Blendology turns to Plastic Logic E Ink displays for re-usable, interactive delegate badges

Despite conferences being a great platform for networking — with so many presentations, panel sessions and demos happening, it is perhaps not surprising that the average delegate only exchanges contact details with just 3 people, according to entrepreneur Bill Munday. The average with Blendology is 5 people giving a 30% uplift in connections and networking with more people that you would not have met.

Inspired by all these missed connections, Bill saw an opportunity to use technology to make it really easy to exchange contact information during events. He recognised certain limitations with existing NFC technology and had seen Bu.mp fail with its contacts sharing app, (acquired by Google and subsequently closed), so wanted to create his own bespoke solution.

This led him to found Blendology an event solutions company with unique interactive oneTap technology that allow users to make real-life connections and build online networks with a simple tap of their special delegate badges.

Blendology realised that finding the right display would a key component in developing its interactive badges, because they needed have all the physical characteristics of a traditional paper exhibition badge.

 Finding the right display 

 There were several display options that the Blendology team considered. One was Mirasol because it offered a full colour aspect, however, size was an issue as it was only available in a 2-inch form factor. Sony’s Grayscale was also considered but this would have needed a battery backup which went against the lightweight design principle that was a key criterion for Blendology’s product. 

The team also looked at Pervasive Displays but were put off by the one million minimum order quantity. They also looked at a low cost $12 glass display from China but safety concerns would have meant a significant extra mechanical design spend.

One option stood out head and shoulders above the others — Plastic Logic. 

 

Inspired by Plastic

Plastic Logic worked closely with Blendology to combine its bi-stable electrophoretic display, based on its unique OTFT backplane, with Blendology’s oneTap technology.

The badge uses Plastic Logic’s off-the-shelf 4-inch display that comes with a logic controller that acts as an interface between the badge and the Blendology app. One badge costs US$60 but as it’s designed for reuse, it will pay for itself in just three events if rented out at US$20.

Plastic Logic’s display brings a range of benefits to Blendology’s pioneering electronic badges. Firstly, they are robust enough to withstand any resistance when tapped or dropped. They also have extremely low power consumption which allows them to be used over a series of days without charging. The lightweight nature of Plastic Logic’s technology also makes the badges comfortable for delegates to wear around their neck for long periods of time, and the always-on display offers a nice, readable reflective display, similar to that of paper.

Perhaps most interestingly, the displays also enable various functionality from viewing venue maps and conference agendas. This sets them apart from traditional badges and the ease of repeated customisation and re-use makes them a real game-changer for the events industry.  

The badges have now been used by event organisers at more than 350 events in 18 countries world wide — both on a rental or permanent purchase model. However, Blendology is also exploring the opportunity in other markets such as corporate badging and facilities equipment, corporate security badges for visitors, as well as cruise ships and personal electronic business cards.

Blendology also has an interest in wearables and is looking to work with Plastic Logic in the future to produce the world’s thinnest watch.

Bill Munday, Founder and CEO of Blendology, said: “Plastic Logic was able to provide us with a display that was light, durable and flexible – far superior to any other E Ink solution out there. The team is very professional and have been a great support throughout the project.”