Since 2016, Webee worked with different business units and regions of Panasonic, helping them accelerate the deployment of various IoT solutions to reach the market on time, add efficiency and scale their businesses.
Jim French, President of Panasonic R&D shares his thoughts on how Webee help them reach their goals.
What attracted you to Webee?
We look for partners that can help us bring new technologies and ideas into our business. Webee has a unique vision for the future of connected devices which is in line with what our organization looks for in terms of innovation. Webee is very honest. They also have the ability to communicate as easily with our engineers as with our business executives.
What did Webee bring to your organization in terms of technology Innovation?
When you work on innovation the ability to solve complex problems in an effective way is critical, and that is what Webee helps us the most. From the beginning, Webee's toolset really helps us efficiently deploy solutions at a fraction of the time.
What is unique about Webee’s technology and services?
Webee has a combination of the technological vision, the capacity to deliver, and the human quality of the team.They make an extra effort to understand and adapt to our current business needs but they always keep an eye on what can be next and scalable for the future.
CES 2020 launch "Air Quality Monitoring Solution"
Learn more about the solution here.
By Lucas Funes, CEO & Founder
For the last several weeks, cities all over the world have been under shelter-in-place orders. While some areas are slowly easing restrictions, it could be months or more before activity goes back to “normal.” For companies, remote work is going to be standard practice for the foreseeable future, and especially for industrial manufacturing operations, remote monitoring will become a priority.
Working from home may become commonplace as companies choose to cut down on office space and encourage remote work even after the pandemic is brought under control. If staff members are working from home, companies can reduce office space or eliminate offices altogether.
Automation will allow organizations to operate even amid disasters. Previously, it’s adoption was met with some resistance, it was viewed as a “nice-to-have technology.” Now, given the circumstances industrial manufacturing operations has faced - automation has quickly become a must-have for businesses who want to come out of this successfully and also build more resilient operations. Let’s take a look at some ways the COVID-19 pandemic will reshape businesses.
What does the post-pandemic future look like for working environments?
As things continue to evolve, It’s hard to predict the future with certainty, but anyone can contemplate what might come to pass. Bill Gates, for example, has been warning about the risk of a major pandemic for years. Many medical professionals have been sounding the alarm as well. Still, people never saw it coming.
On the business side, we can’t say for sure what’s going to happen after this pandemic is brought under control. Things will “go back to normal” but what does that actually mean? The new normal may be quite different from the past.
Consider commutes. No one likes being stuck in traffic or on the subway. Yet many metropolitan areas are congested, especially during rush hour. Employees may be stuck on the road for an hour or more to and from home. Unsurprisingly, 54 percent of Americans now want to work remotely after the pandemic ends.
Some businesses may find the idea of remote work scary or intimidating. However, companies can take advantages of savings associated with downsizing or eliminating offices making work from home more tempting.
Many companies such as Amazon, Google, and others have been using remote employees and contractors for years. Remote work is a modern phenomenon. The Internet, streaming video services, online project management tools, and other platforms make work from home possible and relatively easy.
Further, in the so-called shut-in economy, online learning has become the norm. Companies can leverage this to increase employee training while reducing the need for expensive retreats. So while office work may be getting the most attention as far as virtual work goes, manufacturers may evolve dramatically as well, embracing new technologies and discarding outdated practices.
Even non-remote companies will undergo massive change
Many manufacturing and industrial facilities remained open during the outbreak. However, even in spite of the shutdown, essential operations have been closed and severely affected by in-house outbreaks of COVID-19.
While manufacturers initially resisted change, the shortcomings caused by a lack of preparation have become obvious. By using IoT and AI-driven automated processes, and leveraging data, companies can fortify supply lines and reduce the risk of being shut down by diseases.
A better understanding of inventory can also help companies prepare for outbreaks or other events that could affect supply lines - and, this has to do with having access to real-time data. Automation is no longer a “nice-to-have” solution - it is the only way companies can succeed in the post-pandemic world.
The Internet-of-Things can make manufacturing and industrial activity more responsive to unfolding events. AI can be used to help manage resources even as humans call in sick, helping increase efficiency and ensuring a steady supply of inputs and production.
