Printing & graphic arts: From RFID tickets to smart magazines

Tickets that automatically debit the ticket price, magazines and posters that are equipped with lighting effects and sensor technology or that can be designed interactively: The printing and graphic arts sector in particular provides for numerous examples of exciting and cross-media applications of printed electronics.

In public transportation, for example, more and more companies are going to offer their customers RFID tickets that automatically and contactlessly debit the fare for each journey.

Posters can also be equipped with both RFID labels and motion sensors during the printing process, which opens up completely new possibilities including the interaction with passers-by and potential customers or being part of a cross-media campaign. RFID labels are also increasingly proving their worth in areas such as logistics, anti-theft and brand protection—for example in the form of labels on packaging that can be read by using the NFC function of smartphones.

At the same time, further helpful, sometimes even sensational applications are being advanced. There are interactive posters or magazines that record sensory data or display information by means of printed smart labels with RFID functionalities. Provided there is appropriate web connection, weather data in printed newspapers could possibly be continuously updated in real time—one of many examples of how printed electronics is driving the Internet of Things. Consequently, the generation and storage of energy using flexible printed solar cells and batteries will be possible on media and objects that would never have been considered for this purpose before.