Blogthng

Dominique Guinard,

Remember 2011? We do (vividly), because that is the very year we started this EVRYTHNG adventure. Back then, AWS, Google and Microsoft didn’t know what MQTT was, HTTP was a no-go for most device manufacturers, TLS communication with IoT devices was still seen as a nice-to-have and digital identities were only for humans.

I might not be totally objective, but I think it is fair to say that EVRYTHNG has been pushing innovation in the IoT since then. We built a platform on an architecture that has become a de-facto standard. With a handful of other researchers, we created and promoted the Web of Things principles (today an official W3C standard stream). And we were the world’s first to give billions of apparel and CPG items a digital identity.

Thanks to all of this, being the CTO of EVRYTHNG has been (and still is!) quite a ride! As the organization grew, we felt it was important to maintain our ability to innovate. Don’t get me wrong: innovation is at the heart of everything we do. However, as the company started to mature, innovation became more focused on iterative learnings with our customers and improving the product step by step, meaning there was a little less space to explore risky and ground breaking projects (like the Web of Things was back in the day). Hence, I am thrilled to announce the launch of a new team within EVRYTHNG. We call it the innovation team.

The team is composed of research engineers. They are not quite developers, not quite researchers, but somewhere in between. The goal of this new team is to identify key technologies that might influence the markets EVRYTHNG operates in. In particular, the innovation team builds what we call minimum viable prototypes as well as technical marketing assets and intellectual property around these ideas.

Recently the team identified the rise of Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), which we believe will be a game-changing technology in obvious domains such as metering, but also less obvious ones such as the supply chain. In this space, the team built bridges with a number of key LPWAN players (Sigfox, LoRa and Things Connected) and is finalizing support for TheThingsNetwork, while simultaneously turning the EVRYTHNG platform into the ideal IoT platform for LPWAN projects.

It is also the team responsible for our study of the potential and risks of blockchains in domains such as product provenance, supply chain and IoT more generally. This work led to the building of a first integration with the Bitcoin blockchain there is much more to come. Just like we want to play nice with all the major LPWAN players, we want to play nice with a number of blockchains that could add value to the use cases of the brands we work with.

Finally, the team is taking part in a large-scale research project. After working on the Compose EU project leading to the first official W3C submission for Web enabling Things (Web Thing Model), we are now working on a new exciting EU-funded project called TagItSmart. TagItSmart is looking at disrupting the packaging industry by transforming packages into sensors using special inks, variable QR codes and smart printed NFC tags.

The team did not stop there, and we are actively working on the next big things for IoT and for EVRYTHNG. So watch this space for some more innovation!

Niall Murphy,

GS1 Standards are used by more than one million companies on a daily basis around the world to identify consumer products for point of sale and supply chain applications, and to describe information about consumer products—a bedrock of the supply chain process. So we’re thrilled to announce our certification as a Solution Partner by GS1 US and the integration of EVRYTHNG’s Active Digital Identities™ with GS1 Standards. The integration means that any product using a GS1 identifier can now connect with a corresponding Active Digital Identity™ in the cloud. In addition, we’re announcing support for GS1 SmartSearch to boost the semantics of data EVRYTHNG manages about products as well as GS1 EPCIS vocabulary to allow interoperability of the supply chain actions recorded in the EVRYTHNG platform. For consumer brands around the world, the billions of existing GS1 identifiers deployed on consumer goods can now be used to web-enable their products, drive new digital applications and easily share product data between multiple applications and across organizations working with products during their lifecycle.

This first-ever implementation of GS1 identifiers, SmartSearch and EPCIS in a Web of Things framework reflects an important commitment to standards in EVRYTHNG’s technology strategy. As a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), we have been working in collaboration with a number of other organizations, including Mozilla, to bring standardization to how physical things are able to share data and drive applications via the World Wide Web using the Web of Things model our company was founded on. Now we’re joining the standards of the Web with the standards of physical product identity with GS1 Standards. Put together, product brands can now rapidly implement end-to-end digital lifecycle management for products, making supply chains smarter with insight and visibility, and establishing the capability to drive customer connections directly from products, direct-to-consumer experiences, product provenance and authentication.

Through our established partnerships with global packaging service providers, including Avery Dennison RBIS, Crown and WestRock, among others, EVRYTHNG is able to deploy digital identities at massive scale with billions of consumer products as they’re manufactured. The integration of Active Digital Identities™ and GS1 Standards makes this opportunity even more accessible to brands, providing the ability to integrate products across multiple production channels with a consistent means of identification on-product and a common data model and data management methodology in the cloud.

EVRYTHNG and Avery Dennison RBIS are applying this technology standardization to the Avery Dennison Janela™ solution, powered by the EVRYTHNG Smart Products Platform, which assigns unique identities to apparel and footwear products. The new, joined up capability for an RFID tag with a standard Electronic Product Code (EPC) to communicate with the Active Digital Identity™ in the cloud enables a wide range of consumer in-store applications. This allows for self-checkout, better product availability and omnichannel experiences across the consumer shopping journey to drive store traffic and unlock consumer analytics.

