Blogthng

Author Dominique Guinard (CTO & Co-founder)
Published

We are very excited to announce the ratification of the GS1 Digital Link standard (aka GS1 Web URI), a simple but game changing revolution for the trillions of barcode enabled products across the world. In short, the GS1 Digital Link upgrades barcodes to: 1) be scannable out-of-the-box by consumer phones; 2) be seamlessly connected to the Web by embedding Web addresses instead of just numbers; and 3) ensures there is one standard barcode to address any application vs. a proliferation of barcodes for different applications.

Now is the time for every thing to get connected to the Web! We co-chaired the GS1 Standards Development Work Group that defined this new specification and look forward to sharing more detail in this blog.

At EVRYTHNG we are firm believers in the power of standards: global standards are hands-down one of the best ways to proliferate game-changing innovation at mass scale. Those following EVRYTHNG might recall that in 2015 we contributed the very first draft of the Web of Things standard at W3C which was used as a basis for the upcoming W3C WoT standard. Since then this standard has been widely adopted by big players including, Mozilla.

While the W3C WoT standard allows devices to seamlessly connect to the Web, it overlooks the vast majority of “things” in the IoT — things or products that are not devices such as, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and apparel products.

Consumer product brands are at the core of what the EVRYTHNG IoT platform supports. Our very first application back in 2012 was about giving whiskey bottles a unique digital identity on the Web to allow digital gifting. Since then we have connected close to a billion serialized CPG and apparel products to the Web. And while this is all great — in order to facilitate mass scale adoption — we needed to move beyond an EVRYTHNG proprietary innovation to an open standard. Thus our leading the charge with GS1 to create a new standard allowing every unique product to automatically connect to the Web with a digital identity.

GS1 is the global standards organization responsible for the trillions of barcodes seen on the products we use every day. As a GS1 Solutions Provider, we decided it was time to approach the standards organization with our idea to create a new standard to support Web-based digital identities for everyday consumer products. Thankfully we were greeted with agreement and in turn, were asked to co-chair the working group that developed the new standard. Fast forward a year, dozens of working sessions, prototypes, field tests and we are very happy to announce that the GS1 Digital Link standard has been ratified!

Reading this blog, you are either already one foot out the door on your way to implement GS1 Digital Link for your next product release or you are scratching your head wondering what’s all the hype?

Either which way, I’d like to provide a little more context. To start, please meet a GS1 barcode as it appears on trillions of products, scanned 5 billion times a day.

This barcode has been providing great services to supply chains across industries for 44 years but in the age of IoT, it has two major shortcomings: it is not scannable nor understandable by billions of consumer phones.

Specifically, mobile phones cannot decode 1D barcodes without installing a special app. However, they can widely read QR codes. As an example, since iOS 11 was released all iOS devices can decode QR codes using the default camera application — meaning GS1 standard identifiers can be adapted to 2D barcodes such a the QR code.

This said even while able to scan GS1 compliant (QR) codes, readers still can’t understand what’s encoded in the code. In other words: they have no idea what to do with the series of numbers it contains (usually known as a GTIN in the GS1 world). How do I get authoritative content and services for this code? The new GS1 Digital Link standard resolves this issue by turning all the information contained in the code (and more) into a Web address or URL (aka Web URI). This is truly game-changing because mobile phones and literally every software client in the world, support URLs and know how to use them to access content.

Putting it all together, please meet a GS1 Digital Link Web URI:

Which can be encoded in an on-pack QR code:

Now, go ahead and scan this, either using your iOS camera app or any other QR code reading app on your phone. This will redirect you to a Web experience chosen by the brand. The brand has dozens of options ranging from the provenance of the product, allergy information to rewards, and more.

Brands can also choose to create static redirections or they can make them fully dynamic linked to a specific context (e.g., user demographic, location, time, etc.) using EVRYTHNG’s patented Redirector technology.

This allows consumer product brands to deliver relevant content directly to consumers via a single standards-based code serving multiple applications rather than individual proprietary codes for each application. The power of GS1 Digital Link doesn’t stop here. The new standard also has the power to replace the well-known 1D barcode as more and more Point of Sales (POS) vendors and supply chain partners begin to support it. We are already working with a number of POS vendors and supply chain partners to test this upgrade and will keep you posted. In the meantime, have a look at our detailed whitepaper to understand the full power and structure of the Digital Link.

In Summary: A New Digital Ecosystem
The new GS1 Digital Link standard works with a 2D barcode (e.g., QR code) or NFC tag on packs or labels. Now, every product can have its own digital identity and Web address, upgrading the traditional 1D barcode used on trillions of products for point-of-sale with the new ability to support smartphone interaction, supply chain tracking, authentication and many other applications. EVRYTHNG’s IoT platform, in combination with GS1 Digital Link, make it possible for any product to very simply deliver dynamic digital services directly to consumers based on scan context, and to gather and apply data intelligence for brands, manufacturers and retailers at unprecedented scale.

Quite literally one new standards-based code has the potential to replace all previous codes. We are very excited to be the first platform to support the new GS1 Digital Link standard, read our documentation to get started today!

