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Paper Company Brings Intelligence to Packaging

Several consumer-brand businesses are testing RFID and NFC versions of Stora Enso's Intelligent Packaging solution that includes RFID-enabled packages and readers, as well as software and apps to manage read data.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 26, 2017

European paper, pulp and packaging manufacturing company Stora Enso has begun offering an RFID-based product for packaging connectivity that it calls its Intelligent Packaging solution. The company is providing both Near Field Communication (NFC) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags, readers and cloud-based software, to manage read data for tracking products as they move through the supply chain or when they are handled by retailers or consumers.

Stora Enso makes products for converters that build brand packaging, as well as for the brands themselves. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and is ranked fifth in the world by sales within its industry. Its customers, both converters and product brands, told Stora Enso they could benefit from adding intelligence to the packaging in which products are transported and sold. RFID in packaging would help companies to uniquely identify and track those products.

Stora Enso's Teemu Salmi
That led, approximately two years ago, to the concept of using RFID to create intelligent packaging, says Teemu Salmi, Stora Enso's senior VP, CIO and head of digitalization. Initially, the company was focused on a solution for its brand customers, to enable a more direct dialog with consumers. If a product's packaging incorporated a 13.56 MHz NFC tag compliant with the ISO 14443 standard, for instance, consumers with an NFC-enabled smartphone could interrogate that tag, and thus be taken to a website or be provided with content specific to the product. That meant the system could allow a brand to share information about its goods, provide use instructions, or offer promotions and discounts.

However, as Stora Enso developed and began testing the NFC solution for consumer engagement, it found that its customers had other applications that might benefit from other NFC use cases as well. For instance, retailers or consumers could utilize an NFC tag built into the packaging of high-value products to confirm their authenticity prior to a purchase. In addition, an NFC tag attached to a product's enclosure could help an individual detect if that item had been opened and tampered with.

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