Skip to main content


Glossary of Reusable Packaging and Technology Terms

  1. Barcode:  An optical, machine-readable representation of data in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths; when scanned, the pattern relays information about a product.
  2. Blockchain:  A shared, digitized and public ledger in which transactions between users belonging to the same network are stored in a secure, verifiable and permanent way that cannot be changed once a transaction has been recorded and verified.
  3. Bluetooth, BLE:  Short-range wireless technology that is typically used to connect devices to each other, for example, connecting a smartphone to a Bluetooth headset or speaker and for connecting sensors to a gateway or cellular communication device.
  4. Cellular Communication Device:  A piece of hardware that contains a cellular radio to communicate with the cellular network to pass IoT data from an asset to the cloud. This device can be powered by battery or by a more permanent power source.
  5. Cellular Location Tracking:  Cellular-based location tracking which provides the latitude and longitude of an asset’s location. A device must have a cellular radio in it and uses its location with respect to the closest cellular towers. This technology tends to be less accurate innately than GPS but is more useful when assets will be located inside a warehouse, a truck trailer, or a train car.
  6. GPS Location Tracking:  Satellite-based location tracking which provides the latitude and longitude of an asset’s location. A device must have a GPS radio in it and must have line-of-sight to one or several satellites in orbit around the earth.
  7. Heat Transfer Labels:  A multicolor, preprinted graphic image applied to a film/carrier designed to be applied utilizing the “hot stamp” method of decoration.
  8. Hot-Stamping:  A dry product marking method applied directly to assets post-molding utilizing pressure and temperature to release foil pigments or pre-printed labels (Heat Transfer or Polyfuze Labels) from a film/carrier to a part creating a permanent graphic image or decoration.
  9. In-Mold Labeling (IML):  A process of decorating or labeling injection molded plastic parts or components during the plastic injection molding cycle.
  10. Internet of Things (IoT):  A network of physical objects like reusable packaging assets each equipped with a unique identifier and internet connectivity that allows for the communication and transfer of data between objects and other internet-enabled devices.
  11. Labeling:  Printed information that is produced during the manufacturing process or temporarily affixed to an asset through adhesive backing or other physical containment means.
  12. Mobile Application:  An application on a smartphone or tablet that has been specifically developed in order to view and analyze IoT data collected by sensors on a particular asset. Mobile applications can be used instead of or in conjunction with a Portal. Mobile applications are highly customized and can provide a better customer experience than a Portal when someone needs IoT data while working in the field.
  13. Network – 5G:  The fifth generation of cellular mobile communications succeeding today’s 4G LTE mobile networks and enabling higher speed and responsiveness of wireless communications.
  14. Network – NB-IoT:  Also known as “Narrowband IoT;” A Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed to enable a wide range of cellular devices and services focusing on indoor coverage, low cost, long battery life, and high connection density.
  15. Network – LTE-M:  Also known as “Long Term Evolution for Machines;” A Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) supporting IoT through lower device complexity and extended coverage.
  16. Portal:  A desktop/tablet/smartphone internet site where customers can see the location and other IoT information about their assets which was collected by the sensors and devices on those assets. Portals can also be used to communicate with devices to make changes in how often they collect data and report it back to the cloud.
  17. Reporting Frequency:  With IoT, since a cellular device can communicate constantly with the network, a period of time needs to be defined for sensors and devices to report data to the cloud that makes the most sense for each particular use case. Devices can gather data from sensors at one time interval and store it until the next scheduled time to transmit that data to the cloud. Reporting frequency can have an impact on battery life, amount of data usage, and ultimately cost, so tradeoffs for more vs less frequent reporting need to be considered based on the valuable actions that can be taken based on the data for that particular use case.
  18. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification):  A form of wireless communication that incorporates the use of electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically-stored information.
  19. RFID Active:  A RFID tag having an internal power source such as a battery and a transmitter to send signals of data to a base reader.
  20. RFID Passive:  A RFID tag without its own power source or battery that draws power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current in the tag's antenna.
  21. Sensors:  An electronic component that detects information about its environment, such as temperature, humidity, movement, etc. Sensors can be integrated into the Communication Device or can be separate from it but connected to it by a wireless technology such as Bluetooth or by a wired connection.
  22. Wi-Fi:  A local area wireless technology that can be valuable as an addition to cellular communication. Wi-Fi can be free from a monthly data usage perspective but requires resources and capital to manage the network and security on an ongoing basis. Wi-Fi in a Communication Device can contribute an additional level of location accuracy by taking advantage of wireless signals inside of buildings.