So often, Entopy is seen as a Company that builds sensors. Whilst it is true that Entopy has developed its own, proprietary sensors, to think of Entopy as a sensor business would mean ignoring large parts of the overall platform and proposition.
Entopy is an IoT solutions business with the mission of ‘bringing the supply chain online’. By digitising what is often referred to as the ‘the backbone of business’, it is our belief that huge opportunities will be realised. Automation of tasks, leaner and greener operations, reduced waste, improved stakeholder relationships, and many other things that we haven’t thought of yet will soon be the reality thanks to technologies such as the Internet of Things.
Entopy’s platform has been created to achieve this goal. The platform offers a way to digitise physical assets, often through sensors, turn the data collected into meaningful information, and then get key pieces of information to key stakeholders and to existing systems to drive some of the benefits listed above.
However, so often, Entopy is seen as a Company that builds sensors. Whilst it is true that Entopy has developed its own, proprietary sensors, to think of the Entopy platform only through a sensor tunneled vision would mean ignoring large parts of the overall platform and proposition. For this reason, Entopy has articulated its platform into four pillars: Collect; Analyse; Redistribute; Integrate. Recognising each pillar is key to understanding exactly what the Entopy platform does and can do for your business.
Supply chains are complex networks of ‘things’ moving between places and stakeholders. The first step is to bring these ‘things’ online, and we can do that with connected sensors. A connected sensor is simply a box that can sense stuff and communicate the data collected to the cloud, ideally, autonomously. Typically the data that is collected will be things like location, temperature, shock, etc. If a connected sensor is fitted to a piece of equipment, that piece of equipment can now communicate its state remotely to the cloud, effectively becoming ‘online’.
Now, at Entopy, we can do this with our own sensors or with others. A phrase we have become quite fond of is to ‘use what is already there and to create what is not’. What this recognises is that a lot of businesses that operate supply chains already have sources of very valuable data that can lead to digitising aspects of the supply chain. The areas that do not have such capabilities require new sensors. But this pillar is simply about data collection.
Some examples… Some trucks have fleet tracking systems, some warehouses have temperature sensors, most businesses have some form of ERP or WMS software with ranging capabilities, but some do offer pretty granular manifest data and delivery information. All of this data is useful to us and our customers. Adding new sources of data such as tracking supply chain handling units and unit level (roll-cages/pallets, etc.) can work alongside existing sources of data, in turn, helping to create a much more complete picture.
Collecting all of this data is all well and good but we do have a slight problem in that human beings do not speak sensor. It’s a given really but the data collected needs to be processed, contextualised and turned into information that means something to us humble beings.
This pillar does just that. The data that is collected is pulled together and brought to life. For example, a sensor is associated with the roll-cage that it’s attached to. The inventory that is inside the roll-cage is also pooled and associated with the other data sets in effect, creating a smart cage. A business’ warehouses and stores (or other facilities) are mapped out and geo-fenced meaning we can now clearly see where the now ‘smart’ roll-cage is.
The contextualised data can then be used to deliver reports and tools that will be of use to supply chain operators. First and foremost, we have track and trace; ‘where is it, what condition is it in’. But we can also automate the recognition of arrival, trigger alerts when temperature spikes happen, and much more.
So now, we have ‘smart’ roll-cages moving around our business, telling us everything we need to know, even performing tasks without us! But the trick now is to drive engagement. After all, if no-one sees the information, isn’t aware of a critical temperature spike, then the system is as good as useless.
IoT is a phrase that to those in the know crudely means a world connected. ‘Things’ talking to us. A connected fridge, a connected kettle, a connected car. However, if IoT technology businesses expect us, as users to go to another ‘app’ to get the information, isn’t that a little contradictory? We think so, and have created tools within the Entopy platform that get information to key stakeholders via the platforms they use most often – e-mail, SMS, etc. This ensures engagement and value is realised.
Finally, the Entopy platform offers tools that allow the IoT to work with systems businesses already have in place. We do not expect the supply chains of old to be ripped up and started again now that the myriad of buzzwords has reached the Board Room. In reality, the true change will come through improvements to existing processes and systems achievable by the newly connected world.
A comprehensive suite of API tools allows raw and processed data to be extracted from the platform. English, please? So the raw data would be longitudes, latitudes, etc. The data in raw form is useful in its own right. But maybe businesses don’t want to process this data into datasets before analysing it. Given that the Entopy platform does some of this processing in pillar two, it seems only right that we enable the business to benefit from this via what we call ‘processed’ API’s. These allow the extraction of processed data such as completed deliveries, temperature alerts, ‘smart’ roll-cages complete with inventory data.
The key takeaway from this blog is that the Entopy platform offers much more than just a sensor (albeit, a bloody good one). We have some partners using only a few parts of the platform and others using the whole thing. Some who do not use our sensors at all and others that are building their own bespoke solutions using data collected with Entopy sensors.
The platform has been built and continues to grow with one outcome in mind – the supply chain ‘online’. For a long time, our thinking was that the platform would be closed with Entopy running the sensors right through to the software analytics. However, our thinking has evolved and we firmly believe that the true power of the IoT will be unlocked through collaboration.
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