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1. WO2020136151 - TRACKING UNIT FOR PRINTED MATTER, PRINTED MATTER, METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR TRACKING AND/OR ANALYSING A RECEPTION AND POST RECEPTION TREATMENT OF SUCH MATTER

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

Tracking unit for printed matter, printed matter, method and system for tracking and/or analysing a reception and post reception treatment of such matter

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention pertains to the field of mailings based on and/or comprising printed matter, in particular direct advertising, direct mailing and/or direct marketing. In particular, it relates to a tracking unit for printed matter, a printed matter, and to a method and system for tracking printed matter and/or analysing a reception and/or post reception treatment of such printed matter in accordance with the respective patent claims.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In (classical) direct advertising or direct mailing, printed matter in the form of letters, (greeting) cards, questionnaires, leaflets, catalogues, brochures, and/or vouchers, etc. is sent or otherwise distributed to a plurality of selected recipients by conventional mail or specialized distribution services or providers, which generally send or otherwise provide one copy to each of the plurality of selected recipients, wherein all copies are generally identical but for an address field, label, etc. containing information related to the recipient. The plurality is usually extensive, comprising between several hundred to many thousands or even hundred thousands of recipients, and possibly more. The process of sending or otherwise providing the plurality of copies as described is often referred to as a campaign.

To avoid unnecessary consumption of environmental resources as well as unnecessary harassment of or nuisance to such recipients who would prefer not to receive the respective printed matter, it would be desirable to obtain information related to the recipient’s interests and preferences on an individual basis. Such information is, however, difficult to obtain, e.g. because (potential) recipients are not willing to provide related information, or to invest an effort necessary for providing such information. Data and/or protection laws, regulation etc. may also play a role and qualitatively and/or quantitatively limit an information that may be gathered.

It may also be desirable to assure, verify and/or monitor a quality, reliability, rapidness and/or timeliness of distribution by conventional mail or specialized distribution services or providers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is thus an objective of the invention to provide a method and a device for tracking printed matter and/or analysing a reception and/or post reception treatment of such printed matter.

This objective and other objectives are solved by a tracking unit for printed matter in accordance with independent claim 1 etc.

A tracking unit for printed matter, in particular for a first individual printed matter copy, i.e. an individual copy of a letter, (greeting) card, leaflet, catalogue, brochure, questionnaire, book, and/or voucher, or the like, in accordance with the invention comprises

a)a mobile communication unit, preferably a low power wide area network communication unit;

b)a light sensitive area;

c) an electric power source configured to provide electric power to the mobile communication unit, wherein an amount of electric power provided depends on an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive area of the printed matter; characterized in that d) the mobile communication unit is configured to send an identification number, code or tag, preferably a unique identification number, over a mobile communication network when an electric power supplied to the mobile communication unit exceeds a threshold, and preferably to not send the identification number when an electric power supplied does not exceed the threshold.

Printed matter, in particular a first individual printed matter copy, i.e. an individual copy of a letter, (greeting) card, leaflet, catalogue, brochure, questionnaire, book and/or voucher, or the like, in accordance with the invention comprises

a)a mobile communication unit, preferably a low power wide area network communication unit;

b)a light sensitive area;

c) an electric power source configured to provide electric power to the mobile communication unit, wherein an amount of electric power provided depends on an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive area of the printed matter; characterized in that d) the mobile communication unit is configured to send an identification number, code or tag, preferably a unique identification number, over a mobile communication network when an electric power supplied to the mobile communication unit exceeds a threshold, and

preferably to not send the identification number when an electric power supplied does not exceed the threshold.

Such printed matter may, in particular, comprise a letter, catalogue, card, greeting card, leaflet, questionnaire, catalogue, brochure, book and/or voucher, and a tracking unit as described above, which tracking unit may be attached, in particular firmly attached, to the printed matter. In particular, the mobile communication unit, the electric power source, the light sensitive area, and/or the whole tracking unit may be laminated between front and back sides of at least one page, sheet and/or section of said printed matter, possibly with at least one plastic intermediate layer, and wherein said page, sheet and/or section may be made of paper or cardboard. When the light sensitive area is laminated between front and back sides of at least one page, sheet and/or section of said printed matter, a hole, opening and/or transparent area may be provided in the front and/or back side to allow for unhindered illumination of the light sensitive area, or at least to prevent substantial attenuation of illumination.

