Startup Injects Pandemic Vaccine Cold Chain With a Healthy Dose of High-Tech

The combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology (AIoT) may be the biggest disruption to the industrial refrigeration industry since the invention of the first commercial ice-making machine two centuries ago.

In this second year of a modern pandemic, startup Youtiligent has developed an AIoT-based technology to help companies keep vaccines cold across complex distribution supply chains. Moving far beyond sensor-based temperature monitoring, Youtiligent’s promise is to securely capture real-time electric power anomalies in onsite commercial refrigerators, allowing distributors to take action before vaccine spoilage.

“Sensors that capture when a product’s temperature has decreased below the acceptable degree range are not effective when it comes to distributing something like the coronavirus vaccine,” said Avichai Belitsky, co-founder of Youtiligent. “We combined AI with IoT technology to deliver real-time alerts for cost-effective predictive and preventive maintenance. Organizations can act faster in making data-driven business decisions based on what’s happening in real time, such as sending in a repair technician before it’s too late.”

EKG for cooling appliances

Based in Israel, Youtiligent is piloting its offering with healthcare organizations in that country. Belitsky also expected high interest from refrigeration manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, as well as medical and other institutions with clinics, pharmacies, and research labs, such as hospitals and universities. The startup continues to serve customers in its original target markets that include the food and beverage and retail industries.

“This is what we call the ‘EKG for appliances,’ tracking electric current across compressors, engines, and pumps that power any cooling machine, whether it’s making ice cream to be sold the next week or cooling expensive chemicals that researchers can safely store and use over many years,” said Belitsky. “Every machine action has a unique fingerprint, and being able to track each one with algorithms yields valuable, actionable insights.”

Real-time data prevents problems, opens opportunities

When the customer connects a machine’s power cord into the Youtiligent “smart” plug at the wall socket, the solution’s AI and IoT technology translates the electric consumption signals, by machine part, into usage data that’s saved in the cloud. As the technology detects potential problems, it sends real-time alerts to designated contacts on any device. People can also view detailed historical activity dashboards for recordkeeping and proof of cold-chain compliance.

“Our plug-and-play solution delivers significant ROI with low total cost of ownership,” said Belitsky. “Manufacturers in some industries also like this solution because they can offer products-as-a-service, whether they embed Youtiligent into new refrigerators or as an aftermarket add-on to customers with existing machines.”

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Net2Grid

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at Net2Grid.

Bert Lutje Berenbroek has 20 years of experience in the semiconductor business with innovative companies in Silicon Valley and Boston. He started Net2Grid 10 years ago with the vision that access to real-time energy data is a necessary piece of the puzzle supporting the energy transition. In this interview, he talks about what his company has to offer and what’s next for Net2Grid.

What Does Net2Grid have to offer?

Bert Lutje Berenbroek: Net2Grid is an AI-enabled software company which turns energy consumption data into personalized and actionable insights, empowering end users to become energy efficient. Our clients are energy companies based in Europe, North America, and Australia who offer our products and services to their clients. Increasingly we see interest in our services by tech and financial corporations, too.

One concrete example of what our services can do is the successful collaboration we have with E.ON Germany. Net2Grid is the hardware, platform, and NILM (Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring) supplier of E.ON’s app iONA. Through iONA, customers can view and control their electricity consumption in detail, helping them prevent energy guzzlers, compare devices, and gain an overview of the breakdown of costs. E.ON Germany saw a customer engagement increase from 3 minutes/year to 120 minutes/year after adopting Net2Grid’s energy insight solution.

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STARTUPS, ACCELERATORS, AND CORPORATES: HOW ARE THEY CREATING VALUE TOGETHER?

Large corporates are looking to innovate from the inside out with accelerators, incubators, and other startup programs. Corporates are trying to tie in new developments that startups can ideate and test at a much quicker pace than a vast, cumbersome enterprise with 1000s of employees in multiple locations all over the world. But are these collaborations good for startups? And do the different programs, in turn, also have successes and great collaborations with various startups? 

In the panel “ Accelerator and Startups” at AsiaBerlin Summit last year, we spoke about the various types of programs on offer (from corporate programs to privately initiated ones to those for specific topics only or those bound to a certain time frame) and which pitfalls to avoid in order to make the collaboration a success for both sides.

