Transforming print spend with conductive ink.

InnovationPrintPrint and packaging
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You may have heard of interactive print, but consider how this kind of innovation can turn a spend category upside down. And whether you are a print manager or not, there's potential for this technology to change the way you work. 

At the recent Packaging Innovations 2015 event held in London Olympia, Kate Stone, managing director and founder of UK print electronics company Novalia, presented an inspirational talk on the opportunities for interactive print and how this is helping transform the print industry enabling it to survive in an increasingly digitised and modernised world.


Efforts to combine digital and print is rapidly growing with the industry moving beyond QR codes into developments in augmented reality and interactive print. One major catalyst for this transformation is conductive ink.


Stone who has a background in science and electronics, explained how her company utilises conductive inks, electronics and traditional printing processes such as flexography to make paper and board interactive, ultimately closing the gap between physical print and digital technology.


Conductive ink which conducts electricity with the presence of certain materials such as silver and carbon, among others, allows a wide variety of substrates including paper, board and plastic to become touch sensitive and responsive. Additionally with the implementation of Bluetooth technology the printed substrate can connect with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to produce sound.


As the proliferation of smart devices continues, interactive print will become more dominant across a multitude of sectors including; advertising, packaging, healthcare and music industries. Applications already include magazine and newspaper advertisements embedded with audio and video, interactive DJ desks for album covers and outdoor posters.


Adoption of conductive ink within the print industry has been relatively slow even though the ink is comparably low cost and is able to be applied to a range of substrates using traditional printing presses. This is therefore an attractive solution for procurement looking to add value to their print category whilst managing cost.


Procurement need to work with innovative suppliers which have the facilities to provide this technology in order to help their marketing departments drive value, better engage with their consumers and strengthen their brand as a whole.


A great deal has been said about the death of print, however the print industry will ultimately be enhanced not replaced by digital and innovative technologies such as conductive ink will bring new life into the medium. 

This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders' content team.

Georgina Greene
Posted by Georgina Greene

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