We are very excited to announce a new partnership with Wiliot. Wiliot is one of the most groundbreaking technologies I’ve seen in recent years in the area of smart products.
Wiliot has created a battery-free Bluetooth chip that harvests ambient energy in place of batteries. The innovative technology recycles the radio waves around us to power sticker-size sensors that allow consumers to interact with products. Together with their partners, Wiliot is using printed electronics techniques to bundle this chip and sensors into secure, intelligent, low-cost tags (or inlays as we refer to them in the ‘tag jargon’).
To some this may seem like a small thing but, it isn’t. It is truly game-changing. Those who have read our book “Building the Web of Thing” should be familiar with the biggest challenges in the massive adoption of IoT devices. High on the list is the energy needs of IoT devices. As IoT devices and sensor nodes are in reality tiny computers, they need a steady source of power to function and communicate with the Internet. This, unfortunately, means that a lot of use cases we might dream of today are impractical in the real world.
Imagine smart packaging for instance: what if smart labels could provide continuous monitoring of the temperature of every product, or could help actively track and locate products in warehouses and stores? What if our shirts could measure our heartbeat and sugar levels? And, what if our phones could identify and connect to these labels?
Think about it, if you dislike having to recharge your smartwatch on a daily basis, imagine having to change a battery on your shirt or your pack of strawberries!
This is where Wiliot is game-changing: Wiliot’s tags are battery-free, recycling the radio waves around us (specifically the 2.4 GHz band that our WiFi and mobile phones use). This energy is enough to power the chip and sensors but also to communicate with any piece of infrastructure that supports Bluetooth (e.g., our phones, routers, computers, TVs, etc.) allowing consumers to interact with products.
Energy harvesting is not totally new to the IoT. As a matter of fact, I’ve been carrying around a Bluetooth battery-free pollution sensor in my bag for the past few years. What’s new is Wiliot’s low cost to entry and small form factor, making it closer to a tag than to a full-on IoT device. The expert reader will certainly argue that UHF RFID tags (aka RAIN RFID) are also low cost and a small form factor. However, there is one key difference. Where UHF RFID requires significant investments in deploying dedicated readers wherever coverage is needed, Wiliot tags leverage the existing infrastructure to harvest power and also to communicate and share data back to the cloud.
For Wiliot to fully deliver on its vision of scaling the IoT by tagging everything that’s important — it partnered with EVRYTHNG because the EVRYTHNG Product Cloud allows consumer product brands to digitize products at a global scale and apply data intelligence throughout the end-to-end product lifecycle. It is truly a powerful combination.
EVRYTHNG helps Wiliot turn its low cost, secure and intelligent Bluetooth tags into standard GS1 Digital Link identities allowing them to become standard Web identities that mobile phones and other devices (e.g., POS) can directly understand. By combining our Product Cloud with innovations like Wiliot’s technology and GS1 Digital Link, we make product digitization accessible to brands across industries and around the globe. Brands can relay rich sensing and location data collected by the Wiliot tags to the EVRYTHNG Product Cloud via EVRYTHNG Active Digital Identities™. In doing this, brands receive all the benefits of EVRYTHNG’s fine-grained access control & standard data models (e.g., EPCIS, W3C WoT), business rules (Reactor™), machine learning (Predictor™) and powerful dashboards and analytics.
EVRYTHNG is currently working with Wiliot on several projects for brands. For instance, we are working together to demonstrate how products with Wiliot tags can detect when they are picked up in a store (via a pressure sensor) and communicate this to the EVRYTHNG Product Cloud which then orchestrates the data showing contextualized content on consumer mobile phones as well as in-store screens via our digital signage partner Screenly. Similarly, we have shown that by putting Wiliot tags on boxes of produce or perishables to collect sensory data, our Product Cloud can continuously monitor the temperature of products, making the information accessible via mobile devices and other applications.
As you can tell, we are very excited about this partnership and what it means for the consumer products industry. Wiliot’s innovative technology combined with our Product Cloud has the power to bring the IoT to all products unlocking unprecedented use cases in manufacturing, supply chain, retail and consumer engagement.
This week at #NRF2020 Wiliot announced EVRYTHNG as a Works with Wiliot partner, an ecosystem of technology leaders working together to build best-of-breed solutions to tap into the company’s battery-free Bluetooth technology.