One of the major changes brought on by the Internet of Things (IoT) diffusion of new technology is that of humble packaging. Whereas previously packaging was mainly tasked with proper storage and marketing of goods, nowadays packages can be used to leverage data for next-generation analysis and business practices.
In the next 5 years the public will see how the IoT revolution impacts packaging. Chief among these developments will be sensors and smart packaging. New solutions in this space will cause the industry to grow to a value of $60 billion annually in the next few years, and sensors are going to be integrated into the packaging itself as well as machinery used to make it. Logistics and sales will be changed fundamentally as more companies leverage the increased data available from IoT.
Some industries are particularly suitable for leveraging IoT applications. In particular, the food and pharmaceutical industries are leading the way in terms of finding new operating models possible with IoT.
The food industry
Across the value chain in food there are companies using IoT for a variety of purposes, from manufacturing to marketing. In terms of food safety, the technology offers big advances. Smart packaging, new materials, and sensing devices all play a role. Whether they use devices like microchips or simply indicators on the packaging, water and heat levels among other variables can be monitored.
This can impact logistics and food safety substantially, as more precise and real-time readings can be tracked by the suppliers at all times. This makes the product safer, and consumers stand to benefit considerably. Not only is more precise and frequent data available, furthermore the data can enable more comprehensive monitoring of food whereby new technology can detect spoilage that conventional inspection may miss.
The pharmaceutical industry
The stakes are quite high when it comes to food given how dangerous spoilage can be, but the needs of pharmaceutical customers are even more risk-laden.
This offers big possibilities for increased efficiency and oversight in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Smart packaging is one of the ways the pharmaceutical industry is driving efficiency and increasing product quality nowadays. The volatility involved with many drugs in terms of moisture, heat and contamination is even more applicable for companies to tackle. Even a small fluctuation can lead to a dangerously compromised product.
Patients can be helped immediately by the reduction of tis risk of compromised product quality, and many startups and bigger companies are tracking packaging of pharmaceutical with new innovations.
Over the next 5 years, the IoT world will bring significant changes to the packaging industry, enabling more and finer detail on food conditions, as well as the integrity of drugs in transit also. From smart packaging to offline sensors and indicators to sensors in logistics, a wider range of variables can be more accurately and precisely tracked, allowing for more comprehensive and cost-effective provisioning of complete products to consumers.