The world of printed electronics is one of the fastest growing, technologically advanced industries out there. Every day, advancements are being made, creating a world of possibilities and endless opportunities.
The big news for 2014 and beyond will be the Internet of Things. This term has been receiving increased attention in the news, and is likely to have strong advances in the New Year. The Internet of Things is the concept that our daily lives will be interconnected in more ways than ever before. Thanks to devices like our smartphones, RFID tags, GPS, and other electronic equipment, consumers and manufacturing companies will have the ability to interconnect.
Examples of the Internet of Things include products used throughout your home. Smart refrigerators that send you notifications when items like milk or eggs are no longer fresh, or out of stock. Washing machines that send out signals when it is time to move the wash into the dryer. Devices that combine Wi-Fi enabled plug sockets with household light switches.
Smarter thermostats that monitor and adjust your home’s heating and cooling automatically. Smartphone apps that provide a homeowner with the ability to control their home’s use of energy. Connected homes will reduce energy usage in order to save money and resources.
Another major trend attracting big buzz in the industry is the field of wearable electronics. In fact, this industry, worth $8 billion in 2013, is projected to be worth $20 billion by 2017.* From clothing with integrated electronics, to wrist bands, watches and athletic gear that monitor a user’s health and physical activities, wearable devices will continue to evolve and create further growth in the field of printed electronics.
What else can we expect from the industry? It seems smart packaging is something to keep your eyes on. Printed electronics are, and will continue to be, integrated into materials and packaging that will do everything from create labels that reduce shipping costs, to drug packages that register when a pill was taken, to food wrappers that tell you when your food has spoiled. It’s a remarkable area that is sure to impact our economy and our lifestyles for the better.
As the New Year moves forward, we see a positive trend in the reshoring of jobs back to the United States. With new sources of energy from tar sands and shale rock, the country is almost a net producer of energy. This will continue to drive overall manufacturing costs down and give a much needed competitive edge to U.S. manufacturing. In addition, the innovation we see in wearable devices and the Internet of Things shows just how inventive our American culture allows us to be. The creativity of today will provide solid jobs and manufacturing for America in the future. It all is quite appealing and exciting.
As we move forward, Techprint will continue to stay on top of these latest advancements, whether it’s through attending trade shows, seminars or reading and reporting on the latest surveys and studies. We will continue to keep our readers and customers informed. It’s such an exciting industry, and we love being a part of it.