Packaging Technology: The smart bottle
Mobile technology on packaging becomes a tool for manufacturers to protect their products and communicate personalized messages directly to consumers.
The company unveiled a prototype of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label that is equipped with a printed sensor tag featuring Thinfilm OpenSense technology. Thinfilm’s proprietary, patent-pending OpenSense technology utilizes near field communication (NFC). The tag, which sticks to the side of the bottle and extends to the cap, can detect if a bottle is sealed or open with the tap of an NFC-enabled mobile device.
“We constantly experiment with the latest cutting-edge technologies to enrich and enhance the experiences delivered by our iconic brands,” says Helen Michels, global innovation director for Diageo. “Our collaboration with Thinfilm allows us to explore all the amazing, new possibilities enabled by smart bottles for consumers, retailers and our own business, and it sets the bar for technology innovation in the drinks industry.”
The technology allows Diageo to track bottle movements across the supply chain, in stores and to the point of consumption, with the sensor tags remaining readable even when the factory seal has been broken. OpenSense can also address brand protection and security, product authentication, anti-counterfeiting and grey market diversion applications.
To ensure authenticity, the tags are completely and permanently encoded at the point of manufacture and cannot be copied or electronically modified. Additionally, customers who read the tags with their smartphones can get a direct message from Diageo.
“Thinfilm OpenSense tags are dynamic in that the messaging associated with them can be tailored to the individual item level,” says Bill Cummings, vice president of marketing and communications at Thinfilm Electronics. “Sensors are also integrated into the tags, and the sensor data can be a primary driver of the messaging/content that is delivered to a person’s smartphone when he or she taps a product with an OpenSense tag.”
With the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Diageo can deliver content such as cocktail recipes for spirits, meal pairings, promotional offers and other marketing messages.
“Mobile technology is changing the way we live, and as a consumer brands company, we want to embrace its power,” says Michels.