Monthly Archives: January 2009

Technology,Teamwork,Customer-Centric Innovation

… something that has become somewhat of a cliche in our industry today, but how often do you really see it being implemented, especially if you are the end-user using a new product or service?

Although the terms by themselves are important in their own right, the sum of all parts is key to the development of every aspiring successful, and valuable [not always the same :)] product or service for the market. You begin with a game-changing technology, become deeply passionate about its impact, work together as a team, and translate this into a great product or service that delights your customers. Industry stalwarts like Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Nick Carr, Sraman Mitra & Suboroto Bagchi have spoken in depth about different aspects of executing this based on their experiences.

Today I would like to share with you a piece that caught my eye from Werner Vogel, Amazon’s CTO, on his IW award [read about it @ All Things Distributed]. Vogel leads a team that’s not just talking the talk, but walking the walk in delivering on an audacious and ambitious promise – Democratizing Cloud Computing. This is truly inspiring from a team that’s changing the landscape of technology as we know it and will have a profound impact [to quote Nick Carr] as we make the “Big Switch to Software as a Utility” in the future, very much like electricity at the dawn of the twentieth century.

So, as we start thinking about what the ‘appliances’ of the future are going to be, it’s truly inspiring to see that we are not alone at a small startup called S3Edge, and have more in common with the giants in Amazon than simply the similarity in ‘S3’… hats off to Vogel and his team for all that they do and the impact they are having on the industry. I will leave you with a little piece from Vogel’s post that personally impacted me the most, and sets the bar for all future work here at S3Edge..

“We will always focus on what our customers need and work backwards from there. We will continue to innovate and roll out services and features that address the real needs of our customers.

It is still only Day One… “

 

Until next time…

 

/a

 

Skype Anush @ AllThingsRTVS

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PBJ anyone?

Though I am not a big fan of the PBJ, I invariably end up with a bite or two w/o really giving it a second thought – after all per the Wikipedia entry on PBJ, “A 2002 survey showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 of the sandwiches before graduating from high school”… so nothing to really worry about, right?

Wrong! Everything that’s remotely related to the beloved peanut butter has all but changed since last week.The 1920’s icon today now runs the risk of undergoing a major identity change into PBS [not to be confused with the venerable TV channel] in my book given the recent spate of Salmonella contamination [Read all about the Peanut Butter Recalls and the associated fall out at http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/23/peanut.probe.salmonella/index.html]

The reality really hit home a few days ago as I was grocery shopping at the local Trader Joe’s  and grabbed this flier off the checkout register:

[Please note: this is not a ding on TJ’s at all – I love this place and what they stand for and the proactive efforts they undertake for customer safety, but rather a commentary via an example on how close to home this issue was for me]

image

 

If this is not scary enough, here’s more research that we did to quantify the modern-day bane of product recalls by looking at 2 other areas of high consumer impact – recalls of medical devices and toys. [Read more at http://www.s3edge.com/solutions_product_recall.php]

The slides below show what we found with additional information on current challenges plaguing the recalls area as a whole and the overall impact to the organizations in the value chain:

 

On further examination, an interesting (and very relevant) observation was the fact that existing Supply Chain Management (SCM) Systems today are really not built to ‘observe’ or monitor for existence and movement of these recalled products in real-time (and hence locate + remove closer to source), which unfortunately results in tainted products reaching end-user despite these recall notices being issued. Some of the issues include:

  • Electronic record and actual inventory / location are typically out of sync within 4 walls [The ‘Actual’ vs. ‘Expected’ conundrum]
  • Lack of visibility into systems of upstream participants outside of 4 walls (disparate, distributed), Multiple parties across firewalls need to be involved to execute a successful recall process in a non-disruptive manner, and barcodes are typically not a scalable solution for proactive or on-demand recall.
  • No measurable way to track Recall execution results i.e. the ability to answer the question: “Was the recall a success?” with measurable results

All of this makes one wonder, “Is Product Recall a poster child of RFID 2.0”? – If we enabled some amount of visibility at source (i.e. if some level of products were tagged) could we leverage this information to shine a torch on the existence and movement of tainted goods in the supply chain, and hence put in safeguards early on to search, locate and prevent these contaminated goods from reaching us in the first place?

