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Cogniac Provides Trimac Transportation with AI Visual Operations Intelligence Platform

Cogniac Corporation (“Cogniac”), a San Jose, California-based provider of enterprise-class Artificial Intelligence (AI) image and video analysis, today announced its partnership with Trimac Transportation (“Trimac”), one of the largest transportation service companies in North America. The partnership implements Cogniac’s proprietary visual data processing platform throughout Trimac’s document identification and filing processes.

Cogniac designed, and is deploying, the document imaging solution to boost operational efficiencies within Trimac’s billing process. With 3,400 team members and more than 140 branches located throughout North America, Trimac is seeking to leverage Cogniac’s machine vision to drive efficacy in the classification and organization of the millions of documents uploaded, digitally filed, and invoiced throughout the year.

“We believe our AI vision is an excellent fit for Trimac’s unique needs in operations,” said Vahan Tchakerian, Chief Partnership Officer at Cogniac. “By utilizing our platform’s abundant collection of visual data, Trimac will be able to glean important information more quickly and efficiently from uploaded documentation. Our technology is designed to drive productivity at enterprise scale by advancing the management of operational logistics.”

Trimac’s integration of the Cogniac system will provide support and process infrastructure to allow Trimac to focus on their commitment to providing high-quality bulk shipping solutions with a secure supply chain, by accelerating the document digitization process, optimizing workflows, and allowing the company to strategically redeploy employees throughout a range of operations.

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Turn Waste Into Value With Analytics

Trusting your data, telling stories about your success and knowing that every act, no matter how small, can help win the fight against waste was some of the advice shared by Queen of Raw and Topolytics, two gamechangers in waste management at the recent SAP Sustainability Summit panel discussion about orchestrating ecosystem innovation for impact.

“Zero waste can only be achieved with the help of data,” said Michael Groves, Founder and CEO of Topolytics, a data analytics business for waste managers. “Data shows public and private players exactly what is happening to their waste and will help them build better intervention options and create closed loops for recovery.”

Groves was one of the people on the boat hosting the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit (OPLS) in 2019, a research expedition to better understand the scope of plastic pollution and to develop cross-industry solutions and partnerships to solve this global challenge over the next decade.

Seeing is believing

Whenever the ship approached clumps of sargassum seaweed, the participants would stop their meetings and jump into zodiac boats with their snorkeling gear. But they didn’t see any fish. And at first, they didn’t see much plastic either. That’s because it’s often not visible. Plastic in the ocean breaks down into small particles that are caught in seaweed and ingested by marine creatures.

“What you don’t see is the real problem,” says Groves, winner of the Circular Economy 2030 challenge sponsored by SAP and Google that year. A geographer who was appalled by the amount of plastic he encountered in South East Asia long before people began talking about the crisis, Groves believes waste is still not getting the attention it desperately needs.

While we may not actually see the damage, the data is irrefutable. An alarming 60 percent of waste produced in cities around the world gets dumped or leaked into the environment, and an equally alarming 61 percent of people globally don’t have access to proper waste management infrastructures. It’s a thorny problem because the waste value chain is very complex and opaque, with many private and public sector players and a significant informal sector around the world. To make matters worse, there is a huge mix of materials, each requiring different methods of recovery and recycling.

Realizing that money follows data, Groves developed a solution that uses analytics and machine learning to follow trash as it travels. Clear data and insights are fundamental to spurring investments in new infrastructure and innovation in the sector. With useful data available about what waste is where and in what quantity and quality, companies can then procure this waste much more effectively and bring the materials back into their production processes through platforms like SAP Ariba software.

Debunking myths

“Many companies think they know what’s going on with their waste, but they are usually surprised by the truth,” he says. “There is huge potential to unlock economic and social value that is currently just draining away!”

One person helping fashion retailers stop the drain is Stephanie Benedetto, co-Founder of Queen of Raw, a marketplace to buy and sell unused textiles, from organic cotton to some of the highest quality luxury deadstock fabrics that would otherwise be burned or buried.

Benedetto was inspired by her childhood experiences growing up in an immigrant family in the Garment District of New York. Her grandfather would collect unused clothes from the neighborhood and repurpose them into beautiful, fashionable items for local sale. It was a profitable, sustainable business that inspired her when she later became a corporate attorney on Wall Street, specializing in technology and sustainability. When the crash came in 2008, she decided to start her own company.

When Benedetto first started talking to brands and retailers about sustainability years ago, it was seen as nice to have. People responsible for sustainability were new in the position, and they did not have big budgets. Her first big challenge was debunking the myth that sustainability has to cost a lot of money.