Manufacturers need to accelerate technology adoption and the most effective way to do that is by adopting solutions that work with existing infrastructure, are easy to deploy, and guarantee immediate ROI, such as Webee’s Remote Monitoring Solution that is installed remotely in just hours without the need of technical expertise.
COVID-19 will create a paradigm shift
The COVID-19 outbreak started in China and quickly shut down supply chains across the globe. As this disaster proves, what happens in China won’t necessarily stay in China. Many companies are already re-examining their supply chains to ensure continuity in the event of the next crisis.
Some companies will leverage data and other resources to fortify and diversify supply chains. More manufacturing processes may relocate back to the United States and other fully-developed countries. Technology is a key ally on this transitional proceses. Automation, and AI, can help to take over the redundant tasks while reducing human error. Much of the work will be automated. So then, even if employees will need to stay home - the supply chain can withstand the disruption.
It’s time to embrace the types of strategic technologies that will prepare us for the future of business operations. We are all in this together so let’s get to work!
As the COVID situation unfolds, IIoT for Industrial Remote Monitoring Technology is set to play a growing role in COVID-19 response to help the manufacturing industry keep up with production demand and avoid any disruptions in the supply-chain.
Here are 4 key aspects in which technology can help the manufacturing industry.
Find more information about the Industrial Monitoring Solutions here.
Control Virus Spread and Hospital Demand Optimization
As the advance of COVID around the world unfolds, we felt the immediate need to see how we could contribute. We believe technology can become a deal-breaker in the way we face this global crisis, not only today but also as we rethink the future. We connected with our partners in Italy to put our technology at service to help work on this emergency situation.
“Innova for Italy” is an initiative by the Italian “Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization” that invites organizations from the private and public sectors to provide ideas and solutions for prevention, diagnostics, and monitoring of the spread of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on the whole national territory. We presented a solution to monitor and localize patients and control the spread of COVID-19.
Our team worked to adapt our tracking solution to be able to effectively track and monitor patients and hospital staff to control the spread of the virus. The sick patient or hospital staff holds a small tracker in his pocket. Every time they move inside or outside of the hospital facility the system alerts who they were in contact with, who are the people at risk and if the isolation is properly conducted. This solution allows real-time understanding of hospital capacity so they can fast identify what type of movement needs to be done between hospitals to optimize capacity and avoid dangerous and inefficient delays.
We hope our technology can contribute to mitigating COVID impact and we are looking forward to understanding and finding other ways in which we can contribute.
If you find any ideas that could benefit from our technology please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re excited to announce that Webee recently joined Microsoft for Startups, a new program that delivers access to technology, go-to-market and other benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base.
The initiative offers joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems. Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth.
"Collaborations with Microsoft will help us not only understand our clients needs better but also have access to leading technology to guarantee scalability" said Lucas Funes, CEO and Founder at Webee.
This is the beginning of a new collaborative path for Webee. Sign up and stay tuned for more news!
By Lucas Funes, CEO & Founder
As I kicked-off 2020 I attended some of the most important annual shows in the US to get a glimpse of how the future looks like in some of the most prominent industries. Started with Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, that since 1967 brings the latest technology innovations to the floor, NRF Annual Convention & EXPO, the flagship industry event of the National Retail Federation, and International Builder Show (IBS) the NAHB event that gathers home builders from all over the world. Here are some of my thoughts about what is next in terms of innovation.
It is not news that Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics are becoming the backbone of any decision making in any industry. As I walked the floor it was obvious to me that it comes down to either retail, home builder or consumer electronics: a strategy without the right data infrastructure can no longer be sustained. So if you haven't looked at your BI infrastructure, stop what you are doing and start planning how you will get in on the future.
The retail industry is evolving its processes with very sophisticated solutions for real-time analytics for inventory and supply chain. Retail business BI needs IoT, AI, and machine vision to optimize operations, logistics and supply chain in order to transform the business and fit into the new market trends and consumer demands. One example is a solution that uses drones and walking robots for inventory control and puts an end to many costly processes that have a direct impact on the customer experience, like making sure orders are shipped on time. Access to real-time analytics is key to optimize warehouses and facilities. With the imminent growth of e-commerce, retailers need to make sure they have the right logistics in place and that their operations can scale at the speed of market adoption. The fast-changing patterns in consumer behavior are certainly driving technological change.
