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Smart and Reusable Ecommerce Box Gets Supercharged

Already the epitome of smart ecommerce packaging, The Box adds a camera, speaker, microphone, and more sensors.

It’s said that all publicity is good, but earlier this year during The Consumer Electronics Show, a small company received what was unquestionably outstanding publicity when its creation was officially named by CES 2020 as the “product with the greatest potential to change the world.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The recipient for such an accolade? The BOX, an ecommerce-optimized, fully technology-enabled reusable container from manufacturer LivingPackets. It’s also happens to be an atypically large, yet extraordinary example of smart packaging.

The company has now upgraded what was already an impressive distribution container that Packaging Digest reported on in early March (see Next-Gen Ecommerce Packaging is Smart, Customizable, and Reusable) with even more useful technology. Let’s first review the features of the first-generation container…

  • The plastic box is durable enough for 1,000 trips after which it can be reconditioned and recycled;
  • The dynamic, data-carrying electronic-ink labels operates on low power — drawing only enough power to allow changes in data rather than to maintain it;
  • It houses smart technology that includes integrated sensors to continuously measure temperature, humidity and shocks.
  • All data can be accessed at any time via the built-in Internet connection and smartphone app.
  • A configurable interior is customizable for every shipment size and eliminates the need for one-way plastic protective wraps and packing material.

The Box is individually customizable internally to secure the specific contents.

The Box in various positions.

Newly introduced Version 2.0 offers these additional features:

  • New sensors to measure pressure, motion, weight and light;
  • Internal camera allows the ecommerce shipper and its customers to check on the delivery that, in combination with other sensors,  opens up a number of new possibilities , the company claims;
  • Larger 7.8-inch Electronic Ink (E Ink) display with Gorilla Glass is able to mimic almost any existing shipping label and is both human- and machine-readable. This makes The Box compatible with all existing logistics solutions in warehouses and fulfillment centers and allows for an even more convenient experience;
  • Speaker and a microphone that can be activated by the receiver to communicate with the mail carrier;
  • Integrated locking system with TSA interface secures every shipment that goes beyond detecting opening attempts to prevent unauthorized attempts through an electromechanical lock;
  • Front pop-out handle is ergonomically designed so users can easily carry it.

Co-founder and CEO Alexander Cotte again responds to Packaging Digest’s questions in this Q&A. 

What’s the targeted customer and market? 
Cotte: We are still following our plan and work with selected e-commerce partners in Germany and France to bring The Box to market in both countries this year. From there, our Boxes will find their way to other companies and people for use with their deliveries.

We are currently in the final stages with our launch partners and building our circulation system. The number of businesses, carriers, and partners across many industries is growing each week that would like to use The Box.

What products/volumes are especially suitable for this in terms of a business case justification?  
Cotte: Because The Box can accommodate by size 80% of all ecommerce shipments today, it’s a really good fit for most online businesses that sell items with a volume of up to 32 Liters (or 8.45 gallons or 1.1 cu ft).
When it comes to products and volume we are working with very different setups: We have a lot of companies who sell high-volume in tens or hundreds of thousands of boxes per day who would like to use The Box. And we also have companies, for example pharmaceutical makers or luxury brands, that ship far less packages, but that are worth tens or hundreds of thousands of euros. For them the extended monitoring and usage of sensors makes a lot of sense.

Can you provide an update regarding the commercial status?
Cotte: We can still mention Cdiscount and Orange that we announced publicly for our first market pilots. We will communicate the next tests and pilot programs after the launch in the near future.
Unfortunately through Corona we saw some delay for the announcement communication with selected partners. But once we are ready to announce them, we are happy to let you know.

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