The identification number, code or tag which the mobile communication unit of the tracking unit is configured to send may then be considered and/or serve as identification number, code or tag of the printed matter, in particular the first individual printed matter copy.

The mobile communication unit may preferably be any kind of communication unit capable of communicating over a mobile communication network, in particular over a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN), low-power wide-area (LPWA) network or low-power network (LPN), as exemplary described in the Wikipedia article https://en.wiki pedia.org/w/index.php?title=LPWAN&oldid=874371006

and preferably over LoRaWan as exemplary described in https://de.wikipedia.orq/w/index.php?title=Lonq Range Wide Area Network&oldid=183442216

and

https://en.wi kipedia.org/w/index.php?title=LoRa&oldid=874284974;

or any other mobile communication network adapted for internet-of-things (IOT) data transmission and/or communication.

Details related to LoRaWan are also disclosed in EP2763321.

All (prior art) documents cited and/or otherwise mentioned herein are included by reference in their entirety in as far as legally allowably.

The mobile communication unit may be configured to not download any data over the mobile communication network, i.e. to operate as a receiver and/or in upload mode only, in particular to

minimize an amount of electric energy consumed by the mobile communication unit. The mobile communication unit may accordingly be configured to operate exclusively as a transmitter and/or in a transmission mode and/or in an upload only mode.

The electric power source may be a photocell, photovoltaic cell or solar cell capable of producing sufficient electric energy for at least temporarily energizing the mobile communication unit, in particular when a sufficient amount or intensity of light impinges onto the light sensitive area, which may be a surface or part of a surface of an active area, region or volume of the photocell, photovoltaic cell or solar cell. In order to energize the mobile communication unit, the electric power source is preferably configured to and/or able to provide a current required for operation of the mobile communication unit at a voltage required for operation of the mobile communication unit; and/or an electric power sufficient for proper operation of the mobile communication unit, in particular an electric power exceeding the threshold, which may be representative of a minimum amount of electric power required for proper functioning of the mobile communication unit. The photocell, photovoltaic cell or solar cell may, in particular be chosen and/or configured such that an illuminance or light level of above 20, 50, 100, 200, 300 or 500 lx is sufficient to energize the mobile communication unit when the light sensitive area is exposed to the respective illuminance. On the other hand, the photocell, photovoltaic cell or solar cell may, in particular, alternatively or additionally be chosen and/or configured such that an illuminance or light level of below 20, 50, 100, 200, 300 or 500 lx will be insufficient to energize the mobile communication unit, and will thus prohibit sending of the identification number, code or tag.

As an alternative or in addition to the photocell, photovoltaic cell or solar cell, the electric power source may comprise an electric energy storage means, in particular a battery or a capacitor. The electric power source may further comprise a light sensitive element, in particular a photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor, configured to modify and/or control an amount of electric power provided to the mobile communication unit by the electric energy storage means and/or by the photocell, photovoltaic cell or solar cell. To provide such capability, the tracking unit or printed matter may further comprise electric circuitry configured to provide electric power exceeding the threshold to the mobile communication unit only when an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive element, in particular the photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor, exceeds a second threshold, which second threshold may, in particular be chosen and/or configured such that an illuminance or light level of above 20, 50, 100, 200, 300 or 500 lx is required, in particular to impinge onto the photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor. On the other hand, the photoresistor, photodiode phototransistor, or electric circuitry may, in particular, alternatively or additionally be chosen and/or configured such that when an illuminance or light level is below 20, 50, 100, 200, 300 or 500 lx no electric power or no sufficient electric power will be provided to the mobile communication unit, so that sending of the identification number, code or tag will be inhibited.

The light sensitive area may also be part of a passive optical element, in particular a lens, waveguide, a diffractive optical element, configured to direct light towards the photocell, photovoltaic cell, solar cell, photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor.

