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23 June 2017

Evrythng links platform to GS1 label standards, in IoT transition

Evrythng has announced the integration of its cloud-based identity management platform for the ubiquitous GS1 labeling standard, opening the door for any product manufacturer, distributor, or retailer to embrace the operational efficiency improvements made available by the IoT technology. Whether it’s increased sales, reduced waste, or valuable analytics, the first step is getting the ‘things’ online – and Evrythng is hoping it’s tapping a rich new well with the integration.

This is a glowing example of a shiny new IoT offering making the transition to ingratiate itself with a current business paradigm – sliding in nicely, instead of trying to force the norm to reinvent the wheel. Industries can move at glacial paces when it comes to adopting a new way of doing things, and so updating or retrofitting an existing protocol is a safer bet than trying to force a slow-moving market to adopt a new alternative.

One of the reasons that Riot doesn’t dwell on predicting the number of IoT devices out there is because the definition of a ‘thing’ is variable and shifting enough to make any such prediction moot. Riot’s go-to example is a pallet, which could become connected at a very small cost and suddenly ruin a forecast that hadn’t considered them a ‘thing.’ There are upwards of 2bn pallets in the US, and over 3bn in the EU, but they form a vital part of the logistics supply chain – an industry that is slowly embracing the efficiency benefits afforded by IoT technologies.

Pallets are one thing, but technologies like Evrythng’s have the scope to connect hundreds of billions of additional things to cloud ecosystems – quickly allowing an entity like Coca Cola to track the flow of Coke around the world, and trace its routes to the consumer in much greater accuracy. There’s a huge enterprise opportunity for these kinds of technologies, and at the end of the day, it all comes down to linking a physical label to a database entry in a cloud applications.

As part of the announcement, former Warnaco President of Global Sourcing, Logistics, and Distribution, Dwight Meyer, said “it’s clear that the market has changed, and brands with the ability to know their customers, form a relationship, and react to demand are winning. Real-time information and transparency throughout the product lifecycle, combined with speed-to-market capability are critical to driving profitable growth. Evrythng’s digital enablement of the GS1 Standards creates an environment where the needed changes to operating models can begin.”

Evrythng will be integrating its Active Digital Identities (ADI) platform with the GS1 Standards, which should allow retailers to continue to use their existing GS1 labeling infrastructure (that already covers billions of ‘things’) and add the internet functions enabled by ADI. These functions include unique cloud-based product identifiers that allow a company to carry out supply chain visibility, quality control, inventory management, and also consumer engagement that can be used as pre-sales opportunities and post-sales relationship management.

Key to the success of ADI is the integration with the packaging and labeling suppliers, so that a company doesn’t have to manually enter or scan the individual devices. To this end, Evrythng has agreements with Avery Dennison (apparel and footwear, and signer of a 10bn-thing deal with Evrythng last year), and Crown and WestRock (consumer packaged goods), which help it create the digital identities as the products are manufactured.

Essentially, GS1 US is an organization that standardizes physical labeling, so that it can be used in different business systems globally. It publishes the guideline documents that need to be adhered to in order to comply, and the Evrythng announcement coincides with the GS1 Connect tradeshow, taking place in Vegas this week.

GS1 US says that its GS1 Standards are the most widely used information standards in the world, and help identify products, services, and locations – ‘to support supply chain visibility and efficiency.’ Part of the new announcement sees Evrythng join the GS1 US Solution Partner Program, which should help Evrythng sell into a pretty conservative industry that is beginning an inevitably painful overhaul to embrace the benefits of the Internet of Things.

“GS1 identifiers are the standard in global commerce, and identify billions of products in the supply chain around the world. It’s both exciting and important to the digital transformation of the consumer product industry to leverage GS1 Standards with Evrythng’s innovative IoT technology, thereby providing a shortcut for brands to switch-on their products as digital assets, and manage digital product lifecycle at industrial scale,” said Evrythng’s co-founder and CEO, Niall Murphy.

Avery Dennison’s VP RFID Market Development, Bill Toney, noted “Janela is one of the first solutions to enable apparel brands and retailers to leverage the power of connected products to drive a seamless in-store shopping experience and reveal consumer analytics, which was once only possible online. This GS1 standardization introduces the extension of the RFID EPC standard with 2D barcodes to unlock in-store shopping journey data received from the same online customer. This is exciting for both the industry and the advancement of omnichannel strategies.”