Friday, June 23, 2006

The Physical World Web 2.0

The Physical World Web 2.0

The Pondering Primate was created to focus on all forms of disruptive technologies.
A very disruptive technology and industry is being created when a physical world hyperlink (PWH) is used to link to the Internet.

A 1d code (barcode) and 2d code will provide a completely separate and powerful function when used with a camera phone/mobile phone to connect to the Net.

This is Phase 2 of the Internet. When objects in the physical world, with a PWH CAN BE linked to the Internet. This is static information though.

While we wait for the cameras on the phones to get advanced enough to read a barcode, and for mobile marketing companies to use innovation for 2d codes, another PWH is coming on strong with infinite possibilities over the barcode.

This PWH offers more and a much bigger opportunity than the barcode.

It is being called a barcode on steroids, otherwise referred to as the electronic barcode, or “e-barcode”.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a huge technological advance that will change every industry, last for many years, and represents an enormous ground floor investment opportunity, if you know how to invest in it.

Visionary Innovations sees this enormous opportunity and is tracking companies in this space.

What happens when physical objects ARE linked continuously to the Net?

This is another, and in my opinion, the most lucrative form of physical world connection

What if Smart Mobs don’t involve people, but they are comprised of all types of RFID tags and physical objects that are connected to the Net? This is dynamic information.

I would like to call this Physical World Web 2.0

The Internet is a useful tool when individual users/PCs can access information. But the Net becomes a really powerful tool when users/PCs form collaborative networks. This is the power of many.

The speed and amount of information these Internet “communities” (WikiPedia, MySpace, Flickr etc) generate is opening up some exciting business opportunities. Now apply the same collaborative concept when all forms of RFID tags, work together to form a different kind of community.

This is called "The Internet Of Things".

In my opinion, the real opportunity with RFID will not be in the tags and readers, but with the solutions/information that those RFID tags (all forms) will provide.

The high margin, recurring revenue, investment opportunities will be the perpetual monitoring (dynamic) solutions for all forms of RFID tags.

I have highlighted the endless applications that will be offered when a barcode and camera phone can be linked to the Net. The big opportunity comes from the various forms of RFID tags, and the endless dynamic information possibilities they will provide.

Where a barcode will be linked to a specific website, an RFID tag will deliver various types of real time information. It’s called the barcode on steroids for a reason.

When most think of RFID (as the media relates), they are seeing a 915 MHz tag that provides identification of a consumer good (static information) and will act like “Big Brother” by tracking every move the consumer makes (dynamic information).

With every new technology, there are people that don’t take the time to do their research, and end up making dramatic statements that misinform.

First, there are many forms of RFID tags that can be read/monitored in various ways and distances. Each one of these tags has its pros and cons.

I will explain the various RFID tags and their pros and cons in a follow-up post

Second, the “Big Brother” stigma is an example of dynamic information, and has big corporations practically drooling over the possibilities, but not in the way the media has portrayed.

Here are a couple examples.

The manufacturer doesn’t care if Sally Smith bought Tylenol at Walmart, they care if the pallet that package of Tylenol was in, was opened in a shipping port in Los Angeles and then repackaged.

Soon there will be a way to authenticate every package of Excedrin.

McArthur Dairy doesn’t care if you bought a gallon of milk at Publix on 6/10/2006, what they really want to know is if that gallon of milk was in a 75 degree room for 2 hours before it was sold.

Which is the greater loss to a retailer?

Destroying a pallet of Tylenol, or finding out they sold hundreds of Tylenol that have been contaminated?
Throwing out a pallet of spoiled milk or finding out they sold a pallet of spoiled milk?

These are consumer good examples.

“Big Brother” will save corporations billions of dollars from RFID. The ability to track a good is the smallest value added, it’s the other forms of information they will receive that will be invaluable. The real opportunity lies in finding "Big Brother" solutions FOR CORPORATE USE.

The real value of RFID is not from scanning the tag (static), but what real time information (all forms of) RFID are able to convey (dynamic).

Let me explain the difference between static and dynamic information using a daily example.
A highway sign that says Exit 15 Old Way Thinking Blvd Exit Right is a form of static information, it stays constant.

An LED sign flashing saying “ Exit 15 delay due to accident, Use Exit 14” is a form of dynamic information.

A N.Y Times newspaper is static info, the N.Y. Times website is dynamic info. Which one is seeing increased subscriber growth and offers more opportunities?

A barcode provides static information about an item. All forms of RFID working together to form mesh networks will provide endless forms of dynamic information.

The Physical World Web 2.0, an exciting opportunity.

Coming up Part 2, What Will Corporations Do With Physical World Web 2.0?


Anonymous said...

So far as I know, most RFID tags are effectively "Read only", so as "static" as bar codes.

And it's kind of a misonomer to describe the info a bar code might provide as "static" -- the web page it points to can itself be updated continously, and may indeed be a dynamic web page. Indeed, those web pages might be updated by the information provided by various scans of the bar codes on that object, or related objects.

Scott Shaffer said...

The barcode has to be scanned to retrieve the info. Although the website might be dynamic, the barcode is static.

I will have a piece on all the RFID tags on the market, and their abilities, shortly.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention what this tech will do for drug companies wanting to ensure no counterfeit drugs get into the supply chain...

