The New Standard for Instant Access to Information

February 07, 2023

By Amanda Ross, copywriter & content producer 

In a recent webinar, GS1 Digital Link: Preparing for the Product Digitization Boom, Digimarc’s Dom Guinard, co-chair of the GS1 Digital Link standard, and Gena Morgan, Vice President of Standards at GS1 US, discussed the standard and the way it has shifted how brand and retailers think about product identification.

“GS1’s journey in bringing together companies to solve shared supply chain challenges began over 50 years ago. And the problem at the time was efficiency at checkout,” Morgan stated, as she discussed the beginnings of what would become the GS1 Digital Link. She addressed current challenges businesses face, including the consumer demand to know where the food they buy comes from, to connect to promotions, link to social media campaigns, and more.

“More and more consumers are using their smartphones to access information as they shop ... but they want easier access to this information,” Morgan said. “And they want to know they are accessing information they can trust. We envision a future where the consumer doesn’t have to ask, ‘Do I need an app for this symbol?’... ‘How do I know which one has information I want or need?’.” Morgan added that the goal of the GS1 Digital Link is to offer the information consumers crave with a simple scan of a smartphone.

After addressing the specifics of how the GS1 Digital Link works, the speakers then discussed use cases.

“It’s a small but mighty innovation that basically turns the good, old GTIN, which consumers couldn’t really do anything with, into something they can interact with directly,” said Guinard. He emphasized Morgan’s point about consumers’ desire for more connectivity with their packaging, and stated that GS1 Digital Link can help brands:

  • Create a direct consumer communication channel

  • Increase supply chain connectivity

  • Meet regulatory requirements, such as the EU Digital Product Passport and the Food Safety Modernization Act

  • Provide detailed product information to foster consumer interest and loyalty

The experts further explained requirements of the EU Digital Product Passport, which will require several industries across Europe to have a digital identity that’s accessible by consumers by 2024.

Additionally, they discussed Sunrise 2027, GS1 US’s initiative to move “industry toward enabling and turning on 2D capabilities at retail point of sale” by 2027. This initiative would add the capability for retailers to read and process a 2D barcode, such as QR or Data Matrix codes, along with the current 1D UPC/EAN barcode.

Catch the recording of the webinar, GS1 Digital Link: Preparing for the Product Digitization Boom, and learn more about GS1 Digital Link and its capabilities.

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