When the mobile communication unit is energized, i.e. when an electric power supplied to the mobile communication unit, in particular an amount of electric power supplied to the mobile communication unit, exceeds the threshold, the mobile communication unit may send the identification number, code or tag, preferably a unique identification number, code or tag, over the mobile communication network. The (unique) identification number, code or tag allows for identifying the mobile communication unit, and thus the printed matter, in particular the first individual printed matter copy, from another mobile communication unit that may in particular form part of another printed matter or printed matter copy, i.e. a further individual copy of the letter, (greeting) card, leaflet, catalogue, brochure, and/or voucher, or the like, which may at least essentially be identical to the first printed matter copy, with the possible exception of information related to a recipient of the respective printed matter copy, wherein said information may, in particular, comprise a salutation and/or address. In other words, each individual printed matter copy, in particular each individual copy of a letter, (greeting) card, leaflet, catalogue, brochure, and/or voucher, may be associated, preferably uniquely associated with a (unique) identification number, and/or vice versa.

The mobile communication unit may be configured to send the identification number, code or tag a predetermined number of times, in particular once, each time it is energized, or only when it is energized for the first time. Alternatively or in addition, it may be configured to send the identification number, code or tag at predetermined intervals as long as it is energized, in particular at least approximately (once) every minute, every hour, or every day. It may alternatively also be configured to send the identification number, code or tag permanently while energized.

The (unique) identification number, code or tag may be stored in the mobile communication unit, in particular in a memory of the communication unit, in particular as a binary or hexadecimal number. It may also be stored in a separate memory or memory unit connected to and/or accessible by the mobile communication unit, in particular as a binary or hexadecimal number. The (unique) identification number, code or tag may be preconfigured, in particular by a manufacturer of the mobile communication unit. It may also be programmable, adjustable and/or selectable, in particular over the mobile communication network, e.g. by sending the (unique) identification number, code or tag to the mobile communication unit together with a specific code and/or command, wherein the mobile communication unit may be configured to store said identification number code or tag upon reception, and wherein subsequent alteration of the (unique) identification number, code or tag may be prohibited. The (unique) identification number, code or tag may in particular be a unique identification number, code or tag, respectively.“Unique” and/or“uniqueness” signifies within the present context that measures were and/or are taken to ensure that no two communication units have identical (unique) identification number, code or tag; or in other words that any two communication units have different (unique) identification number, code or tag.

Uniqueness may be provided for on a global and/or permanent scope and/or scale, in particular when the (unique) identification number, code or tag is preconfigured by the manufacturer of the mobile communication unit, who may take appropriate measures including, in particular, selection and/or provision of a sufficiently large range from which individual (unique) identification numbers, codes or tags may be selected.

Alternatively, uniqueness may be provided for on a local and/or temporary scope and/or scale only, in particular when the (unique) identification number, code or tag is programmable, adjustable and/or selectable. Uniqueness may then be restricted to the mobile communication units used in one campaign but may not exist between different campaigns. In other words, two mobile communication units used in different campaigns, and/or for distributing different printed matter, may have identical identification number, code or tag.

In embodiments, the tracking unit and/or the printed matter may further comprise

a)a sensing means for detecting manipulation of the printed matter, in particular comprising folding, bending, tearing of the printed matter, pressing or writing on sections of the printed matter, opening and/or closing of the printed matter, subjecting of the printed matter to illumination, in particular to an illumination and/or change of illumination of parts, sections and/or areas of the tracking unit and/or the printed matter other than the light sensitive area;

b) a sensing unit connected to the sensing means and the mobile communication unit, said sensing unit configured to provide data and/or information related to manipulation of the tracking unit and/or the printed matter obtained from the sensing means to the communication unit, wherein

c) the communication unit is configured to send data, in particular raw data or processed data, and/or information related to manipulation of the tracking unit and/or the printed matter over the communication network.

The sensing means may comprise a plurality of sensing entities for detecting local manipulation of a printed matter to which the tracking unit is attached, in particular pressing or writing onto one of a plurality of sections or areas of the printed matter, wherein the sensing means and/or the sensing unit may further be configured to provide information related to which particular sections or areas out of the plurality of sections or areas are or were subjected to manipulation, and/or which specific sections or areas are or were not subjected to manipulation.

Each particular section or area may contain or otherwise represent and/or be associated with specific display information that may be independent from display information contained in other particular sections or areas.

In particular, if the printed matter is a leaflet, catalogue, or brochure displaying and or advertising a plurality of products and/or services, each specific section or area may contain display information reproduced, in particular printed or otherwise formed, on the specific section or area, and related to a specific product and/or service, so that a correspondence may be established between a particular section or area and related display information, i.e. a particular product or service. By manipulating a respective section or area of the printed matter, in particular by pressing, a particular product and/or service may by indicated and/or selected, which may allow the sensing unit to provide information on which product and/or service was indicated and/or selected.

