Pod Group, a Giesecke+Devrient company, which claims to be the world’s first Enterprise Network Operator (ENO), in partnership with SODAQ and Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND), has announced the launch of a paper-thin tracking device in the form of a smart label, which will revolutionize the logistics industry by allowing tracking of small and lightweight items, which has not previously been possible using traditional tracking devices, it says.

An ENO is an enabler for the infrastructure and related services that enterprises need in order to own and control their IoT networks. The label was first shown at the CES show in Las Vegas in January.

The Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider has developed the smart and eco-friendly shipping label primarily to help prevent packages from getting lost, they say. Made of an ultra-thin printed battery and low-power 5G cellular chip, the label measures just 2mm thick and can be stuck onto boxes and important letters for tracking.

Not only can the label be attached to surfaces for up to six months, but it is also removeable and reusable, thus allowing users to charge it before placing it back on a different package. The label features a temperature sensor, which could indicate if food or medication has been exposed to unfavourable conditions, along with a motion sensor, enabling a recipient to know if an item has been delivered.

The chip uses the low-power cellular 5G connectivity standard (LTE CAT-M) to send data regarding device location and temperature back to a centralized dashboard, enabling logistics companies to track goods, which could be as small and light as an envelope, or as large as a full-sized oil painting. The powerful middleware platform provided by LHIND enables the use of geofences with notifications that can be set to alert the user when the package enters or leaves key points along the supply chain.

The printed battery keeps the label as light as possible, while the use of low-power connectivity ensures that battery life is optimized and can last longer. The label could be used multiple times, depending on the frequency of the transmission. The alkaline battery is also more environmentally friendly than traditional lithium batteries and the materials used are recyclable.

“The smart label is the result of the combined expertise of the various partners involved in its production to deliver a unique industry-leading solution, from SODAQ’s innovative hardware with its unique form factor and recyclable materials, to LHIND’s powerful centralized dashboard and Pod Group’s secure, reliable global connectivity,” commented Sam Colley from Pod Group.

Vice President of business development at LHIND, Ingo Pietruska commented, “Smart mobile devices will play an increasing role in the digital transformation across all industries. Because of its form factor and its unique technology, this label enables a series of new use cases. LHIND is proud to be part of the adventure of creating the first smart label with LTE-M connectivity for a fast-growing number of countries.”

Ollie Smeenk from SODAQ added, “With the smart label, companies with complex supply chains can track their goods efficiently, reducing spoilage and theft. The state-of-the-art low-power cellular communication technology can now reliably send near real-time positions, temperature and shock alerts from this recyclable ultra-thin device. As SODAQ we are excited to be the first in the world to make this a commercially viable solution, together with our partners.”

This article was created in collaboration with AIPIA (the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association). For a full update on active and intelligent packaging, come along to the AIPIA World Congress (co-organized by Packaging Europe) in Amsterdam on 14-15 November. The only smart packaging event covering the entire technology spectrum, the World Congress is a meeting place for the global active and intelligent packaging industry where brand owners, innovators, and other stakeholders can network and see and discuss the latest trends and innovations. Register to attend here.