The Internet of Things, like blockchain and artificial intelligence, is a field that is increasingly catching on in the public domain. The potential for these technologies to improve our lives has stirred an excitement that is palpable.
IoT is an internet fed and sustained by devices – smartphones, smartwatches, sensors in cars, refrigerators and even clothes – which sense data, communicate it to other devices and applications, and in turn process that data to deliver better services and experiences.
In the business field, IoT could have a tremendous impact. One such industry that could benefit is supply chain management, which is growing in value every year. Supply chain management is fraught with problems,and brands, logistics personnel and companies along the chain are all desperately looking for solutions to the problems they currently experience.
Blockchain is a potential savior that could make the use of IoT more effective in supply chain management, and projects like DiscoveryIoT aim to lead the charge.
DiscoveryIoT Aims to Rectify Common Product Tracking Issues
The DiscoveryIoT project is on a quest to plug the holes in the IoT infrastructure. It’s no small task, because it requires an effort to overhaul IoT infrastructure from top to bottom. It includes solving the issues associated with large-scale use of IoT, but with a particular focus on bringing artificial intelligence and modern computing methods to the platform.
Described as an “AI Blockchain 4.0 IoT Network,” DiscoveryIoT’s platform wants to bring the first truly decentralized IoT infrastructure solution. The founder of DiscoveryIoT, Selvam VMS, spent years researching cell biology and genetics, and has considered how information transmission in cells could work in an IoT system. This biomimicry is the salience of DiscoveryIoT’s platform, which manifests itself in the use of AI and edge computing.
Different projects approach IoT use cases differently, and in particular DiscoveryIoT wants to tackle the problems that brands face in tracking their products and managing their stock.
Some common issues include the following:
- Tracking across the supply chain is ineffective at best
- Stock and sales data is inconsistent, which further leads to impractical stock levels
- Data on consumer demands could be leveraged better
The common theme in these issues is the lack of data for making more effective and efficient decisions in managing products and stocks.
Brands have trouble understanding stock and sales data, which pushes them into taking a one-size fits all approach for their trade marketing spends. This suboptimal approach results in over-spending in some markets and under-spending in anothers.
The direct consequence of this is that some retail outlets are overstocked and others understocked. The enormous sums of money that brands spend on trying to attract customers to retail outlets is often wasted, because they lack the real-time data which could help them supply different outlets in the right proportions, avoiding understocked shelves.
It isn’t just the stock levels that real-time data could help with. Real-time data could also lead to a better understanding of what the consumer wants, which is the primary indicator for brands to more effectively design, launch and tailor products for their target market. For example, if a brand is aware of when a consumer runs out of shampoo, stock levels and general remarketing goals become significantly easier.
Lastly, all of these benefits come together to eliminate product obsolescence, by eliminating the problem of overstocking and understanding when a consumer needs new products.
How Will DiscoveryIoT Build an Infrastructure for IoT?
The DiscoveryIoT solution consists of three layers working together to solve these supply chain issues:
- Cliot: A hardware IoT tag that can be tacked onto various products and costing as low as $0.10.
- User Community: Community members can install a mobile app on their phones which powers the network.
- AI and Data Analytics Layer: An analytics layer that turns the flood of information produced by the infrastructure into actionable information for the brands.
The Cliot tag is perhaps the most interesting aspect of their solution. Working on the backscatter technology, the tag charges independently and doesn’t require power. The low cost of $0.10 makes it possible to manufacture large numbers of these tags even for products like shampoos and cereals, allowing broad application.
The user community also has a large role to play. According to the DiscoveryIoT team, community members act as data collection nodes, with the project effectively harvesting data in a distributed manner. When a user enters within a 30-meter vicinity of a Cliot, the two devices enter into a smart contract and the blockchain records the presence of the Cliot. Without the users, the system would not work.
While no specifics have been mentioned, the team plans to employ AI techniques to help brands deal with important marketing and sales questions, like predicting when a store might run out of stock of a particular product.
The inclusion of AI in the DiscoveryIoT platform means that it gets smarter the more data and information it has; over time, this will improve the quality of insights and predictions regarding sales and stock levels. Ultimately, this could help brands increase sales and save costs.
Brands can enjoy following benefits when using the DiscoveryIoT solution:
- Low Cost Tracking: The tracking cost per product is expected to be as low as $0.04 per month, which makes this solution ideal for rapid and mass adoption of a range of products.
- Real-time Visibility: Real-time access to stock and sales data will be available. This allows business decisions to be made in real-time, without the time latency involved in traditional market research environments.
- No Retailer Involvement: DiscoveryIoT will not rely on retailers for support concerning data, which has always been a challenge and also very costly to obtain.
- Custom Reports: The data analytics layer of the infrastructure supports custom report building, which can be built to suit the unique requirements of each brand.
- Artificial Intelligence: The incorporation of AI will provide predictive and actionable information for brands. Based on historical and other related information available, the DiscoveryIoT interface guides brands to make decisions in order to avoid stock-outs, stock obsolescence and so on.
Community members also benefit, in these ways:
- Instant Rewards: All financial rewards for the lending of cellular data are transferred daily without any delays.
- Passive Income: If they keep the DiscoveryIoT mobile application running on their smartphones, it automatically pairs with Cliots and earns them money passively.
- Privacy and Security Guaranteed: Data collected is de-granularized and individually identifiable information is not shared with any other participants.
- Configurable Settings: Users can configure their individual preferences into the application. For instance, they will be able to set data usage limits, geographical limitations and other such details.
The IoT industry undoubtedly needs a lot of work to gain traction in the world. The infrastructure is just not there yet, though it is gaining steady progress.
The arrival of a project like DiscoveryIoT signals a broader appreciation for the kind of work needed to bring an internet for devices into the world. The project’s focus on AI and clever node schemes brings some out-of-the-box solutions to infrastructure development. DiscoveryIoT has a practical application in the supply chain industry, and could solve the issues association with product tracking and managing stock levels.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out, for there is a long way to go before any of this hits the field, and IoT solutions are certainly something that must be verified practically.