Soon, consumers will be able to buy, for example, ‘digital beer’ capable of providing information on the product itself and its production stages with the aid of smart codes and sensors embedded in the product. The first Finnish consumer goods to see the introduction of sensors and functional inks in the form of additional information, product safety and entertainment will be launched by the end of this year.
VTT is a research and technology company in the Nordic countries. Fellow Finnish firm UpCode is a mobile communicatons and smart technologies specialist.
Scheduled to end at the end of 2018, this development is part of the European TagItSmart project, under which VTT has developed functional inks for products’ changing smart codes. In the first deployment, 2D codes individualized by UpCode have been attached to the labels of beer bottles from a small brewery in Vaasa, Finland. These bottles are being used to map out Finnish consumers’ opinions by selling bottles at a neighborhood store in Vaasa and by clarifying consumers’ views with the aid of an online forum.
VTT said traceability and options providing entertainment will soon be part of consumers’ daily lives, particularly in food casings and domestic appliances. Liisa Hakola, project manager at VTT, explained: ‘For example, a smart sensor attached to a beer bottle label knows if the beer is fit for consumption, its brewer, and the circumstances under which it was brewed. The codes in the label also inform the reader of how the life span of the product can be improved and offer a direct communication channel between the consumer and the manufacturer.’
UpCode CEO Sture Udd added: ‘This solution will deliver a significant change to product branding, as it enables not only product personalization but also consumer-directed production and distribution and, thereby, a higher value added on the digital market.’
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