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BigID Data Security Platform is SAP.iO’s First Startup Unicorn

SAP.iO reveals in its 2020 Impact and Insight Report that BigID, one of the its early investments and an SAP Solution Extension Partner, is the first startup unicorn in the SAP.iO portfolio with a valuation of over $1 billion. The company’s data security platform helps organisations secure customer data, satisfy privacy regulations, and manage risks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, following the emergence of increased remote work (brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic) and a rise in high-profile cyberattacks, risk-management and cybersecurity startups are in the spotlight among venture capitalists.

SAP.iO, SAP’s early-stage venture-capital arm, invested an undisclosed sum in BigID in multiple rounds between 2017 and 2019. As of December 2020, BigID announced a $70 million Series D on a valuation of $1 billion. 

In 2019, BigID and SAP forged a global reseller agreement, allowing SAP to sell two BigID powered products: SAP Privacy Management application by BigID and SAP Data Mapping and Protection application by BigID.

Now, more than ever, effectively managing risk and privacy compliance associated with big data is critical and a must for organisations. 

John Licata, Vice President and Fellow at SAP.iO Startup Accelerator explains:

“Data is increasingly valuable, and the backbone to AI, so tapping next-generation cybersecurity technologies is no longer a nice have. It’s a requirement to secure data and leverage it for growth opportunities. At least it should be for the modern enterprise that will witness over 500 billion connected things by 2030.”

Driving Innovation in Data Security

BigID is a recognised as a leader in data-centric personal data discovery and privacy, intelligence and automation. The cybersecurity startup has been bestowed with several awards for its innovative privacy technology, including:

  • 2018 RSA Conference Innovation Sandbox winner
  • CB Insights 2018 Cyber Defender
  • Network Products Guide 2018 IT World Awards “Hot Company of the Year” winner
  • 2019 InformationWeek Vendor to Watch
  • 2019 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer
  • 2020 Forbes Cloud 100
  • Business Insider 2020 AI Startup to Watch
  • Database Trend-Setting Products 2020

Dimitri Sirota, CEO and co-founder of BigID, explains how the startup’s data security platform provide the best of breed point solutions that address enterprise security gaps:

“Since starting in 2016, BigID has aimed to rethink how organisations provide data accountability to their customers through more intelligent data accounting. Before BigID, data privacy was largely about policy and process. BigID put data at the center, redefining how enterprises find, manage and protect their most important asset: their customer and employee data.”

The BigID data security platform leverages advanced machine learning (ML) and identity intelligence to help enterprises better protect their customer and employee data at petabyte scale. BigID’s technology enables organisations to manage IT complexities, minimise risk, and comply with ememerging data protection regulations such as the Europian Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

BigID also plans to expand its marketplace to third-party developers, offering them the ability to build applications on top of its data security platform. According to Sirota, the company aims to further accelerate sales and marketing in 2021.

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Every Return Saved Is a Win for Consumers, Brands, and the Planet

If the CEO of Presize has his way, clothing returns will be a relic of the past, and online retail brands will not sacrifice business for the sake of the environment.

The startup’s cloud-based app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate clothing sizes for individual online shoppers. Much more than welcome relief for anyone who has ever hesitated to buy clothing online because they were uncertain of their size, the tool reduces size-related product returns by 50% on average.

“Sustainability is core to our mission,” said Leon Szeli, co-founder and CEO. “Every product return we save is a win for the consumer, the brand, and the planet. Every item of clothing that consumers scan using our app means fewer returns. This contributes to a lower carbon footprint for the planet, less time wasted for shoppers, and greater cost-savings for retail brands.”

Sustainability Is the Perfect Fit for Online Shopping

Based in Germany, Presize serves well-known clothing apparel brands in that country and throughout Western Europe. Its online sizing tool has provided half a million recommendations to delighted consumers. Instead of second-guessing ambiguous size charts, shoppers simply click on the “find my size” button, answer basic questions that include their height, weight, and gender, upload a video of themselves if they choose, and then the algorithm provides their best size for that product. Behind the scenes, AI-fueled algorithms learn from dynamic data analyses.

“We constantly train the algorithm using data from hundreds of thousands of human shapes and other variables, plus stock-keeping units (SKUs) from clothing manufacturers, and layer that with product return information,” Szeli said. “Once someone saves their size ID, it can be applied to any brand that uses the Presize app, making shopping much easier. Shoppers can even share their size information with family and friends.”

According to Szeli, online retailers that use the Presize app on their website have increased conversion rates, meaning consumer sales, by up to 25%. As with any AI-based tool, user adoption is critical for calculation accuracy. Szeli said that approximately 10% of shoppers use the tool when it is available on a brand’s site.

