I have no doubt that this day will come, but we wanted to be able to connect objects today cheaply and without the need for batteries, or having to hassle with Bluetooth/wifi/ZigBee and other great protocols. There is no magic in technology, and for a truly connected device there is quite a bit of complexity and cost involved. We decided to break the problem into pieces and create a solution that works today.
So the question we asked is – can we have a cheap way to create a connected devicewithout any power supply, and yet have it be connected and have an IP on the cloud? The answer is yes, and our first product to market, tag-a-bag, shows how we apply this to bags and luggage. Tag-a-bag demonstrates the benefits of such a connected object, and it helped us to build a complete infrastructure to support any physical object. We developed a system that is object “agnostic” but at the same time is object “aware”. I will go into this more in future blog posts.
Our basic principle is that all of us are walking around with little supercomputers in our pocket; they are very sophisticated and connected all the time. When NFC (Near Field Communication) started to gain more traction we saw this as the perfect solution, all a user needs to do is touch the object. The NFC tag is “using” the phone connection and power, which you already have, to perform the “connected” tasks. In the case of tag-a-bag, once a user activates the tag, we create an IP on the cloud for this bag, and our system knows to identify it’s a bag and makes the bag smarter.
One of the coolest features is our (patent pending) Lost & Found. Since the bag has an identity on the cloud, anyone who touches the tag with his phone (no need for any app to be installed) will see the bag’s profile, and in one click sends the exact location of the bag’s whereabouts. Again, we are using the mobile phone’s smarts to do all of this. This works in places where there is no GPS signal as well. The “smart bag” helps the owner too; any time the owner touches his own bag, it retrieves relevant information by pulling and aggregating information from different sources both public and private. When you think about it, once the bag has an identity on the cloud, it knows it’s a bag and to whom it belongs, and it has access to any information on the cloud – it becomes a smarter object!
In the next blog post we will talk about PRM (Product Relationship Management) and how our platform can enable brands to communicate with their customer in a new and meaningful way.