If the printed matter is a or comprises a questionnaire, one or more sensing entities may be foreseen for each of a plurality of questions and/or each of a number of possible answers reproduced on the questionnaire. By manipulating a particular section or area, a corresponding answer may be selected for each of the plurality of questions, and may allow the sensing unit to provide information on which answer was selected for some or all of the questions.

Each of the plurality of sensing entities may correspond to a tick box reproduced, in particular printed or otherwise formed on the printed matter. In particular, each of the plurality of sensing entities may be co-located with or located under a corresponding tick box from a plurality of tick boxes. Ticking a box with a pen or pressing a box may thus allow the sensing unit to provide information on which tick box was ticked and/or which tick boxes were not ticked.

The plurality of sensing entities may be arranged as a matrix, preferably as a rectangular matrix, with pairs of individual sensing areas at least essentially arranged adjacent to one another, and cover a subregion of the printed matter. This may allow for the sensing unit to provide information related to a text or drawing being written on to the subregion. The plurality of sensing entities may thus effectively scan a text, drawing or signature applied, in particular by writing, to the subregion of the printed matter. The sensing unit may then provide information representative of a text, a drawing or a signature, in particular a digitized version or a hash of the text, drawing or signature.

The communication unit, in particular the mobile communication unit, may send data, in particular raw data or processed data, and/or information related to manipulation of the printed matter over the communication network. The data may be restricted to or comprise no more than the identification number, code or tag. The data may also contain and/or be representative of additional information, which may in particular be obtained or provided by sensing means as described above. Where the sensing means comprise a plurality of sensing entities as described above, in particular, the communication unit may send information related to which particular sections or areas out of the plurality of sections or areas are or were subjected to manipulation, and/or which specific sections or areas are or were not subjected to manipulation, information on which product and/or service was indicated and/or selected, information on which answer was selected for some or all of the questions, information on which tick box was ticked or which tick boxes were not ticked, and/or information representative of text, drawing or signature, in particular a digitized version of the text, drawing or signature.

The sensing entities and/or circuitry for electrically connecting the sensing entities with the sensing means and/or the sensing unit may be printed onto the printed matter, in particular by using conductive ink preferably applied by inkjet printing, or other conductive toner or other conductive paint applied in particular by laser printing..

A system in accordance with the invention, in particular for tracking printed matter and/or analysing a reception and post reception treatment of such printed matter, may comprise

a)a printed matter, preferably a plurality of printed matter copies, and/or a tracking unit, preferably a plurality of tracking units as described above,

b)at least one base station of the mobile communication network, preferably a low power wide area network base station, in particular a LoRaWan base station, said base station capable of receiving, and preferably processing and/or retransmitting data sent by the communication unit, in particular the mobile communication unit, of the printed matter and/or tracking unit,

c) an analysis unit configured to

i) obtain data sent by the communication unit of the printed matter and/or the tracking unit from or via the base station, and

ii) analyze the data with respect to manipulation of the printed matter and/or the tracking unit.

The identification number, code or tag, together with data possibly sent by the communication unit, in particular the mobile communication unit, of the printed matter and/or tracking unit may be analyzed to obtain and/or provide information related to a reception and post reception treatment, in particular manipulation, of the printed matter and/or the tracking unit. The information may comprise a timespan from sending the printed matter until reception of the identification number, code or tag, in particular until a first reception of the identification number, code or tag. Under the assumption that no light - or only light having an intensity significantly smaller than the second threshold - reaches the light sensitive element while the printed matter is being mailed or distributed, in particular because it is folded and/or enclosed in an enclosure, in particular an envelope, an amount of time required by/for mailing or distribution may be estimated based on the timespan under the further assumption that an intensity larger than the second threshold reaches the light sensitive element one the printed matter is removed from the enclosure and/or opened.

The identification number, code or tag may only be sent if and as long as light or other illumination having sufficient intensity impinges onto the light sensitive area of the printed matter and/or the tracking unit. An amount of time spent and/or required by a recipient to study a content of the printed matter may thus be determined based on the period of time during which the identification number is received.

