Writing in its international patent, Coca-Cola said its system could read low-resolution, multi-character pin codes on bottle caps and cartons. The beverage major initially filed a US patent in February last year, but was now filing for a worldwide patent.
Coca-Cola's mobile rewards app that the patent relates to launched onto market last year.
Providing 'commercially reliable results'
The company said conventional optical character recognition (OCR) systems did “not provide commercially reliable results”, often failing to read entire codes due to poor camera resolution, light and shadow issues, or even beverage stains covering portions of the code.
As a result, many food and beverage marketers were unwilling to trust and invest in existing systems, it said, because it risked negative consumer feedback.
Coca-Cola said its system enabled consumers to manually add in any characters that had not scanned properly, either through typing or speaking. Importantly, it was able to read and recognize codes printed in various formats, across numerous lines or compacted, for example. This information, combined with any consumer feedback or input, was then sent to a neural network that could be “trained in an active learning mode to improve future image processing”.
The smart neural network could then be downloaded to local servers or to the mobile devices of participating consumers to simplify future scanning.
The future of packaging?
According to Tetra Pak, interactive packaging that includes code and data capture was the future, particularly for Latin America.
Alexandre de Souza Carvalho, global marketing services director at Tetra Pak, previously told FoodNavigator-LATAM that consumers in this region were increasingly technologically connected and open to brand engagement through packaging.
“The big trend now is to have unique codes on packaging. You have the QR codes and data matrix codes that go beyond the bar code, but the new thing is to have unique codes because this can drive and really create completely new experiences for consumers,” Carvalho said.
Linking the scans with apps, for example, opened up “new possibilities” for food and beverage brands looking to run campaigns or provide consumers with alternative prizes or points they can spend elsewhere, he said.
Coca-Cola recently announced a US$1.2billion investment in Argentina to upgrade production facilities and construct new production lines between 2019-2021.
Source: WIPO International Patent No. 2018152304
Published: August 23, 2018. Filed: February 15, 2018.
Title: “System and method for character recognition model and recursive training from end user input”
Author: The Coca-Cola Company – PW. Brandt