The Home Builders industry is also going in the same direction with technological solutions to optimize the construction industry processes and ultimately build more efficient houses, faster. From automated processes and AI to predict supplies, to the visibility of workers' safety and productivity. Almost every critical process in the construction industry is being touched by technology with a strong sense of efficiency but also adding sustainability to the equation. During IBS, Panasonic presented the BUILDER Chowa Concept Home, an idea rooted in the past but aligned with the needs of the future: the spirit of Chowa, looking to evolve a very stalled industry and bridge the gap between what homebuyers want and what the industry can deliver. “The Chowa spirit of life balance, harmony, and connection to nature” looks for advances in areas such as materials selection, construction processes, air quality management and technology integration to create a health and wellness-focused environment, and a more sustainable footprint.
Launched in CES and IBS and powered by Webee Technology, the Panasonic’s Cosmos Healthy Home System brings the possibility to manage the home’s indoor air quality on a 24/7 basis sensing the air for VOCs, fine particles, carbon dioxide, and humidity, and automatically adjust airflow systems to remove air contaminants and bring in fresh, healthy air from the outside.
CES summarized the idea of industries and businesses of any type embracing technology at some point whether it is to offer new innovative customer experiences or to optimize long-time inefficiencies to critical processes that have a direct impact on their businesses. If I compare 2020 edition to my previous years at the show, there is a clear common ground on the use of data, I can see that even though there are many discussions around privacy, we as consumers somehow learned how to embrace it and make the best use of it to improve our daily lives, and we accept that.
The only aspect that we continue to work on is the discussion around sustainability and how we can speed to the use of data and technology to also guarantee a sustainable future. With some industries taking the lead and making tangible progress such as the auto and renewable energy industries we still have a long way to go on making technology and data more accessible and inclusive so that it can be applied to solve some of the most urgent issues towards the future. There is a power to technology innovation and it still needs to consider its role in creating a more inclusive and sustainable future.
Originally founded in Honolulu, SmartYields spans through the world covering millions of acres to connect farms and providing their customers with insights to optimize production processes to reduce food waste and create sustainable farming operations. Through quality data collection they solve major inefficiencies such as the lack of on-time accurate information that can make or break the yield and, therefore, all the hard work.
They came me up with a solution to eliminate manual work in extensive lands and ensure clients' visibility of the soil and crops to improve the irrigation system. That's where Webee steps in, solving connectivity issues, reaching even the most remote areas.
SmartYields needed a way to integrate what was already in place in their process: hardware and communication systems. They just needed them to, in a way, speak the same language and to reach remote areas with no issues, so they could detect anomalies in time to make crop-saving decisions.
See our use case to learn how our solution made it possible to develop a solution that improves irrigation efficiency to 99%.
By, CEO and Founder, Lucas Funes
For decades, the retail grocery industry has been adjusting to the newest state of normal -- a constant state of flux. While the industry has been known for it's slow pace of change, consumer preferences and industry disruptors are pushing for rapid transformation. For instance, many grocery chains have been changing their brand lines and taglines. One example is Kroger, who in response to consumer demand for healthier food, changed their tagline to "Fresh for everyone."
Unquestionably, brands who choose to ignore the trends will be left in the dustbin of history. Once uber-popular brands such as Blockbuster, Sears, Toys 'R' Us, and even Tower Records are no longer the market leaders or even competing in this day and age.
So then, let's take a look at emerging retail grocery technologies to be aware of in 2020.
1. Delivery driven e-commerce: Invariably, online shopping is not a new phenomenon. But, what's different is the trend of purchasing groceries online. With Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, Instacart, Walmart grocery delivery, Tom Thumb grocery delivery, and more -- retail grocery chains are really paying attention to the delivery trend.
In fact, Amazon recently announced free grocery delivery for Amazon Prime members and Walmart is offering unlimited grocery delivery. In the digital age, where we can get almost anything with a tap, it seems logical that grocery delivery would take off the way it has.