A method in accordance with the invention for tracking printed matter and/or a tracking unit for printing matter and/or for analysing a reception and post reception treatment of such printed matter and/or a tracking unit, may comprise

a)selecting a printed matter and/or a tracking unit, in particular a first individual printed matter copy, as described further above;

b)storing the identification number, code or tag of the mobile communication unit;

c) covering the light sensitive area of the printed matter and/or tracking unit, in particular by enclosing the printed matter and/or the tracking unit in an enclosure, preferably an envelope;

d)sending the printed matter and/or the tracking unit to a recipient by conventional mail or other physical delivery means;

e)monitoring the mobile communication network, preferably a low power wide area network, in particular a LoRaWan, said mobile communication network capable of receiving and/or retransmitting data sent by the communication unit of the printed matter and/or the tracking unit for reception of the identification number, code or tag.

The method and system as described above allow to easily, reliably and efficiently assure, verify and/or monitor a quality, reliability, rapidness and/or timeliness of distribution by conventional mail or specialized distribution services or providers

Preferred embodiments of the present invention, in particular as described above, may be realized as detailed in the embodiments and/or method variants listed below, possibly in combination with one or more of the features as detailed above or in the drawings in combination with the subsequent detailed description, or in accordance with the claims as presented further below.

• A tracking unit for printed matter, comprising

a)a mobile communication unit, preferably a low power wide area network communication unit;

b)a light sensitive area;

c) an electric power source configured to provide electric power to the mobile communication unit, wherein an amount of electric power provided depends on an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive area of the printed matter; characterized in that d) the mobile communication unit is configured to send an identification number, preferably a unique identification number, over a mobile communication network when an electric power supplied to the mobile communication unit exceeds a threshold, and preferably to not send the identification number when an electric power supplied does not exceed the threshold.

• The tracking unit in accordance with the preceding embodiment, wherein the electric power source is a solar cell or a photovoltaic cell and the light sensitive area comprises a light collection surface of said solar cell or a photovoltaic cell.

• The tracking unit in accordance with any preceding embodiment, wherein the electric power source comprises an electric energy storage means, in particular a battery or capacitor, and a light sensitive element, in particular a photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor, configured to control an amount of power provided by the electric energy storage means to the mobile communication unit.

• The tracking unit in accordance with the preceding embodiment, wherein the printed matter further comprises electric circuitry configured to provide electric power exceeding the

threshold only when an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive element, in particular the photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor, exceeds a second threshold

• The tracking unit in accordance with any preceding embodiment, further comprising

a)a sensing means for detecting manipulation of the printed matter, in particular comprising folding, bending, tearing of the printed matter, pressing or writing on sections of the printed matter, opening and/or closing of the printed matter, subjecting of the printed matter to illumination;

b)a sensing unit connected to the sensing means and the mobile communication unit, said sensing unit configured to provide information related to manipulation of the printed matter obtained from the sensing means to the communication unit, wherein

c) the communication unit is configured to send data, in particular raw data or processed data, and/or information related to manipulation of the printed matter over the communication network.

• The tracking unit in accordance with any preceding embodiment, wherein the sensing means comprises at least one element having an electric conductivity, resistance, capacity or inductance that changes in response to folding, bending, tearing of said element, and/or to pressing or writing on said element.

• Printed matter, in particular a first individual printed matter copy, comprising

a)a letter, catalogue, card, greeting card, leaflet, questionnaire, catalogue, brochure, book and/or voucher; and

b)a tracking unit in accordance with one of the preceding embodiments attached thereto.

• The printed matter in accordance with the preceding embodiment,

a)comprising at least one page, sheet and/or section, said page, sheet and/or section having a front side and a back side, preferably made of paper or cardboard, wherein

b)the tracking unit, the mobile communication unit and/or the electric power source is laminated between said front and back sides, preferably with a plastic intermediate layer.

• The printed matter in accordance with any of the preceding embodiments, wherein

a)the sensing means,

b)electric circuitry for connecting sensing means, sensing unit and/or communication unit, and/or

c) an antenna for the communication unit

is printed onto the printed matter, in particular by using conductive ink preferably applied by inkjet printing.

• Printed matter, comprising

a)a mobile communication unit, preferably a low power wide area network communication unit;

b)a light sensitive area;

c) an electric power source configured to provide electric power to the mobile communication unit, wherein an amount of electric power provided depends on an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive area of the printed matter; characterized in that d) the mobile communication unit is configured to send an identification number, preferably a unique identification number, over a mobile communication network when an electric power supplied to the mobile communication unit exceeds a threshold, and preferably to not send the identification number when an electric power supplied does not exceed the threshold.

