Following the lead of others, the retail industry is looking to create and implement greener shopping experiences for its consumers, as well as ways to operate more efficiently by gradually shifting towards technology-driven automated and more sustainable solutions.
A way to do so is through an Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) system. This plays an essential role in this shift towards automation, as it enables retailers to update it remotely and immediately to the customers, as well as display additional product information on shelves, such as promotions and other savings programs. However, one of the current drawbacks of ESLs is a limited battery lifetime increasing operational cost to manually monitor and replace batteries of thousands of units within a retail space.
Opticon and Nowi are now collaborating on new Electronic Shelf Label solutions for improved in-store customer experience. By combining Nowi’s Energy Harvesting Power Management IC (PMIC), the NH2, with PV cells on an Electronic Shelf Label, manufactured by Opticon, powered by a battery will enable to make it ‘Energy Autonomous’ or self-powered. The NH2 is designed to efficiently extract low power from indoor lights in supermarkets, via a PV panel, and increase the voltage to efficiently charge the battery, hence powering the ESL at a low cost. It can deliver a conversion efficiency as high as 80%.
Thanks to the benefits of Perpetually Powered ESLs, retailers can increase revenues and optimize their operations. Some of the benefits include the Promotion & Replenishment features, which are possible by increasing daily updates (dynamic pricing) and using LED blinks (smart restocking). The ESL lifetime will no longer be limited by power, hence, becoming a fully reliable affordable system which displays prices at all times. By eliminating the need for costly individual battery swaps, there are reduced maintenance & operational costs. Avoiding the constant disposal of polluting batteries, makes for a sustainable alternative.
“In an increasingly connected world, retail is being transformed to a smarter, more user-focused, personnel-friendly and sustainable environment”, explains Simon van der Jagt, Nowi CEO. “Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) are now becoming the norm and enabling perpetual power will definitely provide for a better customer in-store experience and an improved profitability for stores”.