We’re already working with a number of the world’s leading consumer brands to apply these technologies in large scale supply chain and direct-to-consumer applications. It’s great to be at the forefront, and it’s exciting to see the potential and opportunity for digital transformation being realized.


EVRYTHNG will be demonstrating GS1 identifiers connecting with the Internet of Things at GS1 Connect 2017 (Booth #50) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, June 20-22.

Niall Murphy,

Today’s brands are no longer being measured against traditional competitors. They’re being measured against the very best companies in the world that are providing the types of experiences and services that consumers now demand from all brands, regardless of industry. That means that as a consumer goods company, your competition is no longer just the likes of Pepsi and Coke; you’re now competing against Apple and Amazon, too.

To survive in the context of changing consumer behavior and pressure from digitally-native companies, there is a strong need for businesses to digitize their supply chains. Seeking efficiency and agility, consumer product manufacturers are working to create a completely integrated ecosystem that enables real-time product visibility from factory to consumer.

Exploring this shift, including how companies are embracing digital and the challenges they face, EVRYTHNG conducted a Digital Supply Chain Benchmark poll among leading consumer product manufacturers at the Internet of Supply Chain Business Conference.

Key findings from the poll results include:

 

Of great importance, the biggest challenge companies currently face in their supply chains is integrating different systems across the network, which contributes to other big challenges: difficulty gaining timely access to data and poor visibility through the product lifecycle.

 

 

When asked what digital means for supply chains, the over-riding opportunity identified was visibility. Yet the poll also uncovered that the biggest area of weakness is real-time visibility.

 

 

The poll results suggest that this real-time visibility is most useful for gaining valuable consumer insights, as respondents indicated that the most important benefit of a digital supply chain is the ability to get closer connections with their customers, ranking this higher than enabling new business models, driving new revenue and cost savings, which are often enabled once a business has established closer connections with its customers. This poll data also shows that we’re beginning to see goal congruency in organizations, with the supply chain sharing the desires of sales and marketing to connect with the consumer.

 

 

Rather unsurprisingly, 39 percent of those surveyed said their supply chain was departmental,  pinpointing their progress at very beginning of the maturity spectrum.

This emphasizes a reality that the complexity of the global supply chain is amplified by the fact that many organizations operate in silos, and the breaking of these silos are often impossible or undesirable. Because this fragmented supply chain limits the access to (and value from) data, the addition of an augmentation layer across the organization is an answer.

As a whole, this benchmark poll indicates that although consumer goods companies understand the massive benefit of end-to-end visibility from manufacturer to consumer, they struggle with a lack of digital supply chain maturity and the complexity of legacy systems. These limitations often occur due to thinking that is point solution-oriented, departmental or vested in the capabilities of existing systems and landscapes.

Historically, it has been very difficult to address this problem. But today, with the emergence of smart products, it can be cost-effective, while leveraging existing infrastructure.

From shoes to jackets, from bottles of champagne to shaving foam, physical products can now exist in interconnected ecosystems, both physically and digitally, enabled by the web. Open web standards allow the interconnectivity of data, made accessible by the ubiquity of smartphones, granting access to data outside of IT systems and enterprise walls.

We can create the “digital twin” of a physical product that lives in the cloud, where that digital identity can capture data that is then managed and shared throughout its lifecycle. When products are connected to the web, their movements, status and whereabouts can all be managed by digital systems. This means that products can generate vast amounts of data for consumer goods companies, while also creating a new, direct channel to end-consumers. These smart products can tell you where they are and where they’re headed. They can tell you what they are made of, where they were made and by whom. They can tell you what condition they’re in and where they were purchased. All of this data becomes visible to all parties involved, shared throughout the entire lifecycle of the product.

Through the digital enablement of their products, consumer goods companies have a new opportunity to create a smart, connected supply chain, gaining the end-to-end visibility and real-time data that power greater efficiencies and stronger customer connections.

Learn more about the value of smart, connected supply chains.

Niall Murphy,

As sales growth in the consumer packaged goods market has declined to 3.4 percent (nearly half of what it was five years ago), large companies have been looking to mergers and acquisitions as their primary source of revenue growth, while overlooking the massive opportunity to digitize their physical products at scale to drive innovation and transformation.

Buying Innovation and Growth
Despite overall industry growth, large CPG firms are growing slower than the industry as a whole. Instead, the CPG industry is being led by smaller companies, with whom bigger brands are struggling to compete. Between 2011 and 2015, $18 billion in market share shifted away from large CPG companies to smaller industry players, and in 2015, 90 percent of the top 100 CPG brands lost market share. In that same year, mergers and acquisitions by the top 50 global consumer goods companies totaled $226 billion (more than the previous four years combined). Attempting to accelerate growth, many large companies are looking at mergers and acquisitions, paying top dollar for disruptive startups making an impressive splash in the CPG market. Instead of allocating more budget to innovation and research, many of the established companies are essentially buying their way to innovation by swallowing their smaller counterpart or investing in startups like meal-kit delivery services.