• Printed matter in accordance with the preceding embodiment, wherein the electric power source is a solar cell or a photovoltaic cell and the light sensitive area comprises a light collection surface of said solar cell or a photovoltaic cell.

• Printed matter in accordance with any preceding embodiment, wherein the electric power source comprises an electric energy storage means, in particular a battery or capacitor, and a light sensitive element, in particular a photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor, configured to control an amount of power provided by the electric energy storage means to the mobile communication unit.

• Printed matter in accordance with the preceding embodiment, wherein the printed matter further comprises electric circuitry configured to provide electric power exceeding the threshold only when an intensity of light impinging on the light sensitive element, in particular the photoresistor, photodiode or phototransistor, exceeds a second threshold

• Printed matter in accordance with any preceding embodiment,

ajcomprising at least one page, sheet and/or section, said page, sheet and/or section having a front side and a back side, preferably made of paper or cardboard, wherein

b)the mobile communication unit and/or the electric power source is laminated between said front and back sides, preferably with a plastic intermediate layer.

• Printed matter in accordance with any preceding embodiment, further comprising

a)a sensing means for detecting manipulation of the printed matter, in particular comprising folding, bending, tearing of the printed matter, pressing or writing on sections of the printed matter, opening and/or closing of the printed matter, subjecting of the printed matter to illumination;

b)a sensing unit connected to the sensing means and the mobile communication unit, said sensing unit configured to provide information related to manipulation of the printed matter obtained from the sensing means to the communication unit, wherein

c) the communication unit is configured to send data, in particular raw data or processed data, and/or information related to manipulation of the printed matter over the communication network.

• Printed matter in accordance with any preceding embodiment, wherein the sensing means comprises at least one element having an electric conductivity, resistance, capacity or inductance that changes in response to folding, bending, tearing of said element, and/or to pressing or writing on said element.

• Printed matter in accordance with any preceding embodiment, wherein

a)the sensing means,

b)electric circuitry for connecting sensing means, sensing unit and/or communication unit, and/or

c) an antenna for the communication unit

i) is printed onto the printed matter, in particular by using conductive ink preferably applied by inkjet printing.

• A system, in particular for tracking printed matter and/or analysing a reception and post reception treatment of such printed matter, the system comprising

a)a printed matter in accordance with one of the preceding embodiments,

b)at least one base station of the mobile communication network, preferably a low power wide area network base station, in particular a LoRaWan base station, said base station capable of receiving, and preferably processing and/or retransmitting data sent by the communication unit of the printed matter,

c) an analysis unit, in particular implemented on a computer, said analysis unit configured to i) obtain data sent by the communication unit of the printed matter from or via the base station and

ii) analyze the data with respect to manipulation of the printed matter.

• A method for tracking printed matter and/or analysing a reception and post reception treatment of such printed matter, comprising

a)selecting a printed matter, in particular a first individual printed matter copy, in accordance with one of the preceding embodiments;

b)storing the identification number of said printed matter;

c) covering the light sensitive area of the printed matter, in particular by enclosing the printed matter in an enclosure, preferably an envelope;

d)sending the printed matter to a recipient by conventional mail or other physical delivery means;

e)monitoring the mobile communication network, preferably a low power wide area network, in particular a LoRaWan, said mobile communication network capable of receiving and/or retransmitting data sent by the communication unit of the printed matter for reception of the identification number.

• A method for tracking printed matter and/or analysing a reception and post reception treatment of such printed matter, comprising

a)selecting a printed matter, in particular a first individual printed matter copy;

b)attaching a tracking unit in accordance with any preceding embodiment to the printed matter;

c) storing the identification number of said tracking unit;

d) covering the light sensitive area of the printed matter, in particular by enclosing the printed matter in an enclosure, preferably an envelope;

e)sending the printed matter to a recipient by conventional mail or other physical delivery means;

f) monitoring the mobile communication network, preferably a low power wide area network, in particular a LoRaWan, said mobile communication network capable of receiving and/or retransmitting data sent by the communication unit of the tracking unit for reception of the identification number.

• The method in accordance with the preceding method variant, further comprising the step of a)after reception of the identification number, determining

i) a timespan from sending the printed matter until reception of the identification number, and/or

ii) a period of time during which the identification number is received.

