The Internet of Things has taken over every area of our lives.
This is the concept that any object with an on-and-off switch can be connected to the internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) that our society has developed allows us to collect and share data in real time about almost anything. Because of the rapid advancement of technology over the last decade it is possible to connect anything to the Internet of Things at affordable costs and with limited resources.
What exactly is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
An example of the Internet of Things in action is a lightbulb – we have the ability to turn a light on from a smartphone or a motion sensor. A similar application is coffee – there are coffee pots today that are controlled from a smartphone and can be monitored from a smartphone app. Children are some of the biggest users of the internet of things; smartphone apps have been developed to bring children’s toys, clothes, and food into the internet of things.
What’s the purpose? When we think about bigger applications and large scales, we can use this interconnected web of data and technology to control important aspects of large cities and even countries. This could be as simple as automated street lights and weather applications, up to complex systems and sensors that actually control the environment.
Our work environments are particularly vulnerable to the internet of things. These technologies have advanced to help individuals in the workplace work faster and safer, as well as larger applications for the workplace as a whole, such as security monitoring.
How does this apply to packaging?
In packaging, the internet of things is already making waves in big ways. Check out this case study to learn how vision systems make it possible to inspect packages accurately and at rapid speeds for quality assurance. The cameras that are used to inspect the packages are hooked up to software that quickly analyzes the contents to ensure the packages are being sent out with accuracy. Amazingly, in our case study, this technology reduced the number of packages that were incorrectly packaged to 0%.
Another application that is currently available is the sensors and scanners that are used to track packages. Consumers can see in almost real time where our packages are and intercept if needed. This puts even more control of the e-commerce shopping experience int he customers hands. This also creates an expectation from buyers meaning that we have to utilize the top technology to stay in front of our competitors.
What’s to come? The packaging world should expect to integrate all of the products that we produce to the internet of things. How can we get closer to our customers, suppliers, and others in our audience through digital connections? The outcomes will be the deciding factor in what companies are able to sustain long term, vs. those that fall off the grid.