Technological Trailblazing: Taking Advantage of Intelligent Design

Package indicators“Intelligent design” refers to innovations that help a substrate such as paper or paperboard maintain the integrity of a product or communicate information to the consumer. These innovations can establish authenticity, measure temperature and humidity, or alert users if perishable food has expired. Fortunately, the paper products industry is well positioned to take advantage of these new trends.

One such advancement in intelligent design is the time-temperature indicator. Using ink that will fade after a designated period of time, or by tracking the migration of dye through a filter paper, such labels can show the accumulated time and temperature history of a product or alert consumers to the potential for food-borne illness.

Thermochromic inks and papers are also designed to monitor the safety of food, beverages, or pharmaceuticals. These papers or inks respond to temperature fluctuations in the product by changing colors or revealing messages. For instance, a thermochromic paper milk carton that has been left out on the counter too long will transform to read “Please refrigerate,” warning that the milk has become too warm.

With so many consumers making shopping decisions with their smart phones securely in hand, a mobile technology called augmented reality has gained tremendous popularity. Augmented reality (often called AR) allows the shopper to train her phone’s camera on a label, view the product through her viewfinder, and see superimposed computer-generated images on the product. AR can reveal relevant data about the product, such as its ingredients, a translation, a wine pairing recommendation, or where the product was sourced.

Intelligent design has created major buzz in the past several years and as an industry, is expected to grow 8% annually to $3.5 billion by 2017 (Freedonia Group). As these innovations become more mainstream, they will also become more affordable and customizable. By providing your clients with such state-of-the-art technologies now, you will not only position yourself as a technological trailblazer but also gain significant advantage over your competitors.

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