Evrythng, an internet of things (IoT) platform that seeks to give each physical product its own trackable digital identify, has raised $10 million in a round of funding.
The announcement comes as the global pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global supply chain, with inventories, factories, and transport systems all impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Evrythng’s core promise is to bring transparency and visibility to the supply chain, making each individual item, pallet, or batch “data-generating” objects on the web, allowing companies to identify and address issues as they arise.
“COVID has caused breakdowns at various parts of the supply chain — factory closures, raw material supply problems, distribution to supply routes, inventory imbalances and back-ups,” Niall Murphy, Evrythng cofounder and CEO, told VentureBeat. “At the same time, COVID has accelerated ecommerce massively, profoundly changing how brands work with different retail channels. Having real-time visibility of what is happening across the supply chain and sales channels enables brands to pre-empt problems and respond or adapt to changes rapidly.”
In addition to giving brands visibility into their products as they make their way from manufacturer to retail stores, the underlying technology also serves consumers with insights into their product’s journey, and can even confirm the authenticity of a product — this is particularly useful at a time when many online marketplaces are awash with fake goods.
Above: Ralph Lauren: QR code
Ralph Lauren uses the Evrythng platform to embed unique QR codes on each of its products at the point of production in factories around the world, giving the company real-time visibility into its supply chain and insights into consumer engagement.
By scanning the code, shoppers can see instantly that the product is a genuine Ralph Lauren item, while they can also link through to the company’s ecommerce store, or contact customer service.
“The scale, depth and ubiquity of Ralph Lauren’s product digitization strategy are groundbreaking,” Murphy said. “While we can clearly point to specific applications like factory visibility and consumer engagement as immediate areas of value creation, it’s the ability to apply real-time knowledge to every area of Ralph Lauren’s operations and its customer experience that is the long-term opportunity.”
Above: Ralph Lauren: Authenticated
Other companies using the Evrythng platform include Mowi, one of the world’s largest salmon producers, which allows customers to scan a code to look at its entire journey through the food chain.
Above: Evrythng: Tracking salmon through the food chain
How this technology is ultimately used will depend on the brand, but it’s possible — with consent — to capture individual consumer data such as their location and profile, which a brand can use to personalize their interaction and gain deeper insights into what is happening at the point-of-sale.
QR codes are just one channel for gaining visibility into a product’s journey and history, as Evrythng uses a range of on-product identifiers and sensors, including NFC, Bluetooth (e.g. Wiliot), RFID, and printed codes such as Digimarc. However, as we’ve seen elsewhere across the commercial realm during COVID-19, QR codes are proving a particularly mechanism for bridging the physical and digital worlds.
“QR codes are becoming extremely popular for consumer goods because they are low cost to print on packaging, or add to a label, and every smartphone can automatically scan then,” Murphy said.
Founded in 2011, New York-based Evrythng had previously raised $50 million, including a $24.8 million tranche three years ago, and with another $10 million in the bank it said that it plans to double down on its global growth, expand its product capabilities, and grow its team.
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