Electronic shelf label eliminates paper price tags and updates prices via an app

Chinese company, Minew Technologies, has introduced the STag58P electronic shelf label which replaces traditional paper labels in retail, warehousing, medical, and smart office applications.

Equipped with a Bluetooth 5.4 nRF52833 SoC by Nordic Semiconductor, it enables prices of thousands of products to be updated simultaneously.

The STag58P can display text, numbers, colour blocks, icons, lines, barcodes, QR codes, and pictures that can be remotely updated via a cloud-connected gateway from a central point. For example, a supermarket chain with multiple outlets across multiple states could update the prices of a single product line across every single store, with just the touch of a button from head office.

The STag58P is powered by Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52833 multi-protocol SoC, that provides Bluetooth 5.4 wireless connectivity between the labels and a gateway for onward relay to the cloud. Alternatively, the labels can be updated via an app on a user’s smartphone for in-person label updating.

The STag58P is based on the Nordic implementation of the Bluetooth SIG’s new Electronic Shelf Label Service and Profile. This leverages several new features recently released in the Bluetooth Core Specification, and already supported by the Nordic SoftDevice Controller (Bluetooth 5.4 qualified) in the nRF Connect SDK (software development kit). For example, it supports periodic advertising with responses (PAwR) which enables a single gateway to control and update thousands of individual shelf labels with low latency, while keeping the communication encrypted using the new EAD (encrypted advertising data) feature.

“The biggest difference between electronic labels and paper labels are the cost reduction and efficiency increases,” says Sue Li, field application engineer, Minew. “The old process of changing a price tag—from printing to physically replacing them—is no longer necessary, and the bigger the retail outlet the more time and money that is going to save.

“The system also has a quick positioning function that provides each product with its own ID, enabling the specific location of the products in store to be displayed in the retailer’s back-end system. This improves the efficiency of staff picking and replenishing goods because they know exactly where in the store each product is located,” added Li.

The tag joins Minew’s existing electronic shelf labels (ESL) in a range of sizes from 1.54 inches (3.9mm) up to 31.2 in (79.2 mm) with a full colour, IPX5- and IPX7-rated waterproof e-ink display. Other features include multi-colour LED lights, customisable templates, rapid refresh, as well as multi-language and NFC support.

Minew ESL labels are powered by replaceable button, pouch, or AAA cells depending on label size, and only use power when changing prices, not in normal display mode. Labels can achieve up to five years’ battery life (at a rate of five updates per day). The nRF52833 SoC has a low power 2.4GHz radio supporting proprietary, 802.15.4, and Bluetooth 5.4 (including Bluetooth 5.1 Direction Finding), a fully-automatic power management system, native NFC support, and over-the-air device firmware update (OTA-DFU) capabilities.

The new tag can be customised by Minew’s ODM and design services, or can be supported by the company’s proprietary ESL Cloud platform and its Cloud Tag and GoMeeting smartphone apps. The cloud platform enables the user to configure system parameters as well as manage electronic tags and gateways in each location. From the app, staff can manage and modify the content and template of individual labels without the requirement for a gateway. The GoMeeting app is designed for smart office applications and allows the user to perform meeting room management and meeting reservation functionality.


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