• The method in accordance with any preceding method variant, further comprising the step of determining an amount of time required by the recipient to study a content of the printed matter based on the period of time during which the identification number is received.

• The method in accordance with preceding method variant, wherein

a)a plurality of individual printed matter copies, in particular individual copies of a letter,

(greeting) card, leaflet, catalogue, brochure, and/or voucher, or the like, is sent to a plurality of recipients by conventional mail or other physical delivery means,

b) information related to an identity of each of the plurality of recipients is stored in a database, in particular a database implemented and/or maintained on a computer,

c) for each recipient, information representative of the identification number corresponding to the printed matter copy is stored in the database.

• The method in accordance with the preceding method variant, further comprising the step of associating data and/or information provided by the sensing unit and sent by the communication unit of a printed matter, in particular an individual printed matter copy, with a recipient to which said printed matter was sent.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter of the invention will be explained with respect to further optional detail in the following text with reference to further exemplary embodiments which are illustrated in the attached drawings.

Fig. 1 shows a letter 2 representing an exemplary printed matter 1 , in particular an individual copy of a printed matter, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

Fig. 2 shows a flow diagram of the method in accordance with the ivention

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Fig. 1 shows a letter 2 representing an exemplary printed matter 1 , in particular an individual copy of a printed matter, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The letter 2 has a front side 21 and a back side 22. On the front side 21 , a text/graphics area 23 contains display information addressed to a recipient, details related to whom are reproduced in an address field 24. A first fold 201 and a second fold 202 are provided, which folds separate the letter 2, and in particular the front side 21 , into a first section 211 , a second section 212, and a third section 213. The first fold 201 and the second fold 202 are also configured to facilitate folding of the letter 2 along the folds with the front side 21 facing inwardly, and/or aggravate folding of the letter 2 with the front side 22 facing outwardly. This may be achieved by a cut, scissure, grove or trench provided in the back side 22 of the letter along each of the folds and/or constituting the folds. It may also be achieved by bulge provided on the back side 22 of the letter along each of the folds and/or constituting the folds.

A LoRaWan chip 33 is attached to the front side 21 of the letter 2 as a mobile communication unit. A photovoltaic cell 31 comprising a light sensitive area 32 is also attached to the front side 21 of the letter 2, and electrically connected to the LoRaWan chip 33 to allow for providing electric power to said LoRaWan chip 33. LoRaWan chip 33 and photovoltaic cell 31 comprising light sensitive area 32 constitute a tracking unit 3 for letter 2.

When the letter 2 is folded with the front side 21 facing inwardly, the light sensitive element is covered by the second section 212 and/or the third section 213 of the letter.

This description and any accompanying drawings that illustrate aspects and embodiments of the present invention should not be taken as limiting the claims defining the protected invention. In other words, while the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and

foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplary and not restrictive. Various mechanical, compositional, structural, electrical, and operational changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of this description and the claims. In some instances, well-known circuits, structures and techniques have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure the invention. Thus, it will be understood that changes and modifications may be made by those of ordinary skill within the scope and spirit of the following claims. In particular, the present invention covers further embodiments with any combination of features from different and/or individual embodiments as described above and below. Embodiments in accordance with the invention may, in particular, include further and/or additional features, elements, aspects, etc. not shown in the drawings or described above.

The disclosure also covers all further features shown in any Figure, individually, although they may not have been described in the afore or following description. Also, individual alternatives of the embodiments described in any Figure and the description and individual alternatives of features thereof can be disclaimed from the subject matter of the invention or from disclosed subject matter. The disclosure comprises subject matter consisting of the features defined in the claims or the exemplary embodiments as well as subject matter comprising said features.

The present disclosure also includes embodiments with any combination of features which are mentioned or shown above and/or below, in various embodiments or variants. It also includes individual features as shown in the Figures, even if they are shown there in connection with other features and/or are not mentioned above or below. The disclosure comprises embodiments which exclusively comprise the features described in the claims or the exemplary embodiments, as well as those which comprise additional other features. The steps of any method disclosed above or claimed below may preferably be carried out according the order in which they are presented, but may also be carried out a different order.

