|[January 22, 2014]
Thinfilm Acquires Kovio Technology, Opens Silicon Valley NFC Innovation Center
OSLO, Norway & SAN JOSE, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
Film Electronics ASA ("Thinfilm") (OSE: THIN.OL), leader in
commercializing printed electronics, announced today that it has
completed acquisition of Kovio technology, intellectual property, and
manufacturing assets, and 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." explains Davor Sutija,
Thinfilm 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. 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." says Raghu Das, CEO, IDTechEx.
Internet of Things-redefining a megatrend
Gartner (News - Alert) cites "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 by 2020-Gartner
$1.9 trillion, IDC
$8.9 trillion, Cisco (News - Alert) $19 trillion. Industry giants such as Intel,
are placing major bets on IoT, and the San
Jose Mercury News calls IoT a technological transformation "as
profound as the Industrial Revolution (News - Alert)," in which "Silicon Valley
companies that make the circuits are expected to profit enormously."
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 over 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 creates a fluid and agile alternative to traditional
data infrastructures. It is this agile network that will truly launch
the Internet of Everything.
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
Future applications could include.
Temperature exposure of perishable goods, such as food and
pharmaceuticals can be verified without heavy infrastructure
Disposable medical tests can be distributed to remote clinics and
homes, with results communicated to medical records through the mobile
Humidity can be detected in the walls of new construction, to monitor
for leaks in pipes
Soldiers and pilots can be tested for 'readiness' based on
bio-markers, allowing check-in before active service
Smart appliances can re-order supplies when an indicator says the
product quantity is getting low
Patients can be monitored with one-time use devices for blood-oxygen
levels, pulse readings, and other vital signs, and data gathered with
the tap of a phone
Integration of Kovio technology accelerates time-to-market for NFC
labels, and expands both Thinfilm's manufacturing capacity and
intellectual property portfolio.
Unique marriage of technologies creates significant barriers to
"Printed transistor circuits are an important capability to enable truly
smart devices but there are few companies in the world that have the
know-how to produce these. Kovio is one of them," remarks Das.
Christer Karlsson, Thinfilm CTO explains, "The team here in San Jose can
produce NFC Barcodes with well over 1500 active transistors, at pilot
scale. Marrying the organic transistors we've been developing with the
poly-silicon devices developed at Kovio establishes a formidable
barrier-to-entry for future competitors."
The Kovio NFC Barcode(TM) is the only NFC interface in printed
electronics and is supported commercially by Google
Android and numerous NFC controllers being deployed in phones around
the world. Thinfilm expects to demonstrate NFC-readable sensor labels by
Thinfilm NFC Innovation Center
"We are particularly excited to have more than 20 of the former Kovio
team members joining to open the NFC Innovation Center. This core team
will build out the Innovation Center's competence in design, process
development and manufacturing," adds Karlsson. "The site at Zanker Road,
San Jose, is deep in the heart of Silicon Valley, steps from the silicon
industry's giants, an ideal location to recruit additional talent into
Thinfilm and build the ecosystem."
Included in the acquisition:
Over 200 international patents and patents pending covering electronic
inks, NFC and RF applications and protocols, process technologies,
devices and circuits
Installed pilot manufacturing capacity of 100s of millions of units
60,000 square foot manufacturing and development site
Kovio product lines in NFC and Electronic Article Surveillance
Encore software platform to support cloud-based data exchange
Broadening the Thinfilm portfolio
As part of the acquisition, Thinfilm has also acquired Kovio's
technology for Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) loss prevention
tags. These solutions were developed in partnership with industry
leaders such as Tyco Solutions and NedAp and complement Thinfilm's
existing offerings in brand protection.
Thinfilm has also built a global team supporting the development of
custom designs of integrated systems in ultra-low-cost electronics.
According to Das, "Thinfilm is filling the need in the printed
electronics industry by putting together complete solutions." Thinfilm
will continue to pursue strategic partnerships, such as those it has
with the Bemis Company, Brady Corporation, and Hasbro to accelerate the
introduction of printed electronic systems into a wide range of markets.
"Thinfilm is the only company that is moving the needle when it comes to
delivering printed electronics," said Randall Sherman, founder and
president of New Venture Research.
Thinfilm completed the acquisition of Kovio assets for a total of 2.7
USDm in cash and 1.0 USDm in equity, consisting of 1.0 million of
Thinfilm shares, acquired by Kovio creditors at 5.92 NOK/share.
About Thin Film Electronics ASA
Thin Film Electronics ASA (Ticker: THIN.OL) is a leader in the
development of Printed Electronics. The first to commercialize printed
rewritable memory, Thinfilm is creating printed system products that
will include memory, sensing, display and wireless communication-at a
cost-per-functionality unmatched by any other electronic technology.
Thinfilm's roadmap of system products integrates technology from a
strong and growing ecosystem of partners to enable the Internet of
Things by bringing intelligence to disposable goods. Company
headquarters are in Oslo, Norway, with product development in Link�ping,
Sweden, sales offices in San Francisco, USA, and Tokyo, Japan, and
manufacturing in Pyongtaek, South Korea.�http://www.thinfilm.no/
Follow us on Twitter (News - Alert):�http://www.twitter.com/ThinfilmMemory
Follow us on LinkedIn (News - Alert):�http://www.linkedin.com/company/thin-film-electronics
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