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Summary:

These are the companies, startups and giants alike, that are changing or could potentially change the mobile landscape in the most profound ways.

The-mobile-15-logo

Thin Film Electronics ASA

CEO: Davor Sutija

Number of employees: 26

The business:

ThinFilm has created a process to print a circuit onto packaging, which allows companies that use it to store information and then act on that information.

The backstory:

The company’s partnership with Xerox PARC enabled the circuits to have not just memory but also the logic needed to turn the memory into something that can execute programs. That, in turn, has helped ThinFilm make the leap from the novelty toy market to a broader set of industries. It now has relationships with packaging companies, security companies and others to embed intelligence into everyday objects.

The innovation:

ThinFilm’s innovation is the melding of cheap printed memory with printed logic circuits from Xerox PARC. The printed circuits are cheap and can be printed onto packaging for food, medical devices, drugs or other goods. With only the memory, a pill bottle might have the ability when scanned to indicate if it had been stored at a temperature that rendered the medicine inside ineffective. Once logic and eventually a radio is added, then the same pill bottle might be able to send an alert when temperatures are veering into the danger zone.

The plan:

ThinFilm already has a deal to embed its circuits into food packaging. But the printed circuits need to have their own source of power and radio communication to become a fully functioning member of the Internet of Things. Today ThinFilm’s circuits are read via a contact-based system, but by 2014 the company hopes to have NFC and RFID-enabled printed circuits that can “shout” their status when near the appropriate reader. As for power sources, the company is looking at ways to attach a battery, although those would not be printed and would add both bulk and cost to any product requiring one.

—SH

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  1. Tapit were Winners @ 2012 AIMIA for Best New Service in innovation – NFC

    http://www.mobileawards.com. au/MA2012/entry_details.asp? ID=10757&Category_ID=4852)

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  2. Check out this slide deck titled “A Catalog of Mobile Device Innovations”

    http://www.slideshare.net/timhigg/catalog-of-mobile-device-innovations-92012

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  3. Surya Narayanan Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Sadly you have not looked at the emerging markets hard enough. You would have found very interesting examples including Safaricom’s m-pesa which is by the larger than Western Union Money Transfer. Please look to create a more inclusive list..

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    1. It would have been good to consider the social impact of innovations. There are so many innovative mobile companies out there, but if they don’t make people’s lives better then do they really answer the “so what?” test. M-PESA is a great example of a mobile innovation that has changed millions of people’s lives and is helping to create a vibrant mobile ecosystem. Its influence can be seen in every mobile wallet/banking/payments initiative the world over.
      If you don’t know M-PESA, read this: http://mobithinking.com/country-guides-home/guide-mobile-web-kenya

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  4. all of your links to the “Mobile 15″ are broken

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    1. Thanks, this is fixed.

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  5. Alcatel – Lucent and Nokia? You’ve got to be kidding me…Why not add RIM and MySpace too..

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  6. With Windows 8 just around the corner its bizarre that Microsoft didn’t make the list.

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  7. Have you ever heard of republic wireless?

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  8. I did not realize GigiOm was this desperate for money

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  9. Including Nokia and **not** Qualcomm renders your list laughable, and from the entire staff to boot ? No need reading any further and further questions the value of anything Gigaom.com?

    Jim M

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  10. Great innovation! Glad to see Thinfilm on the short list!

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  11. What an amazing story. I had the luck to meet all of the team yesterday, and today at #SEMICONEuropa http://twitter.com/SEMICONEuropa here in Dresden, Germany

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  12. Amazing folks – currently in Dresden at http://Twitter.com/SEMICONEuropa – had the pleasure to talk to them, and learn more about this amazing product. Well deserved!!!

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