Getting Ahead of Disruption with Product Digitization
While M&A and VC investment offer a short-term gain for CPG companies, neither are a wise long-term growth strategy. Indeed, the speed at which a company’s core business degenerates will not be offset by investment or acquisition. In addition to investment and M&A, CPG should leverage their existing businesses to grow organically, enhance profitability and counteract the disruptors that are after their market share. In order to get ahead of disruption, consumer packaged goods companies should consider a massive, overlooked opportunity to digitally transform the very core of their business: their products.

The biggest lever big CPG brands have at their disposal is the sheer number of products they put into the market every day. It’s one of the major advantages these established companies have over the upstarts, and one they’ve yet to fully leverage. By bringing digital intelligence to their mass product offerings, consumer goods companies can enable their products to do more for them–unlocking new value throughout their lifecycle, both in the supply chain and in their sales and marketing efforts, to drive innovation and transformation.

When a product is given digital intelligence, it becomes more valuable to companies and consumers alike. A smart product is in a constant state of capturing and sharing data throughout its lifecycle. It is able to tell all end-users throughout its journey where it is, where it’s been, what it’s made from and who’s using it. It can be a direct channel for commerce and customer relationships, unlock new revenue models and drive operational efficiencies.

EVRYTHNG plays a role in the product digitization that is available today, helping consumer goods brands transform their physical products into smart, digital assets at scale, thanks to our strategic partnerships at the root of the supply chain with global packaging leaders. Through smart products and smart packaging technology, companies can trigger real-time applications such as direct-to-consumer, product authenticity and supply chain traceability.

Product digitization is a unique, transformative muscle that consumer goods companies can flex against the competition to continuously adapt in a rapidly changing business landscape. Since 2000, fifty-two percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 have disappeared; in the next ten years, forty percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies will face a similar fate.

History has taught us: It’s the businesses that constantly reinvent themselves that survive. And product digitization is the next big reinvention catalyst for consumer goods companies.

It is the art of the possible—at scale.

EVRYTHNG,

On June 7, EVRYTHNG co-Founder and CEO Niall Murphy spoke at the Stockholm Fashion Tech Talks about how smart products are set to transform the apparel industry.

The Internet of Things isn’t just about connected cars, home appliances or factory machinery. Indeed, digital enablement is coming to all products. Every physical thing from the bikes we rise to the beers we drink to the clothes we wear are coming to life digitally.

Futurist Bruce Sterling once said: “Why can’t I Google my shoes?” In fact, this vision is becoming a reality with digital capabilities being built into into everyday products like shoes and apparel at point of manufacture so that every item can now trigger and drive digital applications, with the ability to share its data via the Web with people, systems and apps.

Products that are part of the digital world unlock new business models. They connect to the systems and apps around you, like a jacket that gives you access to a club and then lets you control the music (you’re wearing the playlist!). They connect to wearables and other smart products for personalized experiences. And they communicate with in-store and distribution systems to enable mobile checkout, eradicate fraudulent returns and avoid stock-outs.

Imagine a world in which your t-shirt tells you its carbon footprint. Your sweater tells you how to recycle it. Your jacket lets you review it, and then shares that with your social networks. Your handbag lets you join a loyalty program and unlock celebrity content. Your football jersey is your ticket to the game and lets you pre-order halftime drinks with a special offer.

This is the future of #BornDigital products. And it’s available to us right now.

EVRYTHNG has partnered with Avery Dennison to build 10 billion #BornDigital smart products over the next three years, combining smart labels, apps and software in the cloud to make products part of the Web and change the nature of apparel products.

We’re working with innovative fashion brands to realize the vision of physical products with a digital layer of added value. The Rochambeau BRIGHT BMBR smart jacket is a collaboration between the New York fashion label, EVRYTHNG’s IoT Smart Products Platform, apparel labeling giant Avery Dennison and next-generation experiential retailers The New Stand that triggers VIP art, food, nightlife and retail experiences from clothing.

Apparel brands don’t need expensive, difficult new electronics to pull this off. All types of connectivity can be used, and often combined together. Physical triggers on or embedded into apparel (such as QR, NFC chips and RFID tags) connect to the clothing’s digital “cloud half” on the Web for software intelligence to power new applications. This means that any product can become a data-generating object that brings total visibility throughout their lifecycle and creates opportunity for ground-breaking new consumer experiences.

The brands doing this now are unlocking real-time insights not previously possible. As Kevin Plank, the founder and CE) of Under Armour, said: “Our belief is data is the new oil. You think it’s a coincidence Google or Amazon is who you’d bet on? The companies that win are those using math.” It’s time for apparel brands to act now, or be left on the shelf.

Because the future of fashion isn’t just about designing clothes with fabric; it’s also about designing smart, digital services and connected cloud capabilities that can be stitched in.

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