For retailers who wish to take part, it's critical to invest in the right technologies which enable accurate delivery logistics while ensuring food safety.
Recently, there have been many news headlines around food being delivered beyond their expiration date. Further, in conjunction with salmonella outbreaks, this type of coverage can wreak havoc on a grocery's reputation. With Webee's real-time dashboard, you can avoid the negative press with an alert system which can automate inventory monitoring.
2. Automation: Microsoft and Kroger have partnered to bring data-driven connected grocery stores to the mass market. The systems are powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and are designed to automate and expedite the shopping experience.
In addition, Microsoft and Kroger plan to package this retail-as-a-service (RaaS) platform for use by chains of any size. Then, there's Grabango, which designed technology to digitize every single item in store to facilitate a cashierless store. Four of Grabango's U.S. clients serve around 600 million customers annually.
It is quite clear that automation is inevitable. Amazon will offer a checkout-free solution through Amazon Go. Also, Walmart plans to use robotic shelf scanners, unloaders, and floor cleaners in the near future.
Certainly, repetitive tasks are not the best use of your employee's time and energy. The good news is Webee offers an infrastructure of sensors and software to ensure your staff only makes the most relevant use of their skills. Plus, Webee's alert system will always alert employees of an anomaly so that they can log refrigeration data manually when needed.
3. In-store experiences: The tech-savvy customer has high expectations. In fact, they want enjoyable and personalized shopping experiences across all retail channels -- but, especially if they are in store. Despite the fact that e-commerce is demonstrating a strong showing, 97% of shoppers will still find a need to visit stores in person. Yet, over half of consumers find that the retail environment is still not as inviting as they expect.
As a result, innovative stores are constantly searching for new ways to increase foot traffic such as through samplings, education, rich customer data, and entertainment. With these methods, technology plays a critical role in terms of collection and analysis of customer data.
At Webee we help ensure food items are sold at the highest quality by utilizing both humidity and temperature control. Offering high-quality products serves to improve the in-store experience. Moreover, the demand for better quality food items continues to grow. Every year, hundreds of thousands of consumers are hospitalized as a result of food-borne illnesses.
Although, this daunting statistic can be reduced though by employing robust food safety practices for both fresh produce and frozen foods. Also, the FDA recommends that perishable food, sitting at room temperature, should be discarded after two hours. This leaves little leeway for grocers in terms of keeping foods at their freshest.
4. Changes in shopping composition: According to a Nielson report, consumers are spending less money stocking up on pantry items and spending more money on fresh produce. For starters, this equates to more frequent purchases based on the type of meal they want to prepare for the day. Meal services such as Blue Apron have taught consumers the value of planning daily vs. weekly menus to eat foods when they're the most fresh. So then, retail grocers must stay on top of the food quality they offer to consumers.
It goes without saying that changes in purchasing behavior will impact the quantity and frequency with which you stock inventory. With Webee's user-friendly dashboard, you can quickly view patterns and fluctuations in your refrigerations units. With this meaningful data, you can then be better prepared for inventory and capacity planning to ensure you have the infrastructure in place to keep your inventory fresh and free from spoilage.
The year 2019 has certainly been an interesting year for retail, and 2020 will come with intriguing innovations for grocery delivery, automation, and connected networks. There isn't any doubt, the latest trends in retail groceries will push the technological envelope. With all of these changes on the horizon, retailers should also continue to incorporate food safety strategies into their game plan to ensure success in the years ahead.
Food deterioration is a major point of concern for the Food Industry during its production, handling, storing, food preparation or commercialization. Whether it is about massive losses of stock, health related issues, fighting hunger, or environmental deterioration impacted by production, the lack of quality and wholesomeness affects everyone. In fact, over $35 billion a year is lost due to food spoilage. As a result, it's imperative to understand the importance of maintaining food quality and prevent spoilage.
These recent events are proof of the urgent need for Food Industry organizations to embrace practices that prevent food-borne illnesses and guarantee quality standards.