Author Dominique Guinard (CTO & Co-Founder)
Published

We started experimenting with the blockchain about two years ago when we were invited to join the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) to lead the Blockchain and IoT research. A big part of our work for the institute was to research the impact the blockchain, and more generally Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), will have on IoT, producing an objective research report looking at opportunities, strengths and challenges of the blockchain for IoT.

Our report was published in November 2017 to the members of the BRI. However, in order to disseminate knowledge beyond members, the BRI has a rule that reports are made accessible to the world under Creative Common license six months after their initial publication.

We’re now happy to provide you with a full copy of our blockchain and IoT report, which can be downloaded here. However, since the report is 38 pages long, let’s summarize the crux of it here.

The report starts by providing order to the IoT chaos and defining what makes a typical IoT project: connectivity, identity, sensing and/or actuation.

We then look at what the challenges of today’s (centralized) IoT are and how the blockchain could come to the rescue. We also examine what challenges blockchain bring:

  • Resilience & Durability. Too many connected products are not built in a sustainable and durable way, leading to many IoT gadgets that will cease to work as soon as their manufacturer decides or goes out of business. Blockchains are not controlled by a single entity but by all (or some, depending on the implementation) participants in the network leading to a distribution of control that could help tackle this challenge.
  • Global trust. How can we ensure IoT products and centralized platforms can be trusted to manage data securely and will not abuse or modify the data? Thanks to consensus mechanisms and the immutability of ledgers, blockchains are more trustworthy than centralized systems and could provide a way to verify some IoT data (e.g., transactions or identities) in a trustable manner.
  • Interoperability. The IoT still is a fragmented world of Intranets of Things running incompatible protocols (for good and bad reasons). The blockchain could potentially help by creating global value exchange networks. However, in its current state the blockchain is as fragmented as, if not more fragmented than, the IoT space: new blockchains appear on a daily basis and are largely incompatible with one another.
  • Scalability. How can you scale centralized platforms to billions of connected things sending trillions of updates on a daily basis? The blockchain could potentially help resolve these challenges by fostering decentralization (i.e., reducing the pressure on centralized platforms). However, today’s widespread blockchains (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum) scale orders of magnitude less well than centralized IoT platforms.

We also discuss blockchain specific challenges such as massive energy consumption, slow throughput, lack of regulation or challenges with complying with regulations (e.g., GDPR), or relative immaturity of the solutions. Then we look at innovative solutions that could provide concrete answers to these challenges in the future.

Finally, we equip the reader with a framework to understand when to use and not to use blockchain in an IoT context and propose an implementation pattern that looks into hybrid solutions: the core of the idea being to continue connecting things to the IoT via centralized platforms and start propagating some of the data to blockchains or DLT (a pattern we implemented in production with our Blockchain Integration Hub).

Very few technologies have developed so rapidly and have had the impact of blockchains and DLT. The potential of these new systems is a clear hint that they will revolutionize a number of markets, including IoT. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day! The blockchain space for IoT has moved past its peak of inflated expectations and is now proceeding more carefully, realizing the lack of maturity and focusing on those challenges that we really need to solve in order to future-proof the technology. The community is now also putting effort into understanding where the technology can truly help, and where it cannot. We hope this report will provide the keys to understanding the state of the blockchain and how to start experimenting with the blockchain for the IoT and the supply chain while minimizing risks.

Author Simon Jones (SVP Enterprise Sales, Europe & Asia)
Published

We’re excited to bring the power of product digitization to Asia — the manufacturing hub of some of the world’s biggest brands. Today, we’ve announced a partnership with AccelerAsia, along with a new regional office in Singapore, to enable us to meet the rapidly increasing business demand in the region.

Product digitization gives manufacturers greater control and visibility into the supply chain — arming them with the product-driven data and intelligence needed to combat real issues in today’s market and protect brand integrity. We’re talking:

  • Counterfeit products
  • Gray market imports
  • Food safety
  • Sustainability
  • Recycling
  • Consumer digital premiums

Brands need a simple, scalable solution that is future proof — that will work with whatever supply chain software they already have invested in, as well as new technologies that are already on the way, like blockchain.

EVRYTHNG collects data throughout each individual product’s lifecycle from the sourcing of ingredients to consumer purchase to recycling. This is particularly relevant in Asia where counterfeiting and gray market issues are a growing threat to consumers and manufacturers, alike.

Why Asia?
Beyond being a manufacturing hub, Asia is ahead of the curve in the adoption of mobile technologies. Thanks to apps like WeChat, WhatsApp and Alipay, consumer interaction with QR codes is commonplace, with over 100 million daily scans and over $5.5 trillion of contactless payments annually.

Product digitization — which allows consumers to scan packaging and labels on items for provenance, authenticity and rewards — is perfectly suited for the mobile-first Asian market.

The reality is a disproportionate percentage of consumer product lifecycles begin in the Asia region. This combined with advanced consumer behavior means that adoption of a digitized product ecosystem will be high and consumer product brands will realize a return-on-investment much faster.