We’ll take a look at all of the above and more and showcase a RTVS enabled Product Recall prototype with a live demo to boot (stay tuned while I figure out the best way to upload clips!) – all of this and much much more coming up in subsequent posts.

But first, I’d love to get your thoughts on the importance of solving this issue and if you have additional ideas / thoughts to tackle this incredibly relevant / valuable problem – let us know if this is interesting / relevant to your businesses, and as always we look forward to hearing from you!

 

Cheers

 

/a

Skype Anush @ AllThingsRTVS

Year of the Ox – a bellwether for RFID 2.0?

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Though I typically am not one to pay attention to horoscopes, astrology mumbo-jumbo etc., this interesting nugget caught my attention while I was reading about the various celebrations that will take place in China to welcome in the Year of the Ox [the background reading on this is truly fascinating for those who are into history and cultural practices]

To quote from JingleMe’s weblog:

“2009 is the year of the Ox, which symbolizes success and prosperity by determination and hard work. Success awaits those who work hard this year. 2009 is the year of resilience, hard work, and patience. Trash the bad practices; do better this year”

How is this relevant to RFID 2.0 in the coming year?

Some thoughts in Before / After [in the RFID 2.0 era] format:

  • For too long hype in this industry has caused costly, complex, non enterprise-ready solutions to be deployed, resulting in a damper on customer confidence in bringing real-time solutions to mainstream.
    • There is no room for this in a year of fiscal conservativeness and a need to demonstrate value in every $ that’s being spent from day 0. This will result in the emergence of the enterprise-ready RFID 2.0 applications & solution players
  • Innovations in the hardware space has been screaming along at a rapid pace, and in the same breath LoB systems have been seeking to incorporate bottoms-up visibility into their world to bridge the gap between ‘Expected’ and ‘Actual’; All of which has resulted in a crying for software solutions to take advantage of the innovations at the device level via applications that complement LoB systems in providing bottom-up visibility from the ad-hoc, ‘physical world’ processes
    • The need to extract maximum value out of existing infrastructure (with lowest TCO) will require an era of scalable on-device solutions, pushing and leveraging intelligence at the mobile edge in a seamless manner at the spoke, resulting in solutions that are deployed based on scenario requirements vs. infrastructure needs – no more ‘re-engineering’ of the entire supply chain to harness real-time visibility in your electronic business process
  • Clearly specified methodologies to extract the value out of real-time visibility w/o boiling the ocean:
    • This will be the year where we’ll see real examples of value driven applications come to the fore with a clear focus on Getting to the ‘R’ in ROI from real-time applications. The solutions that customers invest in and deploy in production this year will tell us where the value is and what the RFID 2.0 applications really are, and this in turn will result in best of breed solution providers who are able to demonstrate this value based on their experience, learnings and resolve to do the right right for the end user.

 

At S3Edge our DNA is interwoven with working hard and working closely with the end-user to identify where the value is (or not) in delivering RTVS based solutions.

 

We’d love to hear from you if this resonates with some of the value added activities you are planning for the year ahead!

 

Cheers

 

/a

 

Skype Anush @ AllThingsRTVS

Ushering in the RFID 2.0 revolution

Your curiosity is piqued, and now you really want to know what we do and why you should care 🙂

Needless to say, we’ve been hard at work validating and getting a much deeper understanding of what enterprise customers really want when they mean scalable, repeatable real time solutions for bottom-up visibility. We successfully orchestrated a min-launch that helped showcase some of the RTVS innovation along with Microsoft at their World-Wide launch of BizTalk RFID Mobile last month (as part of the RFID show in Paris and the Gartner AADI event in Vegas)

In addition to a new web-site (www.s3edge.com) that succinctly captures our USP and some of the early work we’ve done, here are a few articles of potential interest for your perusal:

1. RFID Journal article on our customer deployment at RiteCare  pharmacy (for warehouse visibility)

2. Partner and customer references as part of the overall Microsoft BizTalk RFID Mobile Release

3. Our external release on products / solutions we are bringing to market

4. A case study of the Ritecare deployment published at www.s3edge.com

By now you are probably going, OK but what does this have to do with what RTVS is really about and how it’s transforming the RFID applications space – tell me more about the real stuff!

