The year of the pandemic has changed the way people use e-commerce – online shopping figures have scaled new pinnacles, meaning there is an abundance of packaging waste ending up in landfills. Cardboard has its own merits as a packaging material but the amount of waste it generates is inseparable. Thankfully then, there is a Berlin-based brand dubbed LivingPackets, which has conceived an ingenious solution to minimize waste associated with shipping.
The company has designed an alternative to cardboard boxes and it’s simply called ‘The Box.’ Four years in development, it was again revealed at the CES 2021 with some improvements. The Box is a sustainable option for the e-commerce industry and can allegedly be used to ship up to 1000 times. In contrast, cardboard boxes have a single life from point of packaging to the point of delivery. If the municipality at the location of delivery recycles, the cardboard gets a new lease of life; else it goes waste and injures the environment. In addition to the sustainability aspect, the neatly designed ‘Box’ is equivalent to approximately two shoe boxes and it can be used to ship a large number of commodities. Interestingly, the Box can even fold flat to ship important documents or a laptop. Traditionally sending an important paper by mail/courier is not at all safe – you cannot be sure how it’s being handled on the way – and you have to rely simply on the logistics company’s tracking mechanism to know where your parcel has reached.
The Box is going to revolutionize this when it is mass-produced toward May this year. The inventive box comes embedded with GPS to allow the sender/receiver to track the package from point A to B and everywhere in between in real-time using a dedicated app on a smart device. Simply place the item inside the Box, close it, enter the destination, and the onboard e-ink display will double as a traditional print label to update its journey status.
LivingPackets’ Box is currently in beta testing with partner companies, which include e-commerce stores, logistics, and even insurance companies. To ensure the commodity in the package is safe – not just because it is trackable – also safe in transit, the Box features temperature and shock sensors. There is also a provision to include a camera inside in the future, which would allow people to keep an eye on the product they’re shipping within the Box packaging.
Since this packaging solution seems too good to be true, most of us would instantly count it out for being expensive and for the elite only. However, the environmentally friendly and innovative Box is pretty affordable, in fact, the company wants to keep the costs as low as traditional cardboard packaging. At the end of the life cycle, the Box will be repaired and refurbished to “be used additional 1000 times” LivingPackets claims. Proposing to eliminate up to 90-percent of carbon dioxide emissions, the Box has a holding mechanism within, which means not just the cardboard is replaced, the air-filled bubbled plastic, Styrofoam, etc. used to secure products inside the packaging box are also eliminated. Now that’s fab – I can’t wait to see this new package land at my doorsteps one fine morning!
Launched as a part of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event running simultaneously with the CES 2021 showcase, the Galaxy SmartTags are Samsung’s take on object-trackers and are the company’s way of showing their intention of capturing the tracker market before Apple launches their own speculated ‘AirTags’. The Galaxy SmartTag is a tiny tracker that runs on BLE and works exclusively with Samsung Galaxy phones (a pretty strong ecosystem lock-in), allowing the phone and tracker to play their version of hot-and-cold to locate each other. In short, a proximity meter appears on the Samsung phone and the closer you approach the tracker, the higher the reading on the meter.
The Galaxy Tag runs on BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and fits on your keychain, in your wallet, or even in your laptop bag. It pairs with the smartphone via Samsung’s SmartThings app, which can show its last known location on a map as well as the proximity meter when you’re actively searching for the tag. Conversely, you can make the tag emit a beep or chime too, to help give you a sense of direction. The Galaxy SmartTags are no different from the Tile or Chipolo trackers in their functionality (although they do look slightly thicker in the image). Strangely enough, they’re only compatible with Samsung Galaxy devices, and whether that’s a decision to the benefit or detriment of Samsung will only be evident when the $29.99 tracker begins shipping on the 29th of January. Your move next, Apple!