Smart packaging has now become a reality. Barcodes and QR codes were an important part in the evolution of smart packaging, and still play a role. Now, food packaging specialist Sealed Air, is taking the concept one step further with prismiq.
Prismiq, comprises a portfolio of solutions for design services, digital printing and connected packaging designed to unlock new value for our food supply chains. Prismiq enables brand owners to create a digital twin of their products in a product cloud. It will allow food brand owners not only to tell the story of their product from paddock to plate, through data driven insights, it can enable personalised 1:1 communication so the brand messages can resonate all while gathering value data points to use to drive decisions throughout the product lifecycle.
It also enables an easier exchange of information relating to other aspects of the value chain such as inventory management and traceability. Prismiq also includes a range of digital printers that will be able to provide digital printing across a number of flexible materials used in food packaging. One capability that is unique to Sealed Air will be the ability to provide fresh protein customers with pre-printed serialised shrink bags as well as some 4 colour process branding including UV light activated inks which are only visible with UV light. With these combined capabilities, Sealed Air believes that it will open up many new applications for its customers, including the ability to unlock value across the supply chain.
Prismiq will let brand owners simplify the complexity of on-pack messaging, branding and data collection, making it easier for them to get onboard with the technology.
Sealed Air developed prismiq to be a one-stop shop for brand owners who want to be able to not only have a data set readily available for their customers, but also allow them to streamline and link all the information relating to the product in one place, as well as design the packaging.
There are three main reasons for the development of the platform:
- to unleash the power of great creative design that allows brand owners to explore a range of ideas to promote their product through its proprietary digital printing platform;
- to allow Sealed Air to help with designing a prototype of a product; and
- to allow the aforementioned smart packaging to bring a new dimension to consumer engagement and supply chain transparency, which will include helping with operational efficiency.
Anna Di Bello is Sealed Air’s director APAC marketing, digital, graphics and smart packaging. She sees an endless use for the platform and sees it as a platform that can expand and grow with companies as they start to utilise all of its features.
“This is more than just a different way of communicating on pack, which is where most brand owners go first,” said Di Bello. “It’s like when the first smartphones arrived on the scene and the developers said there was much more to it than just being able to make phone calls. It’s the same with this technology. You will find that once you start using it, it opens up a way for different actors within the supply chain to share the information and collaborate.
“Our platform is using DigiMarc EVRTHNG, and that gives us to two pieces of technology. The first is that it gives us the product cloud platform to digitise products. It also gives us another way to code and mark the packaging where a watermark code is embedded into the graphics of the product.”
Two of the key attributes of the system are making it easy to use and implement.
“We’ve reduced a lot of the adoption hurdles. You don’t need to go out and build and host consumer or customer experiences,” said Di Bello. “We’ve designed a couple of experiences that brand owners can skin. The second thing is, how do you put meaning into that code? Once we’ve put this digital serialised code on the pack, how do you activate that code and gather all that information? We’ve got our team of engineers that can help in the design and installation of that of the technology. They recommend the best way to activate the code based on our customer’s production line.”
Di Bello also says the other highlight of using Prismiq is that during the design process, Sealed Air can take a brief and use its creative department to help design what the holistic experience would look like both online and in its physical state.
“We’ve put the investment in to build a solution that can be leveraged at scale so that it’s no longer just for the big end of town – it doesn’t matter how big your company is, you can use this technology,” she said. “Let’s say you have a small farm that produces boutique products. They don’t have to build their own platform. We’ve done all the heavy lifting behind the scenes – all they’re doing is skinning the solution, signing up to the product cloud and hosting experience. And we’re helping them create and deliver those experiences very quickly.”
Di Bello also points out that brand owners are looking for data interoperability. The code has been written to GS1’s Digital Link Standard which uses the EPCIS 2.0 protocols. This standard that will help unlock the silos of information along the supply chain that will enable full traceability. It also can help users with real time insights into a product – its traceability, how it is being moved, which extends supply chain visibility. These types of insights means new, improved ways of doing things can happen much quicker.
Designed primarily for the shrink bags used for the fresh protein sector, Di Bello said it can have other uses.
“We can utilise it with some of our roll stock where we can drop in the code,” she said. “Or if a customer already has a printer installed on the line, we can certainly utilise that so there’s different aspects. You don’t have to buy the whole package. You can buy bits and pieces.”
Di Bello also points out one of the differences between what people think smart packaging is today – which is a QR code that takes the user to a website – is the digitisation of product. It is making every that was produced in a single moment in time unique by creating its digital identity.
“It is not like a SKU, it has its own website, and that it can dynamically serve up information, depending on basically three factors; who’s accessing the information, what time and where are they accessing that information,” she said. “When you start to branch out from those three things, you can be selective in terms of what information about that product you can share in that moment.
“Let’s say I’m scanning the product in a warehouse, and I’m a supply chain partner, then I might get presented with completely different information. This new system is what gives you a dynamic experience, as opposed to just having a static QR code that redirects you somewhere.”
The system has many attributes, but its overall mission is to deliver as much value as it can to brand owners wanting to take the next step in getting their product to market and having a system in place that can utilise their best chance of making it a success.
Sealed Air is taking a holistic approach to the system due to what packaging is going to do in the future, according to Di Bello.
“A lot of a lot of our customers are highly manual in labour intensive applications,” she said. “If you want to automate that, having a mechanism to identify product and track it is going to be key. You can have very expensive vision systems that can identify the product as you go through. Or, you can have the vision system that identifies the product and then applies the code to the to the product, and then have a computer read the code. That’s more cost efficient when you have that interpretation; when you’re trying to replace those repetitive tasks
“That’s why we’re thinking broadly about what prismiq could do, which is more than just smart codes and the consumer experience. It’s linking those three pillars together in the context of sustainability and automation as well.”