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Connected devices ensure distance from each other

14 May 2020

The coronavirus keeps everyone busy. Solutions are being devised to make everything a little more liveable, but with the necessary 1,5-meter distance. Connectivity is a way to help us with that. We are convinced that smart plastic products are the future – and so are our customers. A growing number of them chooses to collaborate with our production site in China, where we integrate electronic components and connectivity technologies in plastic finished products.

Partner in the field of Internet of Things

“China focuses entirely on the design and production of plastic products with electronic components,” says Peter Dielissen, international account manager. “In addition to an SMT line and various assembly lines, we have expert engineers who design PCBAs. Furthermore, our developers collaborate with a network of specialists, which means we can bring in the expertise we need quickly. Partly due to our location in China’s Greater Bay Area – the world’s foremost innovation hub – the expertise and components we need are easily available. This allows us to integrate a wide range of connectivity technologies into plastic products, and it has made us a valuable sparring partner for our customers for many years now.”

Smart plastic products

The results speak for themselves. ITB Group currently produces smart plastic products for customers in various market segments. These products are connected to the internet through multiple technologies, which allows them to communicate with other devices. Below, we discuss three cases in more detail.

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1. Razor stand with an order button

How can you improve your brand’s customer loyalty? One solution is to add an order button to your product. If the article runs out, wears down or becomes outdated, the consumer can order new products at the touch of a button. They will no longer have to go to a physical or online store, where they may come into contact with other brands. ITB produces such a stand with an order button, e.g. razors, although there are of course countless other possible applications. The communication technology we use for this is called cellular M2M. With its built-in SIM card, the product is always connected to the LTE network (4G). Cellular M2M also offers global coverage.

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2. Smart weighing instrument for drinking bottles

It is essential to drink enough fluids. With the help of a smart measurement device for drinking bottles, you can track precisely how much your baby drinks throughout the day. How? The weighing instrument sends the data to an app on your phone, which shows you whether you have reached the daily recommended intake. The communication technology behind this innovation is called Bluetooth Low Energy. It is exceptionally suitable for applications with the use of a smartphone, so you are informed all the time.

3. Connected animal trap

Let’s say you place a plastic trap to catch animals. You could check the trap every few hours to see if something is found in it. What if you need to place a dozen traps, though – or a hundred? In that case, checking them all quickly becomes a Herculean task. A connected animal trap contains a built-in LoRa module, which registers any activity in the trap. When something is caught in it, the trap will automatically notify you via an app. How efficient is that? The advantages of this are that staff do not have to check the traps on a daily or weekly basis, they have to come to the location less, making it safer concerning corona and it is cost-saving. Besides that, the LoRa connection is relatively low cost and excellent coverage: the connection can be maintained even underground or in the middle of nowhere.

There are countless other possible applications for this technology: from a smart cat flap that tells you exactly when Whiskers is on the prowl to a sensor in a farmer’s field that measures the moistness of the soil and lets the farmer know when it is time to turn on the sprinklers.