Consumers' definition of food safety is evolving
A recent Salmonella outbreak in the US, has sickened 10 people and caused one death with people affected in California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak is believed to be connected to ground beef.
With more of these unfortunate news consumers are demanding better and more efficient proof of quality. They used to define food safety as consumable items free of harmful ingredients and chemicals. Today, consumers also want clear information on the ingredient list, accurate labeling, and no additional additives. Moreover, they will only purchase from brands they deem as safe.
Restaurants are having food spoilage problems too
Case in point, Chipotle has had quite a few reports of food borne illnesses within their restaurants caused by a bacteria called clostridium perfringens. Between July 26 and July 30, 647 Chipotle customers endured gastrointestinal symptoms. You see, the bacteria form when food is left out and at unsafe temperatures.
What about power shut-offs -- how would they affect food safety?
Recently, PG&E confirmed the shut off power of 17 counties on Oct. 23 in California due to strong winds and the potential for a major wildfire. How can the food industry keep perishables safe during a power outage? To keep many foods safe for human consumption, they must be kept refrigerated to prevent yeasts, molds, and bacteria from growing. You see, without the right moisture, and temperature, control - food would deteriorate at the behest of these types of pesky microorganisms.
Say, for instance, the lack of refrigeration caused E.Coli to proliferate in food. Then, consumers ingested these items and immediately exhibited the symptoms of stomach cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Could your organization handle the damage to your brand and business reputation?
The power outages only serve to shine a spotlight on the already-rampant food safety concerns. If food has already been exposed to bacteria and mold, the inability to refrigerate the items would only exacerbate the issue. This could equate to thousands, if not millions, in lost revenue.
How can technology help improve food safety?
As the food industry continues to grow, to meet the evolving tastes and demands of their target audiences, it is critical to ensure visibility in food quality tracking. Not to mention, the right environmental conditions must be met at all times.
What’s needed? Technology can be used to prevent food spoilage, and different food-borne illnesses, with real-time tracking and monitoring features. In fact, the FDA recently announced that it plans to leverage technology to create more traceable and safer food system contributing to the advances being made in FDA’s implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Are you ready to guarantee freshness? It is not necessary to implement extensive solutions, Webee's user-friendly solution, with a plug-and-play installation, provides real-time monitoring for temperature, humidity, and other variables. Don't be the next food company to receive negative headlines. See it for yourself and sign up for a free trial today.
Amazon has changed the game of retail forever. They not only have innovated new forms or distribution but have changed how consumers buy. From streaming content to same day delivery, Amazon is delivering new and innovating experiences to consumers.
However, this technology and retail giant is experiencing an unexpected selling failure. Recently, the retail has come under sharp criticism for delivering food items well past their expiration dates. While some expiration dates aren't set in stone, it has been discovered that food items have been shipped out that are months or even a year past their expiration date. This comes as a shock to consumers as they begin the question of the retailer’s delivery capability and commitment to quality.
Andrea Wilson purchased Hostess Brownies on Amazon that were over a year past their expiration date - but, she had already eaten one before she noticed. In an interview she shared, "It didn’t occur to me that you could even sell something that was expired. If I had bought it the first time and it was like that, I never would have bought it at all.”
Ironically, if this scenario were to happen at your local grocery store, you might expect a bevy of suits and string of negative Yelp! reviews. The damage to the store’s reputation would have rippling repercussions that could cause them to go out of business.
For a technology company, the lack of oversight points to glaring loopholes in Amazon's logistics system. Expiring items are being sold, and shipped, without much accountability. Amazon's marketplace also continues to grow, which worries consumer safety advocates who believe this will only expand upon the problem. Many are not convinced that Amazon has figured out how to scale the food business.
If it can happen to Amazon, it can happen to you
Despite Amazon's size and financial resources, they are not invincible to the complexities around food safety. Another issue is, that expired food items can leave people sick or worse. In the digital age, consumers demand even more transparency and food safety.
Okay, enough about Amazon. The point is, food safety is everyone's concern. What could Amazon have done better? In what ways can your company improve the way it handles and transports food items?
Let us know what you think about the way companies are making sure they sell high-quality products and how can they use technology to make it happen.