“A big part of sizing uncertainty is the diversity between brands, Szeli explained. “Every product is different, and we want to help consumers regardless of what brand of clothing they buy.”

Digital Insights for Sustainable Results

Presize is the culmination of Szeli’s two major career passions: conducting research and having a positive impact on the world. As a university student in the U.S. and the UK, he focused on human trust in AI-based technology. However, he quickly realized that he wanted to accomplish much more than producing papers for niche audiences. When he met his co-founders, who were working with computer vision and AI, they embarked on a journey to literally change the world – beginning with online shopping.

“I wanted to do something entrepreneurial that would have a much wider impact and change people’s lives for the better,” Szeli said. “I saw the problem of product returns as a sustainability issue that wasted environmental resources, as well as time and money for businesses and their customers.”

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What the Rockefeller Center Tree Means for Last-Mile Deliveries

The celebrated Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrived in New York recently, ready to take its place as the epicenter of the 2020 holidays. This perennial centerpiece of millions of photos and family memories is a sparkly, over-the-top reminder that while many aspects of our lives are different this year, certain institutions and traditions will not be disrupted. But, where many look at the arrival of the tree and reflect on the pandemic’s impact on beloved holiday traditions, the last-mile delivery industry has a different view.

Last-mile professionals—networks of dispatchers and drivers that get goods and parcels from warehouses and distribution centers to retailers, businesses, and residential doorsteps—make it possible for so many people to stay safely home and receive the goods they need. But, even before the pandemic and the 2020 holiday season, the industry was already struggling to meet its efficiency and customer service goals while using legacy technologies.

Then, virtually overnight, COVID-19 accelerated customers’ willingness to shop online, adding volume to already stressed systems—e-commerce surpassed expectations and grew by over 30% this year. So instead of a measured, steady progression that last-mile teams could gradually absorb, the long-promised changes in customer behavior arrived at lightspeed. This condensed adaptation offered last-mile operations precious little time to match customer behavior or implement more modern, dynamic infrastructure.

Customer behavior has been massively influenced by the pandemic, reducing overall spending and changing purchasing plans. The Deloitte State of the Consumer survey offers a fascinating window into current consumer attitudes and concerns, including shopping intent, with grim implications for the retail sector, which has already seen several notable brands declare bankruptcy. For this year’s holiday shopping, many are expected to forgo Black Friday and crowded malls for the safety and efficiency of their nearest screen. They’ll rely on complex-yet-invisible processes to get purchases from their digital shopping basket to their doorsteps. And retailers are bracing for an expected surge to already high online sales. But exactly how do items get to the customer?

Once an order is complete, items are picked and packed at the local retailer or retailer’s warehouse. From there, packages are sent to a regional distribution center where they’re sorted, routed, and delivered by a driver. That last leg of the relay from the distribution center to the customer’s doorstep—the “last mile”—is an incredibly challenging and fast-moving industry. The logistics industry estimates the last-mile can account for up to 40% of total transportation cost. It’s where things can come together beautifully to deliver on a brand’s promise, or fall apart spectacularly, tarnishing reputations and customers’ goodwill.

So why is last-mile delivery so complicated? Mathematically, it’s one of the most complex problems to solve—how to efficiently route many vehicles with multiple stops and numerous other variables and constraints. In academic circles, it’s known as the Traveling Salesman Problem or TSP. It has applications ranging from logistics to DNA sequencing to chip design. In the real world, it’s a mix of mathematical and human factors.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Cloverleaf

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at Cloverleaf.

Cloverleaf brings team coaching to the entire enterprise. Cloverleaf integrates with the communication and productivity tools employees use every day like Google for Business, Microsoft 365 and Slack. It provides micro-coaching through these tools to improve work relationships that lead to better collaboration, more inclusive teams and improved leadership competency. In this interview, Darrin Murriner, CEO and co-founder of Cloverleaf, talks about what the company has to offer and what’s next for the startup.

E-3 Magazine: How does your solution work?

Darrin Murriner: Everyone starts by taking market recognized assessments like DISC or StrengthsFinder and can then get custom insights about their personal development. Anyone can create a team by inviting their teammates and then get custom insights about their unique roles on the team. Integrating their Cloverleaf account with Microsoft 365, Google Workplace or Slack will then open the door to custom coaching that improves work relationships.

What are the customer-side requirements?

Murriner: Anyone can get started with a web browser, no special client-side hardware is required. It can take as little as ten minutes to create your account and begin receiving custom coaching. 

Why did you start Cloverleaf to begin with?

