People wouldn’t usually think of the packaging industry as a place to look for technology driven advances – after all, how much high technology can there be in a crisp packet? But there’s one far-reaching area in which this industry sector is likely to be a major driver; that’s the incorporation of increasingly functional “smart tags” to facilitate supply chain management. The industry is moving from simple bar codes to RFID devices. As increasingly sophisticated computing power, communications and the capacity to sense the environment are added to RFID tags, we’ll be coming that much closer to the visions of ambient and ubiquitous computing and intelligent, networked artefacts that excite many people, and deeply worry many others.
For some background on the necessary enabling technologies, see this article – Polymers, nanotechnology and the future of packaging – that I wrote for the trade magazine Plastics in Packaging.