She realized that retailers became paralyzed when faced with objectives such as becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2030. “You wouldn’t know where to start on day one if you heard that. It’s too much, too fast,” she says. “We go to the retailers and help them pinpoint the valuable waste in their supply chain. We look at their unused inventory and their deadstock. We help them sell it on the marketplace, and we provide tools to minimize waste going forward.”

Once the retailers are making money on their unused inventory, she explains, they can start putting their savings into doing other good work such as paying their workers better wages and using innovative technology and sustainable materials without increasing overall capex expenditure.

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Gappify, Inc. Announces Closing of Equity Financing

Gappify, Inc. (“Gappify”), a provider of digital workers for the accounting enterprise, today announced that it has completed a financing round led by Stage 2 Capital. As part of the transaction, Stage 2 Capital Managing Partner, Jay Po, will join Gappify’s Board of Directors.

Gappify, whose team consists of former accountants and KPMG auditors, will use the funding to invest in new product development and accelerate sales and marketing efforts.

“Gappify is excited to build innovative, industry-leading products that help corporate accountants close their books faster and in a compliant and efficient manner,” said Jotham Ty, CEO and founder of Gappify. “This investment will enable our team to develop autonomous solutions for more processes within the Controllership, and provide our customers an enhanced experience with robust capabilities and deep system integrations.”

“We were impressed with Gappify’s vision for modernizing the accounting profession,” added Stage 2 Capital’s Jay Po. “With more CFOs prioritizing efficiencies and compliance in their accounting organization, we see an enormous opportunity to partner with Gappify to accelerate digital transformation efforts and create immediate value for the Controllership function.”

Other participants in the financing round include SaaS Ventures, Manila Angel Investor Network, Pasudeco Investment Management Corporation, Overtime.vc, and former Oracle CFO Jeff Epstein.

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Cogniac Announces Visual Operations Intelligence Platform for Cloud-based Solutions from SAP

 Cogniac Corporation (“Cogniac”) today announced that its Visual Operations Intelligence platform is now available on SAP® Store. Cogniac’s AI, machine vision platform complements the industry cloud portfolio from SAP for automotive and industrial machinery and components industries and integrates with SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud, delivering an AI-based approach to customers looking to extract value from their visual data.

“Today marks an important moment in Cogniac’s growth,” said Vahan Tchakerian, chief partnership officer at Cogniac. “Through our valuable experience in the SAP.iO Foundries program and our partnership with SAP, businesses that use SAP solutions will now have access to Cogniac technology. By offering our platform on SAP Store, we are able to scale more efficiently and deliver exceptional performance in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.”

Cogniac’s Visual Operations Intelligence platform uses no-code AI, enabling companies to maximize the value of their visual data. By integrating with SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud, capabilities of the Cogniac platform are now accessible within the solution’s architecture, providing advanced AI machine vision technology across a variety of industries.

For customers in the automotive, rail, manufacturing, government, logistics, packaging and kitting, and safety and security industries, Cogniac’s AI machine vision platform drives significant process improvements. Through better defect detection, safer operations and increased efficiencies, Cogniac supports many customers looking to achieve Industry 4.0 standards, reduce costs, and optimize their processes.

Building on the Intelligent Enterprise strategy, SAP is expanding its vertical solutions with an ecosystem of industry cloud applications. These solutions complement the existing SAP portfolio to extend the value of joint customer investments.

“The Visual Operations Intelligence platform developed by Cogniac complements our portfolio and enables an AI-based approach to customers looking to extract value from their visual data,” commented Stefan Krauss, SVP General Manager Discrete Industries and Energy and Natural Resources at SAP. “This is a prime example of how co-innovation between our organizations can deliver value for customers. We look forward to continued collaboration with Cogniac to create innovative cloud solutions and applications for customers who want to drive cost-effective and sustainable growth in their industry.”

SAP recently brought together SAP Store and SAP App Center into one single marketplace at store.sap.com. It delivers a simplified and connected digital customer experience for finding, trying, buying, and renewing more than 1,800 solutions from SAP and its partners. There, customers can find the SAP solutions and SAP-validated partner apps they need to grow their business. And for each purchase made via SAP Store, SAP will plant a tree.

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Exploring How Diversity Fuels Innovation at the Intersection of Supply Chain, Technology, Sustainability, and Gender Equity with Sallie Jian

In episode 50, you’ll hear insights on top skills needed in the tech world, what’s driving leadership in global supply chains, the common threads of success in scaling innovation, and how to leverage the SDGs in your partnerships and hiring practices.

