Building the Eco-system of Connected Things: SMARTRAC’s refined strategy

Recently, SMARTRAC has taken the opportunity to re-shape its strategy – on the surface as well as beneath it. At trade shows, SMARTRAC now displays a new company claim: “connect things”. It is a direct outcome of the refined strategic direction, and is also closely related to the new concept of “SMART COSMOS”, which was introduced to the market earlier this year. For this newsletter edition, Clemens Joos, CEO of SMARTRAC, talks about the company’s vision and mission.


Clemens Joos, SMARTRAC CEO & Chairman of the Management Board


What are the background and the essence of SMARTRAC’s further developed strategic direction?


CJ: We have realized that product quality, flexibility as well as innovation are key drivers for success in the market, and that our mission now is much broader: it is to “connect the unconnected”. SMARTRAC’s technology makes products smart, and enables businesses to identify, authenticate, track and complement product offerings with digital services. And SMART COSMOS is our new concept to fulfill that need. With SMART COSMOS, we are initiating the evolution of a true Internet of Things, comprehensive Machine-to-Machine and Machine-to-Object communication, and a wealth of cloud-based services. As a first step, we have established the SMART COSMOS platform, where system integrators, application developers and, of course, users of RFID technologies can participate for their mutual benefit.


What does SMART COSMOS do for the “Internet of Things”?


CJ: With SMART COSMOS we are enabling the ability to connect tagged simple things to the digital world, and to make their digital footprint available to business partners, customers and consumers, reaching out far beyond the connectivity of IP addresses. This will be a significant driver for the true empowerment of the Internet of Things.


What potential do you see in the Internet of Things?


CJ: We see huge potential. Today, there are about 1.5 trillion things that are connectable – and less than two percent of those things are already connected! Connecting them via RFID and cloud-based technologies will drive value through the improvement of processes, the creation of new products and services, better integration and consumer experience and new digital sales channels. To put it more simply: adding connectivity improves customers’ products and people’s lives. Here are just two examples. First, connecting genuine goods could help to reduce the counterfeiting of brand products, which will cost businesses $1.7 trillion in 2015, according to an independent analysis. Second, linking food packaging to supply chain systems and consumers’ devices could reduce our current food wastage, which is estimated at $750 billion annually!


When will the first SMART COSMOS based services become available?


CJ: With its platform in place, SMARTRAC is a pioneer in terms of scalable, cloud-based services, with the largest ID repository worldwide. We will make “SMART COSMOS” data available to a very large community of mobile app developers and millions of apps, which is going to lead to a new era of innovation and value creation. This era has now begun, and we will be able to offer the first services on the platform by the middle of July 2014.


And, for example, how does SMARTRAC’s latest participation in the founding of the RAIN RFID alliance fit into the new strategic picture?


CJ: Being a leading supplier of RFID technology, we are perfectly aware of the opportunities offered by innovative RFID solutions. Yet we were convinced that, to the present day, its potential has not been fully exploited. So we were looking for further opportunities to properly promote RFID as an important building block for the Internet of Things. 


So what is the connection between RAIN RFID and SMART COSMOS?


CJ: Let me quote RAIN’s mission statement. It says that RAIN exists to “promote the understanding, acceptance and ubiquitous adoption of RFID technology to improve business, and ultimately, peoples’ lives.” One way or another, that is a translation of our mission “to connect the unconnected,” which we announced some months ago. Connecting the unconnected is – in the long term – meant to improve business and peoples’ lives. As a first step, we have established the SMART COSMOS platform. So, once you look at the philosophies behind it, I believe the connection is very clear.