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Retail tech meets conductive ink, printing an inventory-aware shelf

 

Conductive ink: Helping sense suspicious behavior

Smart shelves can also alert staff or other IoT elements to irregular customer behavior. If five of the same item leave the shelf at once, there may be cause to train cameras on that area. And at the risk of spooking shoppers, they can even trigger a beacon to offer a coupon on salsa if it detects that someone has picked up chips.

A Smart Shelf conductive layer can be placed upon existing shelving and is reused, through software, for different product arrangements.

Smart Pegs, also debuting Q4 2016, are battery-powered and hang on traditional particle pegboard. Similar to Smart Shelf, a Smart Peg knows when a product is added or removed.

T+ink’s other retail offering, Touch Code, prints a conductive ink pattern on a label or package that unlocks digital content. Aimed at in-store marketing or even printed advertisements, the visible (or invisible) code is detected by the multi-touch capacitive touchscreen on a smartphone/tablet, launching an interaction. It can give a shopper more information on that item, play a relevant video or invite her to review the product, for example.

“We have developed both an SDK and a software library that can be imbedded within webpages. So the brand that would be launching those capabilities could launch that interactivity through app or page,” Louis said.

According to Raghu Das, CEO at IDTechEx, a Cambridge, UK market research firm that covers conductive inks, such a function, also could be incorporated into the operating system of a device.

Patterns printed with conductive ink also can be used to distinguish true brand products from knock-offs. That fact hints at one of Touch Code’s advantages over QR codes, another print-to-online conveyance. While scannable QR codes can cheaply and easily be copied and shared over the internet by anyone with a digital camera, Touch Codes cannot.

 

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