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Smart packaging, and introduction to the packaging levels

  • Smart packaging levels

Packaging background

Packaging is for the purpose of protecting or enclosing products for storage, distribution, sale and use. Packages are reusable or disposable, depending on the type of the products, and the package role. The main purpose of packages is containment, protection from physical damage and exposure to other materials. Marketing and information transmission are additional values we can get from our packages.

The kinds of smart packaging

These days, we understand that packaging can provide even higher value to the companies and consumers and it is possible to get more from packaging. That is the concept of smart packaging. Here we present the evolution of smart packaging in levels of growing benefits and technology. Beginning with the simple package, on to packages which contain single code or unique codes (RFID, NFC or QR codes), and the most advanced levels refer to smart connected packages, using Bluetooth to connect to the smartphone and stand-alone packages with built-in UX that connects directly to the internet.

A full breakdown of the smart packaging level types

In the sections below, we will review the different levels of smart packaging, explaining the pros and cons of each category, for the consumer using the smart packaging, and for the brand, which is selling the smart packaging.

Level 0 – Simple package

The first generation of package are only fulfilling the basic role of packaging – containment and physical protection of the product. This is a simple type of package is not smart or connected and doesn’t give the consumer a unique value. Simple packages are the cheapest solution for the companies and the costumer.

Level 1 – Simple package with RFID

Getting a level up, we meet the single code package (RFID). The package contains single code, which is same for all products, read with special reader. The code is designated to the brand or the retail chains, most of the time for inventory management and counts. This kind of smart package doesn’t add value for the consumer, though the simple technology keeps the low price of the package.

Level 2 – Single code package (NFC, QR code)

Single code package that is scanned by consumers, it can be NFC or QR code. Same code for all products. The additional advance from the previous level is the value the consumer gets. Reading the code can provide information about the product. In addition, the brand can make marketing advertising, promotions and gather some data about the consumers who scanned the code, in an easy and smart way.

Level 3 – Unique code package (NFC, QR code)

Serialization codes for packages is the 4th level. Every smart package gets unique code, scanned or NFC. The information we get in that kind of technology and serialization is more specific for the product we hold in our hands. The prices get a little higher when we move from single code to individual customization, but in some type of products it is very a important addition.

Level 4 – Connected package

Making it to the elite group of smart packaging, the smart connected packages. It contains sensors and UX which connects to smart phone app by Bluetooth. The technology does not require tapping or scanning, all processes works automatically, promoting the consumers wellbeing with no need for behavioral change. The smart package knows to monitor usage habits, remind the user when it’s time to use the product, and analyzes all data in the app.

Level 5 – Stand-alone connected package

The most talented star of the elite group of smart packages, is the stand-alone connected product. It does have sensors and a UX on the product, and connects directly to the internet, no need for a smart phone. This fact means that it is independent, and the complete value of smart-reminding-monitoring product is so simple to use.

Smart packaging Summary

As seen above there is a wide range of packaging types to select from, with each of them having special attributes, advantages and costs. In the future to come, and to fulfill brand and consumer needs, more and more smart packaging solutions will be used across more and more products.

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