Canadian Packaging

Through The Looking Glass


July 13, 2009
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor

Now maybe it’s because I’m involved in media, but lately I haven’t heard much about the progress of RFID (radio frequency identification) here in Canada.

Sure, companies like Krupack are successfully utilizing it within their HIDE-Pack corrugated packages—and I salute them for that. A ten-hup. However, there are still concerns about the readability of tags on individual packages, specifically glass bottles containing liquids.

So what about RFID on individual packaging? Like the promises made in the 1960s of being able to use a jet pack to rocket to work, where’s the progress?

I don’t mean to slag all of the hard-working people within the Canadian RFID field—like GS1 Canada—a not-for-profit, industry-led organization that develops, promotes and maintains global standards for the identification of goods, services, locations and related e-commerce communication. But I want my jet pack… or at least RFID for my daily use. Hey, the Euro French have it—RFID, not the jet pack—why not us?

Recently, I heard about the efforts of Violet, a French hi-tech company and GS1 France that have used RFID tags from UPM Raflatac to connect a magazine to the Internet.

The latest issue (#4) of the French magazine, Amusement contains a NFC (Near Field Communication) tag (15mm x 15mm) affixed to the magazine’s interior pages. Designed to work with Violet’s new Mir:ror RFID interrogator that plugs into a computer RSB port, when the magazine page is brought into proximity of the interrogator, the RFID tag’s unique ID number is scanned launching exclusive on-line magazine content. Pretty cool, huh?

Granted the magazine readers will need to purchase said Mir:ror—about $70 US, and there only a handful of French kid’s books that are RFID enabled—but it seems like a step in the right direction.

I wonder what materializes first—further development of RFID technology for everyday packaging and personal use, or that jet pack.

Somewhere reflecting,
Andrew Joseph