Here Is A Basic Understanding Of What Connected Packaging Is

Product packaging techniques have a universal aim to preserve and protect products, especially perishables. In the ‘80s, the rising cases of kidnapping prompted the short-lived practice of printing photos of missing children in milk boxes.

These days, product packaging can do way more than creating awareness. With the use of advanced technologies, the product’s exterior becomes just as important as the product itself. Packages now contain and transmit various data that give out more than just the commodity’s origins.

With connected packaging, manufacturers have better means to interact and learn more about their consumers and vice versa.

What does connected packaging mean?

Connected packaging forms part of “smart packaging”, and it incorporates new components of digital information to the traditional functionalities of packaging, particularly product preservation and protection. With the use of various forms of technology, connected packaging enhances consumer experience and engagement, while gathering user behavior analyses. 

Packaging technologies have various applications across a wide array of consumer products. They’re currently being developed by the health and beauty, food and beverage, and household product industries.

How does connected packaging work?

You must have heard of the “internet of things” (IoT). Simply put, IoT is the consolidation of systems, real-time analytics, sensors, among other things, to monitor, track and control physical objects. Connected packaging is a part of this ecosystem, where information and communication happens both ways. Not only can the object be tracked real-time, but it can likewise transmit and collect information.

Take for instance the smartwatches that monitor your health status and daily activities. More than just telling the time and measuring your basic health metrics, a smartwatch can also give you access to maps, music and many other things.

As part of the Internet of things (IoT) ecosystem, connected packaging uses an embedded mechanism to initiate information transmission and gathering.

It may either be user-activated, such as when a consumer taps a smartphone or scans a QR code, or it may be activated automatically according to manufacturers’ preference, for instance, when a consumer opens the package.

Connected packaging technologies

These are the most common tools used to transmit information wirelessly. All you need is a compatible device that can read a computer chip, or a code embedded in the packaging.  

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): This technology has been around for several years, and is mainly used to label and track the movements of objects. RFID scanning has limited distance, and is mainly dependent on the RFID tag’s antenna, as well as the power emitted by the scanner.

Connected packaging allows for the tapping of cloud-based applications through RFID tags. Upon activation or scanning, typically by an RFID reader or a smartphone, consumers are directed to a cloud service that offers interesting content about the product. In addition, the data gathered from the packaging can tell the users more about the origin of the product and the various stages of the supply chain.

Near-Field Communication (NFC): This system allows wireless communication between two electronic devices that are close to each other. Most mobile phones can read and scan NFC tags and initiate mobile transactions - most notably Google Pay and Apple Pay. In addition, NFC allows for enhanced time and location-specific offers to a wide-range of users, as it’s being applied in various interactive mobile games.

Printed Codes: This system covers an array of printed patterns, which include bar codes, images, and most notably, QR codes. These days, technology has allowed manufacturers to incorporate QR codes that provide various functionalities, involving more than just product identification.

QR Codes and Augmented Reality

Augmented reality enhances natural situations by providing experiences that add to a user’s heightened perception. It aims to provide a highly interactive and digitally-controlled environment.

Take, for instance, the QR codes embedded in connected packaging. More than displaying product information, companies have included specific URLs in these codes that, when activated, directs a consumer to a brand message or a call to action (CTA).

What are the uses of connected packaging? 

Various technologies continue to explore the seemingly endless possibilities of what connected packaging can do. In its current form, connected packaging supplies the following benefits:

  1. Gives us the ability to track products real-time
  2. Provides a better understanding of the supply chain systems
  3. Improves product inventory management
  4. Ensures authenticity of a product
  5. Helps prevent product theft
  6. Enhances user experience
  7. Develops brand awareness
  8. Hastens user feedback collection


It may sound like something from a science fiction movie, but connected packaging is revolutionizing the way products are made, shipped and consumed. It offers both manufacturers and consumers numerous avenues to interact virtually, improving information exchange in all stages. 

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