Electronic Shelf Label (ESL)

The retail industry is gradually shifting towards technology driven automated solutions to reduce its reliance on manual labour and operate more efficiently. An electronic shelf label (ESL) system plays an essential role in this shift towards automation as retailers use it for remotely updating and displaying product parameters on shelves.

The advantage of electronic shelf labels is that the displayed information can be remotely and centrally updated to be immediately available for the customers. 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. For a big retailer, this means a significant amount of additional overhead for maintaining the system.

Energy harvesting is a promising approach to extend the ESL’s battery lifetime or even make it energy autonomous while allowing for new features that enable the retailers to provide better service to their customers. The main component in this solution is the Power Management IC (PMIC) that can receive and efficiently store very low energy generated by the PV panel from indoor lighting.

The NH2 PMIC is well optimised to extract the low power from an indoor light energy harvesting source via a PV panel and boost the voltage to efficiently charge the battery or the super capacitor. It can deliver a conversion efficiency as high as 80%. This performance is combined with an ultra-small PCB-assembly footprint, thanks to the inductor-less design approach, which saves up to 94% of BOM cost by reducing the number of external components needed. These features make Nowi’s solution highly adaptive and most suitable for ESL applications. For more information about the Nowi energy harvesting solution for ESL, please check the ESL application note.