Interactive Packaging is as much about security as it is about innovation
The term ‘interactive packaging’ offers a whole lot to our imagination. In recent times, the talking Barbie has been a classic example of what the future of interactive packaging looks like (yes when you talk to Barbie, she sends your response to a data center which selects the appropriate response she is supposed to provide you with and she responds to you), and as AI improves over a period of time, it is sure to make its way into the world of packaging as well blurring the borders in meaningful ways.
The very idea of interactive packaging, a natural offshoot of the Internet of things revolution, is that you can now talk to your packages and get relevant information in real time. However, interactive packaging, as it stands now, is mostly being used more for the ‘stunt’ factor rather than its actual value of providing relevant information and driving engagement. The other key aspect is that when you talk about interactive packaging you are talking about an interface through which you can talk to your package and through which it can communicate back to you, namely an app.
Taking these two together will mean – that more and more people will be initially thrilled with the stunts provided by connected packaging and the chances of revealing one’s personal information will only grow with each stunt. And the question of security will appear the moment your personal information goes online into an app, which may or may not be fully secure.
This opens up a volume of questions for packaging professionals as they open up from their design and weight calculations and enters the world of cyber technology. Take talking dolls for example. What if a hacker sneaked in a malware into the backend response system and made your doll provide inappropriate responses, or someone stole your personal information from your food pack app and sold it to spammers.
Depending on each product that you interact with through connected packaging; you are always vulnerable to providing information unwantedly into an app. The app might be intelligent enough to track your behaviour, preferences and interests and create a pattern for it as well. But for every interactive package you buy, you are at the risk of the security protocol that the builders of the app have secured. According to the tech security firm Proofpoint, in the current IoT landscape hackers have found a target rich environment in poorly connected packaging and devices that might be easier to control than laptops and PCs.
So, while connected packaging grows in its stunt as well as utility value, it will be imperative to concentrate on the security aspects of it in greater detail. And a wealth of opportunities will open up for the new age security expert as a new market opens up altogether.