Scott Shaffer said...

The solutions for all industries are limitless.

That is what makes this so exciting.

I will be describing what some companies/industries are working on and you will see why this "space" represents a very lucrative opportunity.

Keep in mind, these solutions involve a "closed network". Solutions are developed for specific companies.

Shawn McCollum said...

For two-way read write possibilities Near Field Communication has some cool applications. It's being pushed for purchasing transactions but I'm hoping it will get used for some cooler stuff then that.

Anonymous said...

Forget PWW 2.0--we haven't even figured out what's going on with PWW 1.0--focusing on PWW 2.0 seems premature at best. (Unless of course you POST HERE THE WINNER(S) of the PWW 1.0 race.) Hint, hint...

crusher said...

Your premise that PWW 2.0 is somehow superior and will swallow PWC 1.0 is somewhat flawed IMHO. The way I see it playing out is that the two ( or more, Voice?) will co-exist in tandem. There are certain applications (mostly consumer based) that static info. is all that is needed. RFID's (barcodes on the juice) also have their place in this new world order. I see opportunities in the "super companies" that can offer a suite of solutions for their corporate clients ie. 1d,2d rfid, voice, mobile marketing campaigns, billings, consumer profile database etc. PWH "WILL BE" ubiquitous in the not to distant future. It is either INOVATE or DIE...
How soon do you see this coming? Do you know of any such companies that fit this bill?
P.S. Will we see you in F.M. next week?

Scott Shaffer said...

"Your premise that PWW 2.0 is somehow superior and will swallow PWC 1.0 is somewhat flawed IMHO"

I don't think flawed is the right term.

The premise to PWW 2.0 is that there a lot more physical items in the world (and possible solutions) that will offer dynamic information opportunities than there are mobile phones.

A greater number of possible items and ways that can "push" information.

Follow the numbers.
800m PCS, 2b mobile phones, etc...

For example, how many street lights do you think there are in the world. Do you know what wireless solutions are being created for them?

There are RFID solutions that are being created for the mobile phone that dont involve any type of pull technology.

The number of PWW solutions that will be created for the physical world will dwarf the number of solutions created by scanning a barcode using a mobile phone.

It's simple push versus pull, and the number of items/solutions that can/will provide pull will be infinite.

Yes, I do know of companies that are involved with this.

Visionary Innovations looks for companies with this type of disruptive technology.

Ron said...

Scott, In theory I share the passion for RFID but in practice I have seen and heard a lot of implementation problems.
1) there is still not 1 standard in RFID
2) NFC is a gathering of a couple of standards
3) there are still 3 different frequencies in Europe, US and Asia within one standard.
4) you need to connect the RFID antenna in the phone to an application and I still haven't met one user able to set up GPRS on his phone, so......

I don't want to be a pessimist and we've made our products hybrid (NFC prepared) but there is one big plus for 2D barcodes on "things" or distributed by SMS/MMS and that is the distribution advantage especially for SMS/MMS barcodes. A NFC phone or RFID ticket needs to be printed, uploaded, initialized and distributed. This is very old world.

Whats wrong with the 1D- and 2D barcode? The whole RFID lobby pushed the EPC standard for the Retail as the new barcode and made a big mistake. This simple standardized barcode is printed for free on a package, a RFID tag will never be free and that with products with hardly a couple of cents margin. This simple existing and proven standard can be printed and/or distributed through existing mobile and internet infrastructure. This is very new world :-)

Scott Shaffer said...


I think my post was misinterpreted.

While I think an RFID tag and mobile phone will offer some exciting possibilities, I am referring to PWWW and the endless opportunities when objects themselves create a network.

The 1d and 2d codes are an example of "pull" technology, you click on the code to retrieve information.

A much bigger industry is mesh networks and the ability to "push" information, not just to a cell phone.

I dont think the opportunity in RFID will be in the retail side. I think anytime you play in WalMarts sandbox your margins disappear.

The much bigger opportunity is in developing recurring, wireless solutions for the manufacturers and retailers.

I kind of switched gears with this latest post, but I want to emphasize how big The Physical World Web will be.

Ron said...

Scott, No misinterpretations. In pondering on opportunities it is good to explore the non possibilities, possibilities wrongly hyped around EPC and now happaning again around NFC.

Sorry, still am very offensive against some developments around RFID, not the opportunities itself, like the merger between UPC and MIT AutoID Center into GS1 (how can a standarization organisation merge with the inventor of one of the RFID standards ???). Also critical about the marketing around it that really mispositioned RFID.

What you correcly point out RFID has bigger opportunities in mission critical processes, process optimisation and reading writing mission critical information. But that is allready happening in the Industry and slowly enters more visible area's like the beverage tracker.

I have seen wonderfull examples some of these operational for more then 10 years.....

Anonymous said...

I hadn't read your blog for a while - RFID is providing more opportunities for me than 1 & 2d barcodes - so it's refreshing to see this post!

Ron's on the money regarding combining mobile and RFID - opportunity and uncertainty are both in abundance. From my perspective yes, it's a new world, but one in which there's still space for little fish to innovate.

Humour me here - what do you believe RFID push technologies have over, say, bluetooth (apart from unit size, cost & power consumption)? By definition RFID is about identity, not telemetry/dynamic data, isn't it...