6 November 2017 How technology can enhance your packaging There has been a lot of talk in the news over the past year or so about IoT (Internet of Things), NFC (Near Field Communication) and even QR (Quick Response) codes. With companies making great strides in embedding this and other new technology in our everyday lives, the amount of times we interact with the digital world is ever increasing. We’ve seen the trend of wearable technology explode over the past few years and today it’s more likely that you’ll see a small computer on someone’s wrist, than it was three years ago. Technology is constantly evolving, and the consumer market seems to be next to embrace it. Amazon launched their “Just Walk Out Shopping experience” with Amazon Go earlier this year to their employees as part of a Beta program. The idea behind this is the store links to your amazon account and there are no checkouts or queues. You take the products off the shelf, put them in your bag and your Amazon account is charged directly. This is the next step on from Tesco’s “Scan as you Shop”. There has been much anticipation over the past few months with the launch of the new iPhones and iOS 11 as to whether Apple will make NFC more available, e.g. able to use it for actions other than Apple Pay. Well the good news is you can! Although there are still restrictions. You can now download a third-party app (we use GoToTags) to scan NFC and QR codes. The NFC apps will work on iPhone 7, 8 and X that run iOS 11. We’ve talked about NFC and QR codes before and if you’ve been to one of our showcase days or seen us at an event, you may have seen our technology bottle that has an NFC chip behind the seal and a QR code on the reverse of the hangtag. We created this bottle, so we could talk to people about the possibilities of technology in packaging. We even created these NFC business cards for people to take away. The only thing that stood in our way was that iPhones couldn’t read NFC tags, so we had to create a QR code. There’s lots of debate around QR codes and we aren’t keen on the design of them. Yes, we put them on our NFC card and made them look as best we could with the Signet logo in the middle and changed the colour to our brand colour, but they still interrupt the design. However, now Apple have given in to the NFC trend, this means the technology can happen behind the label and the design doesn’t need to be altered to fit the technology. So, what can an NFC tag do? An NFC tag can be programmed to connect with a URL, pass information to a device or app or begin a process on a device. What does this mean for packaging? If you include an NFC tag in your packaging you could drive consumers to any URL, dedicated landing page, social channel etc meaning you could control what the consumer sees next, after looking at your product. Do you want to tell the story of the brand, may be suggest recipes or do you want to promote a special edition, drive people to enter a competition. Ask consumers to take a photo and post to their social channels. If you have an app, you could programme the chip to launch the app on the consumers device, or launch the app store to download the app. With an NFC tag, the only limitation is your imagination. Below is a video of our technology bottle and how we have used an NFC tag. Get in touch with our sales team to talk more about how we can help you merge the real world with the digital world give us a call on +44 (0)1733 396080 or on +44 (0)1577 330300, or use our easy contact form.