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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Digital Design

Augmented reality (AR) technology is quickly transforming into a mainstream method of engaging and informing customers and patients in the pharmaceutical packing industry. The integration of AR into the packaging of medications not only makes manufacturers stand out from the competition, but the technology is distinguishing itself as a necessity for successfully, effectively and profitably competing in a traditionally conservative and still highly regulated industry.

Today, leading pharma manufacturers are quickly adopting AR technology into their businesses to keep pace with the market and set themselves up for continued success in an evolving sector.

What is Augmented Reality?

AR is a technology that makes the interplay between a real world environment and virtual reality possible, creating a more meaningful, educational and interactive experience for the user. This technology works by layering digital enhancements over the top of an existing real life image or situation.

The emergence of AR is having a significant impact on the industry by providing an improved visualised version of packaging in the real world; manufacturers are able to simulate 3D models of their packaging designs through their smartphone or tablet. This technology also facilitates informed decision-making when it comes to product design and in-store placement. The digital product eliminates any questions or hesitancies by giving users the power to see the finished item before manufacturing and ordering. Informed decision-making and the ability to test before purchasing ultimately increases customer satisfaction and boosts revenues through sales made with complete confidence.

This capability to seamlessly incorporate powerful digital technology into real life settings changes and improves the business landscape of pharma packaging manufacturers in a number of key ways, such as those outlined below.

Reducing Costs

Because AR makes it possible to preview pharma packaging in a digital context layered over real life settings, it eliminates the need for costly samples that, in the past, were required in order to ensure the integrity, design and layout of labelling and packaging for pharmaceuticals. Manufacturers who use AR can now see an exact replica of the finished product without having to pay for costly printing, editing and prototypes. By reducing such costs, pharma packaging manufacturers can build the savings into their own bottom line, or allocate the funds elsewhere to grow and profit in other areas of their business.

Streamlining Review and Approval
Due to strict regulations and requirements present in the pharma industry, ensuring that packaging contains all the necessary information is vital, but can also be quite timeconsuming to swiftly move from concept and creation, to approval and implementation. With AR, it is simple and seamless to create samples and easily present them for review and approval. By using AR technology, packaging manufacturers can save a significant amount of time by creating real life representations of packaging, labels and displays that are to scale and can be easily changed and modified much faster.

AR technology makes it possible to move from the prototype phase to complete iteration of a concept in a swifter and more precise manner. By being able to quickly and easily tweak designs to perfection, and visualise the final packaging with exactness and specificity for its use, a manufacturing company can be certain that their final product will be correct and compliant. The time saved in this process will help manufacturers move not only more quickly, but more confidently in sending designs to production. This means that they can create more products in less time, and be more efficient and profitable.

Improving the Sales Experience
AR is a powerful tool for an organisationís sales representatives, who are responsible for securing new business in the pharma packaging industry. Armed with AR, members of the sales force can create meaningful, memorable and customised experiences for the potential customers they meet with, and ultimately secure more loyal business.

Sales people who call upon prospective partners or work at tradeshow booths can easily demonstrate packaging offerings and products in an impressive and compelling way with AR. By simply using their smartphone or tablet, they can use pictures of an interested clientís display space or packaging size requirements, and showcase all their design options in a very personal and customised experience. They can show options, make modifications on the fly, and gain the interest and trust of new partners by making their ideas come to life on their very own backdrops. This helps gain new business with more ease, because a future customer can see exactly what they would be purchasing and implementing without leaving anything up to the imagination.

Ideas improperly imagined can lead to hesitations and objections that stall or end the sales process entirely at times. With AR, manufacturers of pharma packaging can engage, delight and lock in more business, making a memorable experience and amplifying results and new business brought in.

Benefits of Integration

Integrating AR into pharma packaging strategies generates several very distinct benefits, from the manufacturer all the way to the end consumer Ė the patient. These advantages include higher patient engagement, more seamless information conveyance and compliance, and larger profits reaped through impressed, confident and loyal customers.

Patient Engagement
AR technology is highly engaging and adds an element of interaction to pharma packaging that has never before been so easily achievable. In the past, leaders in the sector recognised the value of patient engagement and began using QR codes that people could scan with their smartphones to learn more about their medication. However, AR takes interaction to a much more impressive level by allowing patients to scan or photograph product packaging and enter a completely interactive environment, where they can learn about products they use through videos and tutorials to gain advice about their medications.

Patient engagement builds brand recognition; so by using AR to enrich the experience patients have with the packaging, pharma manufacturers can aid their customers in fostering a strong brand people trust, and will look to time and again for their future medical needs.

Information Conveyance and Compliance
One of the challenges in the pharma packaging business is making certain that the packaging contains all the information, warnings and instructions required by the regulators overseeing the pharma industry. In the past, in order to achieve compliance and properly convey all the needed details, manufacturers were limited in their design creativity and innovation simply because there was not much space left over after including all the required information.

AR changes this by making it possible for patients to scan packaging with their phones, and go to an interactive setting where they have all the information about their medications and much more. This not only provides a more engaging experience for the patient, but also frees up valuable space on the packaging where manufacturers and their customers can be more creative in their designs.

Impress Customers and Increase Profits
AR technology enriches the entire spectrum of packaging procurement interactions that happen between the customer and their chosen manufacturer. AR can provide a vision of what products will look like, which impresses customers and softens or eliminates any objections they might raise concerning the look, feel, and message of the finished product. This technology helps simplify and amplify the sales process, and supports growth through securing loyal, satisfied customers.

How to get started with AR?

Today, there are a number of platforms available, including AR glasses and mobile devices from which augmented reality content can be accessed. In the last decade, mobile technology improvements in built-in cameras, sensors and computational resources, as well as the power of cloud-sourced information, have made AR possible on mobile devices. The use of mobile and tablet devices to access AR content is arguably the most common method currently utilised.

AR is still a relatively new technology being embraced in the pharma packaging manufacturing industry, but it is positioned to grow into a mainstream necessity as consumers have greater opportunities to experience the enriched cohesion of digital reality and their own real life environments. The impact AR can have for manufacturers, their customers and the end consumer are amassing quickly, and the technology benefits the pharma packaging industry on every level. Companies who implement AR are likely to position themselves for success by being more competitive, relevant and profitable.

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Lindsay Boyajian is the Head of Marketing at Augment based in Paris. Previously, she was a research analyst at Metamorphic Ventures in New York. Early in her career, Lindsay founded Wearever You Go, a startup at the convergence of digital media and online retail. She led Wearever through GE/ OMDís New York accelerator and has been featured in Mashable and Lindsay completed a dual Masterís degree from Cornell in Industrial and Labor Relations and from Ecole Supťrieure de Commerce de Paris in Management. She earned a BSc from Cornellís School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Lindsay Boyajian
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