The future of the Processing and Packaging industry is Connected

More and more physical objects, such a palettes, cargo or an entire manufacturing plant are being equipped with tags or sensors that can share their data via low power wireless technologies. Trials of these “Internet of Things” or IoT, scenarios are gaining momentum. Packaging and labeling companies are discovering the economic benefits of IoT for their businesses; for example:

Goods labeling: Retailers are linking smarter goods labeling with consumer behaviors and in-store displays, to measure footfall and deliver prompts about special offers.

Fault Monitoring: Manufacturers are using increasingly sensitive monitors to enable more predictive fault monitoring, maintenance and planning of spares.

Asset tracking and Smart Grid monitoring: Live tracking of assets such as people, livestock, wild-life, cargo, cold chain transport, etc. are becoming a reality.  Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Intel are innovative suppliers who have developed demonstrations in areas like fleet management and smart agriculture to prove the benefits of the latest standardized wireless technologies to a range of industries.  Technologies such as Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) extend existing mobile radio coverage into basements and rural locations to support these new applications and services.  Companies like Huawei, Sierra Wireless and u-blox are bringing new devices to market to drive these new applications.

Connected things extend into smart meters; health and fitness, medical and smart medicines and any item where sharing of data from the device will benefit the consumer or supplier. Smart white goods will inform the manufacturer when product is installed and even the location if permitted by the owner.

The number of examples of how IoT can support manufacturing, processing and packaging industries to be more efficient, more productive and save money are expanding daily.  It will also help fight counterfeit and support brand protection with smart clothing labels for example.

2017 is the year of IoT. The wireless industry and mobile operators have already launched devices and upgraded their networks to support these new a IoT applications. According to the latest information from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), who represents mobile industry suppliers, at least 21 operators have launched or committed to launch NB-IoT this year. Based on this increased industry activity GSA is maintaining its industry forecast of 100 billion connected end points by 2025.

The next evolution of wireless technology – 5G – will see a step change in mobile connectivity and will support the predicted billions of connected devices. The first 5G trials will start at the end of 2017 with full commercial service planned for 2020. This 5G mass-connectivity will support even more connected things including smart food labels so that asset and product tracking can extend even to individual labels on cans in the supermarket.

Information to support the growth of connected things is available on the GSA website at and is free to download once user are registered.  GSA members include Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung, and GSA has a flexible membership fee to support participation by small medium enterprises.

It is also possible to join in on discussion in the GSA LinkedIn group: or on Twitter @gsacom

About the GSA

GSA promotes the 3GPP technology roadmap – 3G; 4G; 5G including NB-IoT, VoLTE, LTE-V, LTE-U, LTE Broadcast, mobile device availability and features, etc. and represents companies across the worldwide mobile ecosystem engaged in the supply of infrastructure, semiconductors, test equipment, devices, applications and mobile support services. The GSA Executive Board comprises of Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm Incorporated and Samsung covering close to 100% of all mobile network infrastructure deployments.