Murriner: Kirsten Moorefield and I worked together at a digital video agency. During our time there we noticed the unique role that team interaction had on the success or failure of project-based work and wanted to bring transparency to the process of team formation and team performance. This started us on a quest to identify the right inputs, data visualizations and coaching opportunities to improve team development.

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The Circularity Gap: 630 billion reasons the U.S. should implement a circular economy

For 200+ years, our planet has accepted a linear economic model, where we harvest and extract materials, use them to manufacture some sort of product, and then either our employees or consumers elect to get rid of these items.

It’s easy to understand why this happens. We live in an age of constant innovation within our daily lives. Updates come out daily, apps are launched every week, and new products and technologies are being introduced at an alarming pace. These changes have created a culture in which valuable and accessible assets are often underutilized and consistently replaced with a modified newer version. This leads to the extensive storage of gently used items and assets, or, even worse, their direct disposal to a landfill, resulting in a massive environmental impact. In fact, of all the materials harvested from the Earth every year, we cycle back just 8.6%. Just two years ago, this was a shade over 9%.

According to Forbes, the United States could realize up to $630 billion in savings per year by implementing a circular economy if we could recover these resources.

$630 billion. In savings. Per year.

The Circularity Gap Shift

“The circular economy is based on three principles: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use at the highest possible value, and regenerating natural systems.”

– Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circular Procurement

To rise up and overcome the dangers and challenges of climate change and its ripple effect on communities, businesses need to shift their procurement decisions so that the material outputs of unwanted or idle resources become the inputs in new or repurposed products – by implementing the Circular Economy.

This shift to the circular economy is more than environmental impact. It’s about eliminating waste, but also it’s about maximizing the life-span of materials through innovation and creating the conditions necessary to foster innovation, creativity, and – ultimately – address societal needs.

It’s about creating a sustainable economic model that’s better for the globe and all of its inhabitants.

If we realize what is possible with $630 billion in savings per year, the redistribution of those savings can be directed to the people and places that need it the most. They can be used to incentivize organizations to continuously work to create a better home for our future generations.

And if the best results of our current linear economic model are: hemorrhaging savings each year, negatively impacting our climate, and pushing equitable practices out of reach, perhaps instead of asking ourselves, “Is shifting our procurement model worth it?”, we need to ask ourselves: “Can we afford not to modernize and evolve procurement and shift to a circular model?”

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What sports can teach entrepreneurs: Life lessons for business success

Sports teach discipline. In my case, athletics also taught me a lot about culture, as soccer wasn’t embraced in American when I was young.

Athletics provided an opportunity to play alongside some amazing friends who either came from or descended from different parts of the world, which prepared me for today’s workforce. The strongest companies recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion, and we operate in a global economy.

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Les relations simples : la nouvelle innovation venue des startups

Quelque part au cours de la vie économique du XXᵉ siècle, le monde de l’entreprise s’est peu à peu enfermé dans une conception froide, où le secret et l’opacité étaient devenues des notions fondamentales. La transparence fut alors souvent vue tantôt comme de la naïveté, tantôt comme un leurre. En centrant leur attention sur leur produit plutôt que sur leurs utilisateurs, les acteurs économiques, se positionnant en « sachants », se sont peu à peu coupés de leur client. Or ce monde a vécu. La transparence, l’expérience client, la conception collective et la réciprocité, incarnées par le nouveau souffle venu des startups, sont devenues des piliers de tout acteur économique contemporain. En d’autres termes, c’est l’avènement des relations simples. 

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Startup Boosts Industry-Wide Business Agility

The COVID-19 pandemic is an extreme test in business agility, particularly across some of the hardest hit industries like healthcare, supermarkets, and manufacturing. Iristrace, a European-based startup, has developed a cloud-based platform that one hospital in Spain is testing to provide better patient care regardless of unpredictable demands.

Healthcare providers can use the COVID Patient Record Management mobile app to monitor real-time data about everything from hospital bed capacity by room, to what equipment each patient is being treated with, and their vital signs.

“The algorithm helps simplify decisions for more informed and effective conversations about next steps,” said André Kingham, chairman of Iristrace. “Like most organizations, hospitals can’t easily rework IT systems to add new protocols. Our cloud-based solution allows the hospital to quickly evolve protocols and cascade compliance into patient care without IT expertise.”

Save time, reduce mistakes, improve patient care

Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners on the front lines can rely on the mobile app for continuity of daily patient care. Whether they are at the patient’s bedside or behind the scenes with testing and research, providers can use the app to reliably capture and analyze relevant information. This can speed up hospital admissions and patient transfers for surgery, and support safer handovers during shift changes along with better release decisions.

