Product labeling has many stakeholders. Most products have multiple labels placed on a device and its packaging. The product manager controls the final labeling configuration. Product identification1 and tracking are primary. Logistics and inventory management are as important. Marketing creates the package artwork and contributes some limited label content. Product support and reverse logistics have limited input.
The best advancement offered by the adoption of SQRL codes is that modern smart phone technology allows consumers to scan and read (unencrypted) information about the product. Consumers want access to the information. Now we can communicate more information while reducing the labeling footprint. Marketing can include links to sales information and accessories. Manufacturers can add information about extended warranties. Labels can now contain multiple web link addresses so that the amount of data is limitless.
As a result of the standardization of field labels and the optimization of 2-D label capacity, labeling applications will proliferate. At the same time, the total real-estate consumed by labels will decrease as these protocols facilitate the consolidation of labels.
We envision that each shipped product will include three complex labels. By complex, we mean that each label will support multiple applications. The three labels are:
1. Directly on the product. This will be in an unobtrusive location that does not interfere with the aesthetics of the product.
2. On the product packaging. This label will include information created by marketing to facilitate presales support and consumer support
3. On the shipping carton. This will include all logistical information including data from GHS, and export information.
These labels, utilizing SQRL code technology will consolidate information and data from the various labels currently placed on products and packaging.
In addition we envision the addition of two additional labels that would be placed on items related to reverse logistics.
4. RMA Management. This label would be added to products that are returned to manufacturer, In some circumstances, such a label would be added at the point of return. It is envisioned that such a label could be electronically transmitted directly to a consumer who would attach it to the product being returned.
5. Digital Toe Tags. Such a label would be added to the product at the point of triage. It would record the diagnostic process and results. Since it is an adhesive label, there is no risk of the paperwork separating from the product during transition. Since it is optically scan-able it does not require power or the Internet.
As the QR Code Standard now supports up to 4000 characters of information, there is capacity for each label to include multiple applications. The applications will, of course, vary depending on the nature of the product.
SQRL codes are applicable to many different types of products. Consumer electronics are obvious hosts for SQRL codes. Home appliances, likewise, benefit from having access to delivering more information to consumers in a limited amount of real-estate.
The food and pharma industry will be able to manage product recalls. Food manufactures can optimize their limited labeling real-estate with recipes and coupons. They can detail information about allergens. Drug manufacturers can include links to drug contraindications.
Tools and machinery can include repair and maintenance information right on the product. It can even contain links to videos. MSDS safety sheets can be scan- able.
A SQRL code application consists of a collection of fields, that when combined address a specific problem or need. The list of Field Identifiers is dynamic. As applications are identified the appropriate fields will be added to enable the label to be utilized.
To date, a handful of applications have been defined. The following applications have developed templates that can serve as examples for the creation of labels: digital toe tags, consumer return fraud safeguards and consumer presales support. We are working on more.
1 Compliance and certifications are included in this category
RLA Standards Committee