  1. What do you mean by RFID 2.0?
  2. How is RTVS going to help me address my real time visibility needs while delivering clear ROI??
  3. Can you tell me more about some of your early adopters???

For a quick look at why we do what we do, check out the slides I pulled together that hopefully provides a bit more insight into what we are passionate about as a company, while providing you a brief insight into the answers for the above.

For a more verbose, in-depth, I recently had the opportunity to sit down and do an interview with Colin Masson, {Worldwide Director of CRM, ERP and Supply Chain Solution Areas at Microsoft}, on how RTVS has well and truly begun to usher in the enterprise-ready RFID applications (2.0) era, and James Vastbinder, Industry Technology Strategist, ERP & SCM was kind enough to post it at the link below…

S3Edge Feature on Microsoft Supply Chain Blog

So w/o further ado, happy readings and I’d love to hear from you as always on any questions, areas you’d like to drill into a bit more, or just your plain opinions – all feedback welcome, keep ’em coming! 🙂

Cheers!

/a

Skype Anush @ AllThingsRTVS

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Need resolutions?

Monday was National Service day and wanted to share with you a very relevant piece by a down to earth, funny, ‘tuned to the times’ author / writer / ‘preacher’ that really put this in perspective for me…

So, if you are still thinking about resolutions for the year, you now have 18 possibilities to help you out – enjoy 🙂

Cheers

/a

Skype Anush @ AllThingsRTVS

Real Time Visibility Systems: A new dawn for multi-enterprise visibility

Greetings and welcome to the RTVS [Real Time Visibility Systems] Tribe – A Tribe whose mission is to enable repeatable, scalable solutions for real time enterprise and of which you are now officially a part of! 🙂

To all my well-wishers and comrades from my previous life who Expressed the RFID in You!,  it’s wonderful to be back and needless to say am super, super excited about about shaping the next wave of RFID based solutions with some of the smartest guys I’ve worked with over the years!

So what can you expect in my new avatar @ S3Edge?

How about literally starting with Real Visibility, Real Time? An inside the trenches, no fluff, no varnish, viewpoint from an innovative software solutions company as we build out the RTVS platform and the vertical solutions {Warehouse Visibility, WiP, Hi-Value Asset Tracking, Product Recall} with a single minded focus to delight and deliver as promised to our customer base.

You will hear (and see) some of the future innovation underway in the S3Edge labs in naturally extending Software on Premise with services in the cloud for distributed multi-enterprise visibility. From time to time, you will also hear some of my personal thoughts on varied subjects that I care about sprinkled in for your viewing pleasure.

Most importantly though (and probably relevantly) I will strive to paint the hard lessons learnt and the sweet triumphs earned in making a customer happy while deploying enterprise ready RFID solutions, while exposing YOU, the Tribe to a plethora of commentary on a variety of subjects by experts (customers, partners, and industry captains) who know their stuff best and are gracious enough to give us their time!

Overall, this is just the beginning of a journey – along the way there is a lot of fun to be had as a tribe, and am sure there will be bumps, bruises and probably a lot of non-believers and consternation… to that I invite you, the Tribe member to share and share liberally based on your experiences (good and bad) – send me your thoughts, and let me know if have anything to post out here for your fellow tribesmen – and we will paint the road to what it really takes to deploy a transformational set of packaged solutions with a cookie cutter deployment model…Something we call RTVS!

Cheers!

 

/a

 

Skype Anush @ AllThingsRTVS