Talking Hi-Tech Trends

IPL’s Glen Broomberg, Head of Global Business Development, discusses the boundary breaking innovations at this year’s CES show and how these can impact tomorrow’s packaging.


For the last 3 years I’ve attended the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. I always find it extremely worthwhile …a fascinating peek into what the future looks like for the world’s consumer! Additionally, with leading tech customers in our stable, we’re continually looking for a better understanding of our client’s needs.


For those unfamiliar with CES, it is the world’s largest (and arguably most impressive) gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Running for 3 days every January the show serves as a ‘proving ground’ for innovators and breakthrough technologies.


I have to agree with the Robb Report that states that this year’s show was almost  ‘less about innovation and more about restoration’. Traditionally premium brands have Perhaps because big name brands spoke about their desire to ‘bring people together,’ unveiling products that promised to make life easier, happier, and less chaotic. Buzzwords like ‘connectivity’ and ‘self-care’ resonated throughout the 3-day event. I think this has a direct tie-in to sustainability and our need for a renewed focus on creating a circular economy both from a packaging and product perspective.


Sustainability was a common thread at this CES 2020. From improving energy efficiency to responsible recycling, more than 200 companies on the show floor had exhibitions focused on sustainable innovation.  This is not surprising given that recent surveys show that consumer preference for businesses that express purpose and engrain sustainability into their supply chains is at an all-time high. Whilst the trickle-down from this into the packaging sector was not yet evident at the event, it was heartening how many companies have this firmly fixed on their radar.


From a technological perspective, and from a packaging point of view, the 3D printing and modeling hall featured some remarkable evolutions and showcased remarkably speedier processes to produce these. The section on print technology (an area we’re already seeing evolve at an enormously rapid pace) was fascinating.


‘Exercise Tech’ and ‘Digital Health’ continue to be hot trends and I predict we will see growing demand for packaging in these sectors. Everything from exercise equipment to sleep enhancing tools are on display and the technological advancements in personal monitoring of health and exercise is really a remarkable segment of the show. It’s obvious from this that there is widening global awareness of health and wellbeing and a focus for many of the well known global brands to develop products within this realm.


Globally there is also evidence of how important packaging has become and on the stands that supply product into the public sector, either via retail or e commerce, there is a marked trend to enhancing their in market offering for clients, with packaging definitely being more premium. Plastic packaging was not prevalent and rigid board and other mediums were certainly being showcased.


With that said, I can safely attest that the majority of the products exhibited at CES were produced not only with today’s needs in mind but also considering the values we need to invest in, in the future, particularly the environment. By looking at the functionality of the products, their design and their contribution to humanity and nature, it is noteworthy that the technology world has reached a certain consistency in technology and product development.


From an IPL Packaging perspective, the show offers some wonderful insight into new spaces and fascinating possibilities. Seeing how technology companies are working to improve energy efficiency, responsible recycling and sustainable materials management is key to our focus and only furthers our strategic priority to incorporate sustainable technology, practices and materials into all aspects of the IPL Packaging design, development and delivery process.