RRD Develops Smart Packaging in New Partnership
Wired describes it as the "language of the future," intelligence that "once locked in our devices now flows into the universe of physical objects." Ars Technica says that it is changing the way that we engage and interact with the world around us, blurring the lines between impalpable technology and the tangible, stating, "The digital has become physical." It's the Internet of Things (IoT), and RR Donnelley (RRD) is looking to expand its reach into product packaging that is seamlessly integrated into it.
Earlier this month, RR Donnelley, one of the biggest players in printed media, announced that it would develop smart packaging in partnership with SMARTRAC, a company that specializes in RFID technology. The process will make use of RAIN UHF RFID technology, which is a "wireless technology that connects billions of everyday items to the internet".
SMARTRAC will utilize SMART COSMOS, its cloud-based services that enable the development of new solutions to connect physical objects to the digital world, according to the company's information page.
Together, RRD and SMARTRAC have developed a method for manufacturing RAIN inlays using two distinct components that do not need to be adhered together, according to a press release. This new development will bring about new opportunities for value-added products and services. This partnership opens up the possibility for the simplification of RFID compliance for brand owners by making tags, labels and packaging RFID-ready with the process of enabling the inlays as-needed.
As more companies begin to consider smart packaging and labels, making the process get from point A to point B easier can make a world of difference. And, as more devices are connected every day, it seems inevitable that more brands will begin to adopt smart packaging to entice consumers and ensure their products are as "connected" as possible.
Ars Technica's writer, Sean Gallagher, says that some estimates place the number of devices connected to the Internet outnumbering people on the planet at more than seven to one within the next five years. But, there are concerns, Gallagher explains. Security, privacy and reliability could be issues facing brands connected in the IoT, and could pose problems for packaging that is enhanced with RFID tags and the like. Not every consumer is entirely comfortable interacting with packaging, or potentially having their habits tracked after a purchase.
CIO TODAY recently published an article outlining the fears that consumers face in relation to internet security and the IoT. A survey conducted by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) revealed that 40% of respondents avoid online financial transactions when compared to 29% of households in general and 35% avoided buying goods and services online or posting on social networks, compared to 26% of respondents in general. According to the article published on CIO TODAY, the NTIA is taking public comments on policy issues related to the continued development of the IoT.
As more packages move to include connected technology, it will be interesting to see if there is a shift in consumer acceptance and trust.