About AccelerAsia
AccelerAsia is a business development firm that helps cutting-edge technology companies from Europe, US and Israel enter the Asian market. According to Frank Bomers, Partner at AccelerAsia, “Asia is digitizing at a breakneck pace, and in many ways leapfrogging from the pre-industrial to the IoT era — technology adoption that took decades in other markets sometimes takes just months in some of Asia’s megacities.”

You can learn more about our expansion into the Asia region here.

Author Niall Murphy (CEO & Co-founder)
Published

I’m incredibly proud to reveal that EVRYTHNG has been named by the World Economic Forum as a 2018 Tech Pioneer.

Innovation takes many forms. Sometimes relevant to the masses. Sometimes a select few. This year’s class of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers is proof and I’ve got to say it is humbling to stand among this prestigious group of innovators.

How did we get here?

EVRYTHNG is disrupting the way consumer product brands interact with their customers by bringing billions of products — thngs — to life with a digital identity on the web. Every product — we’re talking purses, soda, hats, shampoo — can now tell its intimate story creating a real-time knowledge network of product data.

Why now?

The massive takeover of online sales and the domination of a few players like Amazon has reduced some of the world’s most beloved brands to mere manufacturers: Online retailers get powerful data about who has purchased products while leaving brands in the dark. Plus, global brands are facing bigger, more critical macro business issues than ever before.

  • $461bn or 2.5% of global trade lost each year due to counterfeiting
  • Growing costs and environmental impact of waste, arising from lack of visibility into closed loop supply chains
  • Consumer loyalty is dwindling — shifting focus to sustainable, ethical and transparent brands – the rise of the B corp

EVRYTHNG is pioneering the way for consumer product brands to embrace this transformative time and reclaim market leadership. Beyond the tools to digitize and connect every product to the digital ecosystem, we provide the real-time data to drive consumer trust and provide brands with visibility, control and pre-emptive intelligence throughout the product life-cycle. EVRYTHNG also allows brands to fight two of their biggest supply chain problems: counterfeit products and gray market imports.

Why EVRYTHNG?

At a very broad level EVRYTHNG exists because the world needs greater efficiency in how we make, sell, use and dispose of physical products – huge amounts of inefficiency, waste and losses simply as a result of information about state and location of physical products not being readily available. EVRYTHING helps brands reclaim product intelligence, using the existing GS1 product coding already in use on trillions of items, so that any company can understand its consumers, no matter what smart packaging or product ‘trigger’ they use — QR code, NFC tag or RFID chip  — creating unique and direct links between the consumers and the brands they buy.

What’s next?

What’s next is really a whole separate blog. But I do want to say one thing to any consumer product brands who may be reading this, now is the time to act. Don’t wait until your competitor or even a new entrant to the market rides this wave past you. The possibilities are limitless. Change can be difficult. But this is really an exciting time and we are here to help guide you as we continue to lead — pioneer — the way.

Author Niall Murphy (CEO & Co-founder)
Published

Almond has launched a new drink brand – “FACT” – digitized on the EVRYTHNG platform to meet consumer’s growing thirst for knowledge about the products they’re buying.

We’re really excited to tell you about FACT, a new healthy fruit-flavored drink, available in stores across the UK now.  Every FACT can tells the product’s unique story – where, when and how it was farmed, where and when it was packaged, and its journey to store. It even shares its carbon footprint, based upon the journey the ingredients and ultimately, the finished product, took to reach consumers’ hands. The story of FACT is best told directly by Almond founder, Oliver Bolton:

Consumers are changing. Brands need to change too.

By engaging with consumers directly at ‘point of consumption’, Almond can better understand their customers and see where and when their products are being consumed.  And at the same time, build deeper relationships with customers by building trust through product & supply chain transparency.

“When a brand offers complete transparency, 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to that brand.”

Label Insight Transparency ROI Study

Almond’s Ecosystem

Almond has built its own ecosystem around the EVRYTHNG platform-as-a-service (PaaS), using our partner integrations and toolkits to create an offering that can be expanded to other brands in the future. FACT is the first brand and later this year What a Melon will be added.  Almond’s goal is to attract other B Corps wanting to offer transparency to consumers. (B Corp is a global movement of pioneering companies that are using their businesses as forces for good.)

How does it work?

  • Integrated with Crown Packaging to embed digital identities which are encoded in DataMatrix codes printed onto the ends of cans at point of manufacture.
  • Connected into the Almond.io blockchain ecosystem, linking an immutable ledger of product information and events with the unique digital identity of each can of FACT.
  • Uses EVRYTHNG’s mobile SDK to build the consumer app which can access product data and crypto-rewards.

Product Digitization is happening now

FACT’s launch is evidence of a shift in the way brands manufacture and take products to market. Product digitization — where every physical item becomes an interactive, trackable and intelligent asset — is at the heart of this change. Now any physical item – whether a can of drink, box of cereal, or handbag – can be connected to the web to start telling its story to consumers and to brands alike.

When 4 trillion products digitally come to life, things are going to get interesting!

Stay tuned… we’re just getting started.

Search