Blogthng

Author Dominique Guinard (Co-founder and CTO)
Contributing Author Joël Vogt (Research Engineer)
Published

After integrating with Sigfox and Things Connected we are now delighted to announce our partnership with The Things Network (TTN), the blazingly fast-growing, community-driven LPWAN provider. Just like Things Connected and Sigfox, The Things Network offers low-power connectivity for devices. As of today, users of The Things Network can seamlessly manage their devices in the EVRYTHNG cloud platform.

Where does LPWAN fit in?
You might wonder: why haven’t we seen more Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives to monitor our environment or supply chains? Key to building IoT applications is easy access to wireless network connectivity. In the smart home, protocols such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are readily available, but for other deployments such as those in rural areas or along the supply chain, you cannot easily rely on a WiFi or Bluetooth network. And even if you could, the power consumption of such protocols might be a no-go for devices needing to run for months or years on a single battery.

All of this is rapidly changing thanks to Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) such as Sigfox, NB-IOT and LoRa. Within this LPWAN space, a quiet revolution is taking place to democratize LPWAN connectivity and unleash a wave of citizen-driven IoT innovations.

While LPWAN technologies are a good fit for monitoring our environment or pallets and containers along the supply chain, it is also worth noting that LPWAN technologies are also increasingly being used to deploy devices in smart homes and buildings, replacing for instance SIM card-based (3G) smart meters. While they do not support data intensive applications, their advantage over technologies such as WiFi or Bluetooth is that they require no configuration: just drop the device, start it, and it connects to the nearest LPWAN gateway!

The Things Network and its thousands of crowd-sourced gateways worldwide.

About The Things Network
The Things Network is a community-based, global initiative to provide free LPWAN coverage over LoRa. As of July 2017, The Things Network already spans 20,947 communities in 89 countries, with thousands of gateways providing LPWAN access across the world. LoRaWAN coverage is entirely crowdsourced. Members also contribute by providing support or through software development.

We are thrilled that EVRYTHNG is now an official partner of The Things Network. Being at the forefront of the IoT community and technology, we already installed our first The Things Network LoRa gateway in our London office, and our New York office is next!

The Things Network gateway alive and kicking in the EVRYTHNG London office.

We have developed a dedicated service to seamlessly integrate a device connected to The Things Network to the EVRYTHNG cloud, meaning that you can now also power the identity, intelligence and analytics of your TTN devices via the EVRYTHNG IoT Smart Products Platform.

The Things Network gateway gets a digital identity and web API on the EVRYTHNG platform.

Getting Started
If you already have an account with The Things Network, we encourage you to give our integration a try (through our free tier) for your next prototypes. You’ll find a short technical how-to at https://developers.evrythng.com/docs/the-things-network.

Thanks to its increasing coverage, we are seeing more and more commercial applications now using The Thing Network. Please get in touch with us to see how this technology could help your next smart supply chain or smart home project.

Author Niall Murphy
Published

The rise of Internet of Things technology presents a new opportunity for consumer product manufacturers to digitally-enable their physical products, making them trackable, interactive and “smart.” All everyday items, from t-shirts to boxes of cereal, can now be web-connected with a unique digital identity stored in the cloud. These smart products have the ability to generate and respond to real-time data throughout their lifecycle, which can be used to drive cost efficiencies, develop better consumer engagement and create new revenue streams.

This digitization of physical products allows for the seamless flow of data across the entire enterprise, breaking down silos and connecting the dots between the disparate stages of the supply chain management and customer relationship management process. All of this real-time data can then be used to improve each phase of a product’s lifecycle.

 

 

In our new eBook, we introduce the concept of the Digital Product Lifecycle and demonstrate how brands are using smart products to create value—from supply traceability, product authenticity and stock optimization to in-store marketing and loyalty programs.

As connectivity transforms consumer goods, smart products and the real-time data they generate will no longer be just a possibility—they’ll be a competitive imperative.

Download The Digital Product Lifecycle eBook to learn more.

Author Iker Larizgoitia Abad
Published

Since its founding, EVRYTHNG has been actively involved in European R&D as a partner in innovative projects under the European research framework program. This has given rise to a number of initiatives, including the Web Thing Model proposal, the basis of the W3C Web of Things work, from EVRYTHNG and the partners of the COMPOSE European Project.

Recently, as part of the Horizon 2020 EU research program, EVRYTHNG and 14 other entities were awarded a grant to explore the use of functional inks and printed NFC tags with sensoring capabilities to create SmartTags. This research project, called TagItSmart, seeks to understand how these tags will revolutionize product lifecycle management in FMCG.

What Is TagItSmart
The TagItSmart project is a collaborative effort among 15 partners from across Europe, all with a strong background in both research and Internet of Things market and applications.

In a nutshell, TagItSmart is a Smart Tags-driven service platform for enabling ecosystems of connected objects, with a focus on a category of goods that seems to escape the tendency toward full individuating at item-level: fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

While barcodes identify types of products, they don’t identify individual items. NFC (Near Field Communication) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) solutions are gaining traction throughout the value chain, but they are still expensive for FMCG items. Therefore, TagItSmart is looking into the use of dynamic QR codes—which are printed on the product items and that change according to selected environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, humidity, intensity of lights), potentially enhanced with printed NFC tags and sensors.

Using these codes, we are able to create a value model that allows all stakeholders—from factory to recycling, from producer to individual customer—to not only track and trace any item in the process, but also to provide additional information about the item that can be of use for other stakeholders. This includes giving individual feedback to a producer, requesting a new product based on individual taste and alerting retailers and producers that an item is close to its best before date or that it’s being disposed of (in a recycling bin) as it should.

