It’s the era of smart. Smart watches, smart light bulbs and smart cities. Connected devices and the whole Internet of Things (IoT) which is expected to reach $7.1 trillion in 2020 according to IDC.
So, now we come to the smart bottle and what makes it smart. In this case, it’s printed sensors. According to a report from IDTechEX, printed sensors will reach more than one billion dollars by 2020. Lux reports that the retail sector including smart food packaging and monitoring is the second largest opportunity for printed, flexible, organic, electronic sensors with an estimated market value of $117 million by 2024.
Diageo, a multinational alcoholic beverages company and Thin Film Electronics, a Norwegian printed electronics company, teamed to create a Johnnie Walker Blue Label smart bottle which debuted at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday.
The smart bottle uses printed sensor tags with Near Field Communication (NFC). This turns every Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle into a smart bottle that holds digital information consumers can access with any NFC-enabled smartphone.
Brands need to stay close to consumers. With the large amount competition to stay in the forefront of the consumer’s mind, brands are turning to technology to foster that relationship. The smart bottle is one way Diageo hopes to enhance their relationship with the consumer and strengthen customer loyalty through a new user experience.
The printed sensor tags use Thinfilm’s OpenSense technology and can detect both the state of each bottle – open or sealed. The tags and the sensors contain information Diageo can use to send personalised communications to consumers via their smartphones.
The technology on the smart bottle also helps Diageo tackle counterfeiting and can track the bottles through the supply chain process and detect if the bottle has been opened or tampered with. A study from the Institute of Economic Affairs estimates that black market spirits purchases cost the UK around £1.2 billon in revenue annually.
In a continued shift away from static QR codes which are easy to copy, difficult to read and have no sensor integration, the OpenSense tags are permanently encoded at the point of manufacture and can’t be copied or electrically modified.