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How the SAP.iO Foundry TLV’s TVPage Brings Online Sellers to E-commerce

TVPage creates a touchless & engaging retail experience online through shoppable videos with savvy sellers.

As more and more brands have shifted to the E-commerce world as their primary sales channel, they seem to have forgotten one crucial player along the way: the seller. Especially today, as people are less frequently walking into stores and avoiding physical engagements altogether, the role of the online seller is critical; people buy from people, not ads. These sellers operate as brand ambassadors who represent the brand online, much like a salesperson would in a physical store.

The solution that seamlessly helps brands provide expertise and guidance to consumers through digital ambassadors? TVPage.

TVPage provides every brand the ability to turn on ambassador digital storefronts on their websites, empowering subject matter experts, in-store sales associates, influencers, and savvy customers to promote and sell their products online. With TVPage, brands transform their sales team into ambassadors who sell on their digital storefronts on the brand’s site, with an intuitive platform that measures results and commissions ambassadors on their actual sales. Today’s consumers depend more and more on recommendations to help dictate their purchasing decisions, and TVPage allows brands to seamlessly engage with their consumers through digital ambassadors.

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How Aiola’s “Non-Techie Friendly” Virtual Analyst Helps CPGs Maximize Performance

Today, business users are primarily responsible for a company’s core operational and commercial decision processes. However, these individuals are often disconnected from the advanced analytics and data teams in their organizations. Simply put, CPGs’ decision makers aren’t making enough data-driven decisions, and ultimately missing out on the opportunity to maximize sales and boost ROI.

Enter Aiola.

Aiola developed a super powerful virtual analyst that helps CPG managers in the sales, marketing, trade, and planning departments make better data-driven decisions. While an analyst’s mother tongue is “data science” and a sales manager speaks “business language,” Aiola‘s virtual analyst bridges the communication gap between teams.

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SAP.iO Foundries: Healthcare Startups Transform Pandemic Response

Healthcare startups are challenging longtime industry practices and assumptions, transforming everything from patient care to organizational efficiencies.

Two entrepreneurs recently participated in the latest healthcare-focused accelerator program at SAP.iO Foundry New York and shared their respective missions to help patients and providers in a vastly changed healthcare landscape.

Real-Time Intelligence Improves Time Management

Applying computer science and systems thinking to improve people’s lives has been a central tenet of Kishau Rogers’ career as an engineer and computer scientist. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amped up the mission behind her newest venture called Time Study. More than 35 hospitals throughout the U.S. rely on the startup’s “time intelligence” cloud-based platform, which uses machine learning to track how physicians, researchers, and other healthcare employees spend their time.

“Instead of just counting hours worked, we wanted to shift the concept of timesheets to a human-centered approach, elevating opportunities to improve people’s lives at work,” Rogers said. “Many of the time management issues we were already looking at, such as data silos and complexity, have only been amplified by the pandemic.”

Time Study has helped hospitals better understand fast-changing workforce movements, whether employees were hunting for scarce personal protective equipment (PPE), jumping into different care-giving roles onsite, or providing new patient services like telehealth. Some hospitals have improved data collection and reporting times by 80 percent and increased regulatory compliance by more than 120 percent.

“Having this platform during the crisis allowed hospitals to see the immediate impact on physician satisfaction levels and performance, as well as employee activities and workflow,” Rogers explained. “Many hospitals are using this data to make resource adjustments as they uncover work performance patterns. With real-time insights, they can better align resources while meeting quality patient care and evolving compliance mandates around patient care standards and reimbursement.”

Rogers was particularly excited about Time Study’s recently launched mobile app. In addition to selecting from time entry categories, healthcare workers can use voice notes to capture tasks in the moment, upload text messages, or time themselves as they perform activities. As the algorithm learns someone’s work patterns, people can spend less time on reporting.

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SAP.iO Accelerator Program, E.ON, and IEC Partner to Find Startups in the Utilities Space

SAP.iO has announced a collaboration with E.ON Innovation and Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) for its upcoming startup acceleration program in Tel Aviv. E.ON Innovation is the strategic innovation entity of E.ON, one of Europe’s largest energy companies, and both collaborators are clients of SAP.

The 12-week program provides startups with curated support from within and outside SAP, access to its technologies, and opportunities to work with SAP customers from around the world. The next program is designed to specifically focus on solutions for the utilities sector.

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