E Ink is the company that has powered the entire e-reader revolution and its epaper technology is on every single device currently on the market. For the past few years e-Readers represent 80% of their annual revenue and most of the partnerships they establish are to further develop new products in this space. E Ink has tried to diversify and has done small pilot projects to put e-paper on smart medicine labels that remind you when to take your next pill, grocery store price labels and color screens for digital signage.
E ink is trying to make a go of this whole internet of things, catch all category. They just signed $30 million dollar deal with SES-imagotag to strengthen their collaborative efforts to expand and accelerate the retail IoT market. The two companies have done a few things in the past, primarily leveraging E Ink Spectra technology, which include red and yellow colors into the traditionally black and white electronic retail tags.
SES sells the tags to retail chains and also has developed software that allows price changes to be done from a server, so the management team can dynamically change the prices. The press release associated with this business deal makes reference to expanding outside of price tags, but details are still vague.
Currently E ik has 11 retail partners that sell the finished product to supermarkets and retail stores. They are now only directly working with one and have full voting rights on the board and can basically chart the future direction of the company. Maybe E Ink wants to move the needle on smart price tags and feel the only way to really do it is to work directly with SES.
Electronic shelf labels currently account for 12% of E Inks total revenue stream. They have hundreds of partners who market the technology for them, crafting their own solutions. It is estimated that electronic shelf labels are in over 100,000 stores worldwide.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.