Building an Ecosystem Around SmartTags
The EVRYTHNG IoT Smart Products Platform is being used to pilot different use cases that explore the creation of an ecosystem around these SmartTags and the lifecycle of products. In our participation with TagItSmart, we are anticipating the full effect of all FMCG being individually addressable and enhanced with affordable sensoring tags, and we are interested in building a large ecosystem, spanning a diverse set of sectors and application domains.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the key enabler in this: the IoT and the circular economy are both about a complete system reinvention, and they are both about smart, informed management of assets. Pioneering companies used circular design well before the digital era, but now with the use of IoT technology, the game changes entirely: it creates the data- and feedback-rich systems that allow circular designs and business models to thrive.

If you want to learn more about the TagItSmart research project, please visit tagitsmart.eu, follow @TagItSmart on Twitter or join the LinkedIn group.

Author Ryan McManus
Published

A recent study shows that consumers care greatly about transparency in food products, with 70 percent of respondents saying that their purchases are influenced by transparency content. As shopper demand for product information grows, innovative transparency initiatives are becoming increasing important for leading food and beverage brands.

Right now, hundreds of consumer goods brands are participating in the SmartLabel™ program to increase transparency by providing consumers with easy access to product information. This transparency initiative currently offers consumers detailed product information about more than 9,000 food, beverage, household, pet care and personal care products through the simple act of scanning a QR code on the product packaging.

Through our newly announced capability, the EVRYTHNG Internet of Things Smart Products Platform now supports SmartLabel™ solutions, and offers advanced, long-term value by allowing brands to rapidly web-enable their products at scale. With this new capability, we’re able to connect the on-pack triggers to Active Digital Identities™ in the cloud to deliver product information via the SmartLabel™ program, and at the same time capture real-time data and drive digital product lifecycle management capabilities.

This capability allows brands to maximize valuable on-pack real estate by turning their products into smart, digital assets. By giving a physical good a digital identity in the cloud, that product is able to bring new value to brands by delivering richer applications across all aspects of its lifecycle, including supply traceability, retail, direct-to-consumer experiences and sustainability, all while offering even greater transparency around their products and forming direct relationships with their customers.

Through EVRYTHNG’s support of SmartLabel™, consumers who scan a SmartLabel™ QR code have the new ability to gain access to far more product information and applications. With these consumer-product interactions, brands are provided access to accurate, first-party data that they can then leverage to drive supply chain efficiencies, innovation and growth.

By linking an industry-leading transparency initiative to our Internet of Things Smart Products Platform, we’re making it even easier for consumer goods brands to digitize products at scale—making their supply chains smarter and building more valuable customer connections.

Author Niall Murphy
Published

Despite various ad industry experts denouncing QR codes over the last few years, with the likes of Ad Age branding them “history” in 2013, the outlook looks a lot different today.

Consumer engagement with QR codes has actually been on the rise, with statistics showing a steady increase in scanning among US internet users over the last four years. And recent developments from mobile operating systems and social networks offer plenty of evidence that QR codes won’t be going away anytime soon—quite the contrary, in fact.

In June, Apple unveiled its soon-to-be-released iOS 11, which will include automated QR code recognition natively in the Camera app, meaning that all consumers have to do is point their phones and tap. The announcement followed news from Google earlier in the year around the roll-out of its built-in QR code scanning functionality in the Chrome mobile web browser, allowing consumers to easily scan codes without the need for a third-party app.

While the new features may not seem like breakthroughs, these steps to remove friction in the scanning process lay the groundwork for a substantial increase in Western consumer engagement with QR codes—just as the technology has taken off in China thanks largely to the domination of mobile app WeChat and its nearly 1 billion monthly active users.

In fact, it was WeChat’s code-scanning camera that inspired Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel to reimagine the QR code for his social network. In 2015, Snapchat launched Snapcodes, allowing users to add friends by scanning them with the app’s camera. The company went on to further their use throughout the platform, letting users scan a Snapcode to unlock filters and animated lenses or to open a Discover channel. In the last year, Snapchat has launched the capability for users to create a Snapcode linking to any website of their choice so that scanning within Snapchat opens a mobile website without needing to leave the app. As WIRED reports, users have taken to the added features, scanning 8 million codes per day.

Facebook, too, has been integrating QR codes into its user experience. Not only does the social network’s Messenger feature have a QR code option for adding users, but according to TechCrunch, Facebook is currently testing a “Rewards” feature that allows app users to scan personalized QR codes to access discounts or offers when shopping in-person. And more recently, Spotify has taken advantage of QR code technology to launch a new experience called Spotify Codes, which was quietly introduced on the app in April this year and offers a new way for users to instantly stream music or share songs with friends nearby.

As mobile operating systems make it easier for consumers to scan QR codes, it will be these social codes that educate consumers and make the act of scanning a natural behavior.

The growing ubiquity of QR codes opens up a world of possibilities for brands, especially around transparency, as the Grocery Manufacturing Association has demonstrated with the SmartLabel initiative. Through a QR code, a brand can establish a direct connection with end-consumers, easily delivering product information, personalized experiences and exclusive content. Taking it one step further, by linking an on-pack trigger with a unique software identity in the cloud for each product, businesses can leverage that consumer interaction to access valuable data and insights, all while powering additional digital product lifecycle applications, including supply chain traceability, direct-to-consumer and more.

As QR codes continue to catch on in the West, brands will be given greater abilities to establish direct customer relationships and drive new digital applications. Watch this space.

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