Retail 2.0: Ambient Redefines the In-store Shopping Experience with Battery-free Electronic Shelf Labels

Ambient and E ink electronic shelf labels

Scotts Valley, Calif., June 23, 2023 —Ambient Photonics is partnering with E ink to co-develop next-generation electronic shelf labels (ESLs) that bring web-like agility to physical stores, offering more value to retailers with a smaller carbon footprint and lower operational costs. The result will transform ESLs from programmable price displays into battery-free, connected devices with expanded functionality. Combined with E Ink’s proprietary bistable displays, Ambient’s revolutionary high-power, low-cost photovoltaic (PV) cells harness power from indoor light to eliminate the operational expense and design constraints of batteries’ fixed power envelope in E Ink-powered ESLs.

Today’s ESLs are read-only price tags that help retailers avoid the hassles of managing paper tags, but the small coin cell batteries inside these ESLs limit retailers to only a handful of daily pricing updates and constrain ESL functionality. With Ambient’s high power density PV cells, ESLs will transform into connected, data-rich sensors that generate dynamic customer data from the physical retail environment, enabling smarter merchandising decisions that drive sales and improve consumer experiences.

“As electronic shelf labels begin to see broader adoption, the impact of millions of discarded batteries is increasing. Our partnership with E Ink will reduce this environmental impact, while enabling a new breed of dynamic retail displays that businesses will utilize to optimize the retail experience without generating toxic battery e-waste,” said Bates Marshall, CEO and Co-founder of Ambient Photonics.

The new ESLs will generate valuable customer experience data, such as customer flow, dwell times, physical product interactions, and buy/pass outcomes for each product on every shelf, along with environmental data such as temperature and light levels. The data generated by these tens of thousands of sensors per store will empower retailers to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to generate insights and optimization opportunities that were once impossible.

“Our collaboration with Ambient will bring a super-charged, multi-functional and sustainable ESL solution to the Retail 2.0 market,” said Tim O’Malley, AVP, US Regional Business Unit. “Together we will empower retailers to make data-driven decisions and redefine the consumer experience within their stores on a minute-by-minute basis.”

About Ambient Photonics

California-based Ambient Photonics was founded in 2019 to bring low-light energy harvesting technology to mass scale. Ambient’s technology originally developed at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, and funded at inception by Cthulhu Ventures LLC, is backed by leading investors like Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), Tony Fadell’s Future Shape and I Squared Capital. The company’s low-light solar PV cells deliver ground-breaking power density from a broader spectrum of ambient light, inspiring a new era in connected device form and function. Ambient works with leading global smart home and IoT device manufacturers on embedded solar cells to deliver superior design possibilities, performance, sustainability and consumer convenience. Explore endless power at:


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