The Packaging:
A New Technology

The world is evolving dramatically with the advancement in technology. Smart connected products are electrical appliances with features such as processors, embedded systems, screens and interfaces, companion apps and cloud platforms. Unique Digital Services and Unified Product Experiences, which are constantly exceeding expectations, make a difference to customers. Smart connected products are proliferating, but smart connected packaging is yet to have the same kind of impact. Products in the form of passive and bulk products can also be experiential, interactive and sustainable by way of smart connected packaging. For example, companies specialized in the analogue and Organic Products can use intelligent connected packaging to allow their Passive Products such as coffee bags or paint containers to survive. As products and their packaging are symbiotic—neither exists without the other—digitizing packaging means products are also be digitized by proxy. Digital touchpoints are provided in every stage of the product's life cycle by intelligent packaging linked to it. It is helping brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences, which delight customers and generate an ongoing operational benefit. And it's accompanied by a system of powerful technologies that drives new ways for products to interact with each other.

In addition to the software and systems used in monitoring Smart Packaging Systems and analysis of data for business purposes, physical sensors, Flexible Electronic Devices, cameras, QR codes, Near Field Communication tags, RFID tags are a number of things that form part of the final mile. Smart packaged packaging examples are the specialized scanners used in warehouses and distribution centers, but also include QR codes that are virtually devoid of electronic or physical equipment; manufacturers can easily change the design on their product to take advantage of this benefit. A wide variety of use cases exists in different sectors and the activation of digital content and experiences for consumers, e.g. when they register or authenticate a product, can be enabled by Smart Packages that are attached to them. Examples of operations focused use cases, such as monitoring products through the supply chain, can also be supported.

Why companies are going for digitalized packaging?

The growing need for companies to become customer relevant and to achieve supply chain resilience and sustainability is driving the demand for smart connected packaging. By considering experience, ensuring the reuse of supply chains for resilience and creating sustainable value through responsible trade, smart connected packaging can help them to reimagine their entire business. Companies are forced to examine package design in order to remain competitive and differentiate themselves from their competitors as a result of the demand for online shopping. In some respects, the role of packaging as a promotional tool for customers was negatively influenced by e commerce, and retailers tend to show their products on web pages that do not contain packaging. However, through unboxing videos on YouTube and other platforms, online influencers have increased the role of packaging. Sensational customer experiences through product unboxing can win over millions of viewers who watch these videos. In order to be able to use the opportunity of digital engagement as a tool for information, learning and entertainment, companies will have to rethink their packaging design.

With next generation packaging, companies are already taking advantage of opportunities to provide engaging, meaningful, inclusive and memorable moments

Smart packaging, which can be used to supplement Direct and Consumer Demand Strategy strategies through intelligent connected packaging, is a further area of focus for companies. Due to disruption of the distribution chain, delivery delays and store closings, DTC has increased sharply throughout the Pandemic. Experience differentiation may come from smart connected packaging, which could be used to monitor consumption patterns. First of all, intelligent packaging can arrange for replenishment to be made according to the correct quantity so that consumers never have more than enough or less product in each package but exactly what they need. Secondly, brands can be aware of where and when a product is consumed in close proximity to it via the intelligent connected packaging. This will contribute to more detailed marketing, logistics and production optimization.

Redeployed for resilience

As regards products and their journey, consumers and legislators are looking for greater transparency with a view to traceability of products through the supply chain from where they originate. The challenges are driven by the continuous rise of world sourcing and competition for quality materials, while an increasing number of regulation and standards also change competitive landscape and alter business model as a whole in the value chain. By linking the product to a Digital Identification System and tracing its whole life cycle with data that is at the center of all this, intelligent packaging can help solve these problems. The location of the product in the supply chain or its life cycle can be tracked and traced through the use of a unique digital identifier assigned to each item, as well as by printing it on packaging using code serialization. As a product is moved throughout the supply chain by code scanning at distribution centers, fulfilment centers, retailers' warehouses or households, these digital IDs could provide real time updates on its status. In this case one of the world's greatest confectionery firms has increased its supply chain transparency by means of QR codes that appear on packaging. The scan of the code on a smart phone brings an interactive website app experience as well as information about the product's journey from farm to mill and baker.

Sustainable value

One aspect of commercial activity that has come in for some serious scrutiny from interested parties requesting companies to make a greater contribution and take responsible action is packaging. The purpose of a company can has an influence on $5 trillion in consumer spending around the world and those who are not committed to sustainability will lose money. Packaging has an important role to play in sustainable development and companies must take advantage of packaging as a catalyst for positive change. Our research shows that environmental concerns have caused consumers to abandon one or more products, with food and beverage packaging23% and personal care products16% at the top of our list. Brands and retailers are striving to address these concerns with the aim of maintaining their brand loyalty, when it comes to purchasing decisions. While recent years have seen organizations strip product packaging back to the basics in response to the growing sustainability movement, the focus is now shifting to “adding” to packaging. A package of tomorrow that is purposefully and sustainably innovated can be shaped by digital connected technologies. Smart interconnected packaging and wider technologies, which support this are providing a smarter solution as the need for brands to be responsible with regard to environmental policy and packaging continues to grow. For example, the use of recycling symbology and packaging instructions is often confusing for consumers. Wouldn't it be useful for them to take a look at the package and find out what parts are recycled? The geolocation feature would then be capable of leading them to drop-off points in the local area. Moreover, the visibility of excess inventory is also improved with access to real-time or near real-time consumption information via smart connected packaging. In this area, companies have already taken steps: A clothing company focusing on sustainability has just launched a low carbon and carbon neutral line of clothes. A distinctive piece of technology a biodegradable NFC tag that enables each user to record his or her unique identification and unravel the story of the garment supply chain, is incorporated in every part of the line.


Technology is improving all aspects involved in the creation of packages, although aesthetic and entertainment considerations are to be considered essential but environmental concerns will remain a major concern. Therefore, it is essential to pay particular attention to the entertainment aspect of technology in order to take advantage of such novelties and distinguish itself from its competitors. We're caught up in a technological revolution. The packaging and consumer industries will only benefit from the efforts that revolutionize everything from customers' experience to production, shipping and environmental performance when the world rapidly moves towards this and other sustainable methods. Now the future is here. New technology is to be anticipated and considered by companies. The future's now in front of us. The arrival of new technology should be foreseen and accepted by companies. Evolving alongside these innovations, however, will be beneficial when you take advantage of the opportunities and stay ahead of the curve.

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Swara Keni

Head- Global Business Development

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