Industry 4.0 Smart Labels

For many years, barcodes conveyed a series of numbers and letters to a display to be represented. However, smart labeling has transformed this one-dimensional approach, introducing labeling into the twenty-first century. It is critical since several studies suggest that labels significantly influence customer behaviors.

Transparency Is More Than A Buzzword

Transparency is more crucial than ever in supply chains, and we all must be prepared for the future. It is not wrong to say it is a way of doing business with integrity. Industry 4.0 technology can help with product transparency and speed up critical supply chain operations.

Inventory management is the most important activity for suppliers. Instead of relabeling each product as it arrives, businesses may scan a smart label to confirm its identification and stage in the product life cycle. With that level of confidence, the supply chain can perform much better.

The term Industry 4.0 refers to the revolution of the industry through the smart networking of tools and machines using information and communication technologies. The design concepts of Industry 4.0 lead to the identification and understanding of applications in the industrial revolution.

Smart or intelligent labels are an umbrella term for any labeling or transcription that uses technology to provide capability and data beyond the scope of a regular barcode. It comprises data-embedded barcodes, RFID, and QR codes, including several potential approaches that use modern technology, such as upgrading a single-dimensional barcode into a data-rich repository for suppliers, packagers, logistics workers, and marketers.

Smart labeling can exemplify: 

  • Product qualities/provenance
  • Improve food safety 
  • Reduce food waste by monitoring/tracking products in the supply chain

Numerous brands have started to use smart labels to demonstrate that their products are genuine and sustainably sourced. With a simple smartphone scan, smart labels can show precisely where, when, and how these products were prepared.

Despite being meant to guarantee truth and transparency, standard smart labels have a critical flaw: counterfeiters may readily replicate them. This issue can also be solved by Industry 4.0 smart labeling.

What Makes Industry 4.0 Smart Labels More Effective?

Industry 4.0 smart label is like a fingerprint that is digitally distinct and offers the framework for digital twin transmission. The digital twin is a revolutionary file format that, unlike current file formats, cannot be duplicated. Accepting the digital twin is the preliminary validation necessary to finish product verification.

Digital Ownership

With a single scan, you can confirm the authenticity of your purchases and even claim digital ownership. Even if the physical product is stolen and resold, the digital identity will inform the future customer that the product has been stolen.

Industry 4.0 smart labels can also function in the reverse direction. When anyone intends to sell a product on the secondary market, they don’t have to convince customers because the digital twin contains all the information.

Verified On The Blockchain

Traditional labels, which can be mass-produced, smart labels in Industry 4.0 are authenticated on the blockchain. The blockchain is a decentralized information recording technology.

There is no single point of failure even though it is decentralized. It is also immutable, meaning that data stored on the system can never be modified—no more speculation since the blockchain can trace and authenticate a product’s origin or ownership.

Smart Label Technologies For Food Products

Consumers’ increased demand to know more about their food products poses concerns and prospects for food manufacturers, pushing some forward-thinking brands to go beyond the typical food label and create something innovative.

Design Challenge

The most noticeable challenge is fitting all the information into a product label. A label provides real estate, and typefaces may only be reduced to a specific size before becoming unreadable.

The text-heavy design is a viable and fashionable option. However, one of the most critical functions of labels is to appeal to customers who make split-second purchasing decisions associated with visual clues. Huge blocks of small types can be intimidating and cause severe problems for anyone with any level of vision impairment. The prevalence of food allergies and intolerances may be dangerous.

Smart labels are helping the food industry serve customers by addressing their information needs, thanks to our increasingly connected world and the smart mobile devices practically everyone carries.

Competitive Industry

Smart labeling provides detailed information to be communicated to both systems and people. It is a tremendous opportunity for brands to differentiate food products in a highly competitive marketplace.

Examining the usually overcrowded grocery fridge and the variety of food goods available to the consumer is critical. Smart labels can help food companies enhance traceability, product information, and food safety.

Leading Smart Labels And Their Benefits For The Food Industry

RFID Smart Labels

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) labels can be added to food products to trace them along the supply chain using electromagnetic fields remotely. It improves traceability, tracking the food source, and combating counterfeit items.

Finally, this also helps to improve food safety and security, which is especially crucial for perishable foods like meat, fish, and dairy products.

QR code

Quick response codes (QR codes) can hold a lot of data. It can identify a product, track products, and promote food to consumers. It can be scanned on a variety of devices, including smartphones.

All new smartphone cameras include a QR code scanner, allowing modern consumers to benefit from the additional information given to food and drink packaging without downloading an app.

How Can Smart Labeling Tackle Many Of The Challenges The Food Industry Faces?

Data Handling

Industry 4.0 smart labels can also mitigate against excessive accountability throughout the supply chain regarding mismatched data. Technology can do it in seconds instead of spending hours combing through data to find precise points in the supply chain where a product was mismanaged.

Data-Driven Decisions

The increased traceability may improve the forecast of where products should go and how they should be handled once reached. With industry 4.0 smart labels, there is no room for doubt.

Reduce Food Waste

Smart labels can help decrease food waste by measuring the freshness of a product and making this information visible to customers and workers. It implies that actions may be taken to guarantee that the food is used before it degrades, such as lowering the product’s price or something else.

Improve Food Safety

When smart labels are scanned, they can provide information on each ingredient, allowing customers to know what is in their food correctly. Furthermore, smart labels’ increased information and traceability capabilities are incredibly advantageous for food recalls, allowing to quickly locate contaminated products and batch information and deal with it properly. It has the potential to save food businesses millions of dollars.

Conclusion

New smart label technology may be the answer if there isn’t enough space on your label to tell the entire story.

Consumers are concerned about the ecological origins of the food and the health advantages of specific foods and beverages, according to current food trends. The additional information capabilities of smart labels provide even more information regarding the health and ethics of food and beverage products.

Smart labels can incorporate product origins, every stage of the food journey from farm to end destination, additional product information, recipes, multi-buy product offers, and measuring food freshness, providing excellent value to the consumer.

Smart labels can include security tags, assisting supermarkets in reducing fraud. It can also combat counterfeiting by implementing Blockchain technology capable of monitoring the food’s origin and every stage of the product’s journey in a highly secure manner. It ensures the credibility of the food, improving customer trust.

Namrata Anand, Technical Content Writer at Paramount Software Solutions farmtoplate.io

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