prepared news release.
Thinfilm sensor labels
Thinfilm uses printing to manufacture simple integrated electronics at a fraction of the cost of conventional electronics, in highly scalable processes compatible with high-volume, low-cost markets. Thinfilm has integrated sensing, data storage, and display in a label format. Addition of a printed NFC interface will allow Thinfilm’s sensor labels to link sensor data to apps on mobile devices and/or cloud-based analytics.