Electronics & Computers

Top Packaging and Communications Technologies

November 2, 2011

Lux Research’s assessment of printed, organic, and flexible electronics finds passive RFID and electrophoretic displays ready for prime time.

BOSTON /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Many splashy technologies are aiming to find their way onto the packages of consumer products, as well as other retail communication tools such as in-store signage and smart cards. Electronic identification such as RFID, sensors, displays, and power devices can all help create "smart packaging," but only a handful of technologies are ready for prime time, according to a new report from Lux Research.

"The challenge for developers and integrators alike is to prove a return on investment to potential customers," said Jonathan Melnick, the lead analyst of the report titled, "Wrapping Value into Smart Packaging and Retail Communication." "Companies are hesitant to even stick a toe in the water with untried technologies unless they can see a clear path to returning value, whether by increasing sales, conveying information, or enhancing their brand."

"At current cost levels, most electronics will be found only at the pallet or shelf level, such as permanent store displays, because that spreads the cost over many items," Melnick added.

Lux Research analysts examined the available technologies and assessed the opportunities by talking to dozens of technology developers and would-be users. Among Lux Research's key findings:

  • Technologies must find appropriate match. Many developers tout smart packaging as a generic idea, but in practice they need to marry technology with the most appropriate application. For example, pharmaceuticals will require high-performance and uninterrupted power, whereas consumer goods will require a tailor-made approach depending on whether it is a toy or apparel.
  • High-cost products will lead the way in adoption. High-value products such as pharmaceuticals or education and brand enhancement applications have a number of viable smart packaging opportunities and will be among the first adopters of innovative new technologies. Examples include reminding patients to take medicine through smart blister packs and sensor- or light-based devices to deter counterfeiters of high-value products.
  • Lower-cost energy solutions late in coming. Many new technologies are power guzzlers, creating a dire need for a lower-cost energy solution. Even though thin-film batteries, inductive energy, and organic photovoltaics are all being explored, energy solutions are likely to be the last technology area to reach widespread commercial maturity.

The report, titled "Wrapping Value into Smart Packaging and Retail Communication," is part of the Lux Research Printed Electronics Intelligence service.

About Lux Research
Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance, and government rely on it to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach, focused on primary research, and its extensive global network, it delivers insight, connections, and competitive advantage to its clients.

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