Connected or Smart Packaging

5 things you should know about Connected Packaging

1. Connected Packaging (often called Smart Packaging) links the physical world with the digital world: Smart packaging forms a perfect “digital bridge function” between manufacturers, retailers, consumers and social media channels. Today, packaging which is used to protect and label goods, will increasingly receive new functions in the future thanks to digital technologies. Packaging is becoming more individual, personal and communicative.

What exactly is Smart Packaging? Broadly it describes packaging with extended functions. Current types of smart packaging active packaging, intelligent packaging, extended augmented reality (AR) and Logistics

PFX can assist you to make your packaging take advantage of IT developments with code scanning, visual and data links, and augmented reality. We offer the expertise to equip your packaging and accelerate your brand communication with your consumer. Possibilities are almost endless. Virtual tours, competitions, or operating instructions can be downloaded to tablets and smartphones from codes that are printed on the packaging. Contact PFX for further information on Smart Packaging


2. Active packaging

Active packaging interacts with the contents and thus improves the shelf life or quality of the contents during storage. Either certain substances are released into the medium or certain substances are removed from the medium or its immediate surroundings.

This is achieved by using light filtering materials, oxygen and ethylene absorbers, antimicrobial surface coatings or moisture-regulating materials. The active component can be integrated into the packaging or added separately in the form of inserts.

A typical example is certain brands of beer in a plastic bottle, which contains an oxygen absorber in the screw cap. This extends the shelf life from three to six months.  Another example is film packaging with ethylene absorbers. The ripening hormone ethylene is absorbed during the storage of the food and thus ensures a longer shelf life.

Contact PFX for further information on Smart Packaging


3. Intelligent packaging

Intelligent packaging is packaging that offers an additional benefit that goes beyond the mere packaging task. The “intelligence” of packaging essentially results from “communication” with the outside world.

The additional benefit can include diagnostic and indicator functions that use indicators or sensors to monitor the condition of the product and provide information on e.g. storage time, temperature or freshness. Alternatively, the indicators or sensors can be integrated in the packaging, placed on the outside or inside the packaging.

Thanks to these integrated freshness and/or time/temperature indicators, retailers and consumers can see whether a critical limit value has been exceeded. For example, a colour change in the packaging indicates an interruption in the cold chain, a leaky packaging or an unwanted proliferation of salmonella.

Contact PFX for further information on Smart Packaging


4. Extended Packaging

Extended packaging will fulfil information, automation, marketing or protective functions, such as through barcodes, LEDs, augmented reality, NFC, loudspeakers, radio chips or displays. One example is packaging with NFC chips, which, using an NFC reader (e.g. smartphone), make it possible to read out the package insert and reorder the medication.

Extended packaging offers smartphone users additional product information on origin, production conditions or ingredients. By scanning barcodes or RFID chips, the information can be called up in conjunction with a suitable app on the Internet.

Contact PFX for further information on Smart Packaging


5. Augmented Reality and logistics

Smart packaging technology can also be used for logistics and marketing purposes.  The  Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle in the UK uses extremely thin electronic sensors that transmit when the bottle has been opened or where it is in the distribution chain. In addition, Diageo can upload promotional offers while the bottle is in the store. However, as soon as the sensor indicates that the bottle has been opened, the information is exchanged with cocktail recipes.

Packaging equipped with augmented reality elements goes one step further. This to visualizations that virtually supplement real images on a smartphone or tablet. The application possibilities are numerous. Virtual tours, competitions, virtual theme worlds or operating instructions that appear on the packaging when photographing or filming a product have already been realised.

Contact PFX for further information on Smart Packaging