HP Integrating RFID and Smart Packaging

By Edson Perin

At the Apas 2019 Congress event, HP's Kami Saidi spoke about the integration of smart packaging with radio frequency identification, as well as the benefits for buyers of the company's products.

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HP Brazil has introduced an offer for the second half of this year regarding a new and expanded experience for its customers. The offer involves the integration of radio frequency identification technology and smart packaging, which identifies products by means of labels, boxes and other digitally printed materials with elements that are invisible to human eyes but activate responses in an installed app on smartphones.

According to Kami Saidi, HP’s head of manufacturing and supply chain operations for Latin America, consumers of the company’s printers can find data that would be in a product manual—such as instructions for the operation of equipment, or explaining which cartridge to use—using HP Link technology. Saidi was a speaker at the Apas 2019 Congress event, offered by the São Paulo Supermarket Association (Apas) on May 7.

HP’s Kami Saidi during his speech at Apas 2019 Congress

“Instead of a lot of printed material going along with each new printer, including DVD-Rom,” Saidi explains, “each new product can provide more information to the customer via your smartphone with the Link reader application already installed.” That is, a consumer can simply point the phone’s camera to the printer using HP’s app so that the device is recognized. Videos and other specific instructions will then start to be displayed.

During Saidi’s lecture, HP employees distributed a printed card using the HP Link technology, allowing the audience to understand the possibilities of this new method of interaction between companies and individuals. The card teaches users how to download the Link reader app and how to use it. After filling out a short registration form with a user’s name and email address, then pointing the phone’s camera at the application for the card, a participant receives 10 hours of smart packaging consulting.

The hybrid RFID and smart packaging solution from HP Brazil was awarded in the Best Logistics and Supply Chain RFID Implementation category at this year’s RFID Journal Awards. On the last day of the RFID Journal LIVE! conference, RFID Journal announced the award winners.

Through this initiative, HP seeks to enhance its customers’ experience by using the Internet of Things (IoT). With packaging or labels printed digitally via the HP Link technology, each HP product can have its own personalized identity, such as a personal document or an RFID tag. This provides a “secret identity,” Saidi said, since it cannot be viewed by human eyes. The printed code resembles a watermark.

Digital printing integrates the design artwork of the packaging, but without interfering with its layout, quality or appearance. In addition, it makes the packaging traceable throughout the value chain. The fingerprint technology can be applied individually to each carton, and can be associated with a GS1 Electronic Product Code (EPC), with the same information recorded on the RFID tags.

An HP Link card triggers a signup screen on a smartphone.

With the HP Link digital solution, a unique identification is applied to the packaging during the printing process, giving each product its own individual identity. The cloud-based platform provides visualization and analysis software, identifies forgeries and diversions, and delivers digital content to consumers. The accompanying software tools make it easy to integrate into the prepress workflow and electronic supply chain management systems.

The software allows users to store information in any database, even at a third-party provider, to be integrated with systems in use, comply with privacy policies or support data transparency—for example, blockchain. All watermark content of the digitally printed carton can be accessed by the HP Link mobile application. RFID data related to digital packaging can be read by any smartphone.