The announcement of the new GS1 Digital Link standard – overseen by our CTO and Co-founder Dom Guinard – was a watershed moment for the consumer goods industry as a whole. Whether you are a brand, a packaging company, a logistics firm, or a service vendor, this new standard is likely to have an impact on your business in one way or another.
Hi, I’m Perraine, Director of Product, and my focus is on building out the core features of the EVRYTHNG platform. Part of this set of core features is the GS1 Digital Link. If you haven’t already, you can read our previous blog about the GS1 Digital Link to get a better understanding of what it is. I’ll also give a brief example below.
What is the Digital Link?
In simple terms: the GS1 Digital Link standard defines how to put your packaged goods online. It supports all existing GS1 Application Identifiers, and our Day 1 feature set covers the most important of those identifiers — you can see this page for more information.
Here’s an example of how you’d go about converting a barcode to a digital link. In this case, I’m using an imaginary pair of EVRYTHNG Sneakers – Serialized Edition.
This is a hypothetical EAN-13 barcode on the box of our sneakers:
If I scan that with any 1D or 2D barcode scanner (e.g. Point of Sale, or an app on my Android device, or the native iPhone camera), this is what the hardware and software will see:
Pretty obvious, right? And that’s all. It’s just a 13-digit number. If I want to know what that number means, then whatever application I am using has to know what an EAN-13 represents. If I’m a consumer I guess I could Google that code and see what comes up, but am I going to? No.
Now, here is the GS1 Digital Link equivalent of that barcode generated using our built-in QR code creator:
If I scan this code with any 2D scanner, it sees:
If I use offline Point of Sale software, I can still get the EAN-13 code and register a sale. But it also gives me a Web address. This means if I scan it with a mobile device I can go to that address and get, for example, a Product Information page:
And if I’m scanning this object in the supply chain with a custom app, accessing that link could provide traceability information:
So you can see the dual benefits of the GS1 Digital Link:
In the next section I’ll introduce the exciting new capabilities that we’ve added to the EVRYTHNG Platform in support of the GS1 Digital Link.
Using GS1 Digital Link on the EVRYTHNG Platform
We’ve added the ability to generate GS1 Digital Links within our dashboard so that when you create a new unique item (we call them “thngs”) you can create a GS1 Digital Link in url form and QR code form (which you can print onto your items). This combination will connect your product to the Web and activate it throughout its lifecycle.
You’ll also have the ability to create a redirection to your thng’s Digital Link, which allows you to dynamically control where a URL points to based on a set of business rules.
For example, your QR code could point to different web pages depending on the country it was scanned in, or the age group of the user, or even if a consumer scanned your product as opposed to a member of your supply chain. And all of these interactions are captured on the EVRYTHNG Platform for you to view and analyze.
You can read our detailed whitepaper to understand the full power of the Digital Link.
We’re excited about what the future holds
At EVRYTHNG, we’ve been looking forward to – and preparing for – the point where every physical product is connected to the Web. The GS1 Digital Link brings us one step closer. We’ve learned some valuable lessons about how and why you would want to give your products unique web addresses, and how serializing and authenticating every item unlocks the ability to track things throughout the supply chain and in the hands of your consumers, along with offering value added services that would have been impossible up until now.
Using the GS1 Digital Link on your products enables you to:
- Track the unique journey of individual items through the supply chain
- Register transactions at point of sale
- Offer great direct-to-consumer experiences through the best marketing channel of all — your products!
There’s a lot more on the roadmap, and we’re excited to share more with you as this standard develops. Stay tuned!
For more technical information on the GS1 Digital Link and the rest of our API, be sure to visit our Developer Portal: https://developers.evrythng.com/docs/gs1-digital-link-integration