Furthermore, in the claims the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality. A single unit or step may fulfil the functions of several features recited in the claims. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage. The terms "essentially",“substantially”, "about", "approximately" and the like in connection with an attribute or a value particularly also define exactly the attribute or exactly the value, respectively. The term "about" in the context of a given numerate value or range refers to a value or range that is, e.g., within 20%, within 10%, within 5%, or within 2% of the given value or range. Components described as coupled or connected may be electrically or

mechanically directly coupled, or they may be indirectly coupled via one or more intermediate components. Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope.

Unless stated otherwise, it is assumed that throughout this patent application, a statement a « b implies that |a-b|/(|a|+|b|) < 10, preferably |a-b|/(|a|+|b|) < 100, wherein a and b may represent arbitrary variables as described and/or defined anywhere in this patent application, or as otherwise known to a person skilled in the art. Further, a statement that a is at least approximately equal or at least approximately identical to b implies that a « b, preferably a = b. Further, unless stated otherwise, it is assumed that throughout this patent application, a statement that a » b, or that a is significantly larger or much larger than b, implies that a > 10b, preferably a > 100b; and statement that a « b, or that a is significantly smaller or much smaller than b implies that 10a < b, preferably 100a < b. Further, a statement that two values a and b substantially deviate from one another, or differ significantly, implies that a « b does not hold, in particular that a » b or a « b.

Embodiments of the invention may involve one or more electronic or computing devices, and/or involve the use of such devices. Said devices typically include a processor, processing device, or controller, such as a general purpose central processing unit (CPU), a graphics processing unit (GPU), a microcontroller, a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) processor, an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a programmable logic circuit (PLC), a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a digital signal processing (DSP) device, and/or any other circuit or processing device capable of executing the functions described herein. In particular, the battery management system, the control system may, and/or the control system settings update unit may be partially or fully implemented on such electronic or computing devices, individually or jointly.

The methods described herein may be partially or fully implemented as or in the form of software, which may in turn be encoded as executable instructions embodied in a non-transitory computer readable medium, including, without limitation, a storage device and/or a memory device. Such instructions, when executed by a processing device, cause the processing device to perform at least a portion of the methods described herein, preferably in real-time. The above examples are exemplary only, and thus are not intended to limit in any way the definition and/or meaning of the term processor and processing device.

As used herein, i.e. anywhere in this document, the terms“computer,” and related terms, e.g., “processor”, “processing device,” central processing unit (CPU)”, “computing device,” and “controller” may not be limited to just those integrated circuits referred to in the art as a computer, but broadly refers to a microcontroller, a microcomputer, a programmable logic controller (PLC),

and application specific integrated circuit, and other programmable circuits, and these terms are used interchangeably herein. In the embodiments described herein, memory may include, but is not limited to, a computer-readable medium, such as a random access memory (RAM), a computer-readable non-volatile medium, such as a flash memory. Alternatively, a floppy disk, a compact disc - read only memory (CD-ROM), a magneto-optical disk (MOD), a digital versatile disc (DVD), a USB stick and/or a flash memory card (e.g. CF, SD, miniSD, microSD) may also be used. Also, in the embodiments described herein, additional input channels may be, but are not limited to, computer peripherals associated with an operator interface such as a mouse and a keyboard. Alternatively, other computer peripherals may also be used that may include, for example, but not be limited to, a scanner. Furthermore, in the exemplary embodiment, additional output channels may include, but not be limited to, an operator interface monitor.

Further, as used herein, the terms“software” and“firmware” are interchangeable and include any computer program which may be stored in memory for execution by computers as defined above, workstations, clients, and/or servers.

As used herein, the term “non-transitory computer-readable media” is intended to be representative of any tangible computer-based device implemented in any method of technology for short-term and/or long-term storage of information, such as, computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules and sub-modules, or other data in any device. Therefore, the methods described herein may be encoded as executable instructions embodied in a tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable medium, including, without limitation, a storage device and/or a memory device. Such instructions, when executed by a computer as defined above, cause the computer to perform at least a portion of the methods described herein. Moreover, as used herein, the term“non-transitory computer-readable media” may include all tangible, computer-readable media, including, without limitation, non-transitory computer storage devices, including without limitation, volatile and non-volatile media, and removable and non-removable media such as firmware, physical and virtual storage, CD-ROMS, DVDs, and any other digital source such as a network or the Internet, as well as yet to be developed digital means, with the sole exception being transitory, propagating signal.