A Date for your Diary

2017 sees the return of Pro2Pac, the UK’s only food and drinks specific packaging exhibition.

So what will next year’s show bring? The theme this time round is Technology – Luxury – Innovation, all underpinned with a strong recognition of the role that packaging plays in reducing product waste in this sector.

The speaker seminars will bring industry experts from far and wide – brand owners, manufacturers and designers alike, along with a host of trade body representatives.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be giving you a flavour of things to come. In this edition, we’re focusing on technology and in particular the role that emerging technology has to play for the development of food and drink brands in addition to how they can engage more interactively with their consumers. Specifically, we’re looking at Augmented Reality.

For the uninitiated what is Augmented Reality, or AR, as those in the know refer to it? AR is technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Using a smartphone and a sprinkling of wizardry that even Harry potter would be proud of, AR brings your brand to life in the consumer’s hands. Just think Pokemon Go – even if you haven’t played it, you’re no doubt aware that the technology allows consumers to look at real life objects through their smartphone camera and ‘see’ Pokemon Go characters sitting there in front of them.

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a major, long term investment in Augmented Reality. He told investors: “We are high on AR for the long run. We think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity.”

A few days later, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said AR was becoming a “mainstream consumer platform” and that the future was in accessing information via mobile phones and tablets, not in expensive headsets and other wearables.

Zuckerberg said: “As people look for richer and richer ways to express themselves, just like people in the past have shared a lot of text and photos on Facebook, we think in the future more of that is going to be video, and more of these augmented reality tools I think are going to be an important part of delivering that experience and making that fun to use and as expressive as it can be.”

On the back of the Pokemon Go explosion, it’s no coincidence the two biggest names in communications technology in the world have pinned their colours to the AR mast.

Their statements indicate that:

  • AR will become a mainstream channel for engaging customers, employees and stakeholders.
  • Mobile devices are the most prolific and accessible ways of delivering AR content.
  • That owning an AR channel is a commercial “must-have” for any modern business.

Analysts now predict an explosion in AR use.

So who better to have speaking at Pro2Pac 2017 than ooh-AR, a UK based technology firm at the forefront of AR technology.

Some AR services are so expensive it is not sustainable to launch and continue them. ooh-AR believes that the most cost effective AR solution on the market, and business models to increase revenue and provide tremendous reach and value. But you’ll need to come to the show to see and learn more for yourself.

It means your brand can be ready to move now and deliver the AR solutions Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg talk about as “the future” within a few weeks.

For two years the AR industry has enabled customers with the guts and belief in the technology to make the most of AR as early adopters and pioneers.

Now AR has been identified by the world’s biggest names in technology, Apple and Facebook, as a mainstream must-have it’s time to act and add AR to a communications portfolio. It’s as much an essential as an effective website.

I hope this gives you some ‘food for thought’, as you plan and prepare to visit the show next year Pro2Pac March 20-20, London Excel.

By Robert Herridge, Packology

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