Listen as Sallie Jian shares why she decided to lead the SAP.iO NY foundry.

BigID Raises $70M to Become New York’s Newest Unicorn

’s estimated that the total amount of data is expected to reach 59 zettabytes this year with 90% of that data created in the last two years alone. With such an exponential increase in data, companies are racing to protect the data they maintain and regulatory initiatives like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act are formalizing standards.  BigID is the data intelligence platform that leverages advanced machine learning and automation to allow customers to seamlessly protect sensitive data, be compliant will data privacy laws, and ensure compliance with data sharing requirements.   The company offers a foundation product that provides companies with visibility of all their data across the data landscape and additional apps provide added intelligence and specialized insight into privacy, protection, and perspective.

AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Dimitri Sirota to learn more about the data protection ecosystem the company has built, its future plans, and recent round of funding, which comes at a $1B valuation and brings the total funding raised to $216.1M for the company founded in 2016.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

This was our Series D round. Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global co-led the round with participation from Glynn Capital and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures.

Tell us about the product or service that BigID offers.

BigID’s data intelligence platform enables organizations to know their enterprise data and take action for privacy, protection, and perspective.  Customers deploy our product to proactively discover, manage, protect, and get more value from their regulated, sensitive, and personal data across their data landscape. Our ML-based data discovery foundation helps organizations know their data across their entire data landscape (from mainframe to cloud to on-prem), and our app framework lets you action that data – we have apps for privacy, security, and governance that range from a data risk app to a data retention app to a data remediation app and more.

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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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Inspiring FinTech Females 2020: the Top 50 Women Transforming Financial Technology

NYC FinTech Women, an organization created to connect, empower and promote women to advance their careers in financial technology (FinTech), continues to celebrate and recognize women who are driving innovation, leading through difficult times and inspiring the community. In its second year, the Inspiring FinTech Females award recognizes 50 leaders who epitomize the organization’s mission to strengthen the ecosystem across five categories: Founders, Leaders, Money Movers, Network Builders and Product Builders.

“Women are often the ones fighting for equality and this list not only highlights the incredible talents but also celebrates the change agents working within the industry for us all to someday realize equality,” said Edwina Johnson, COO of Alloy & NYC FinTech Women Steering Committee Member. “These are not empty words or hollow pledges for change, these are the people making change happen and innovating the finance industry from a technology point of view and demographic point of view.”

“So many women are doing impactful work behind the scenes, it is time for a list like ours to celebrate them and bring them to the forefront,” added Larissa Carrera, Associate Director of LeFrak Investment Holdings & NYC FinTech Marketing Committee.

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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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The Eyes Have It: The Future Of Human-Machine Relations

Has this ever happened to you? Shopping for fresh vegetables at your local market when you notice that special someone across the aisle? And when your eyes lock, you know there is that kind of Mona Lisa smile directed at you behind the mask. You can’t help but feel the sparks fly and that something amazing is about to happen – just from a single look.

That’s what one company is planning to make happen in the workplace of the future. But with a twist! This kind of eye contact is all about making the daily work of employees more convenient, ergonomically-friendly, and even fun by controlling applications based on user intention – via eye tracking.

The future of human-machine interaction

Munich-based enterprise software company 4tiitoo is a leader in eye track interaction. Their mission – to make work more productive, healthy, and attractive to workers.

4tiitoo’s Natural User Interaction to all Applications software platform, or NUIA, revolutionizes the way people interact with devices by using machine learning to model eye control/tracking to predict user intention.

This kind of hands-free eye control provides increased efficiency and a better user experience for people (like me) glued to their workplace computer by reducing mouse-click interactions.

An escape from the perpetual mouse trap

This may be hard to believe, but the humble, ever-steadfast computer mouse is now over 50 years old. And let’s be honest. It has not evolved enough to address the enormously complex and rapidly evolving human-machine computing environments.

Think about it. 4tiitoo posits that an average user like you or I will make thousands of mouse clicks, maybe even tens of thousands, in a given work week and cover several kilometers a day of mouse movement.

With 20-30% a day spent on mouse interactions, user productivity is not what it could be. Plus, that little mouse is still not the healthiest of interfaces to use in terms of repetitive motion stress.

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Exploring Circular Technology That Enables Sustainability, Inclusion, Net-Zero Waste, and Circular Cities with Dr. Garry Cooper of Rheaply

Dr. Garry Copper, neuroscientist turned sustainability technologist and circularity advocate had a pivotal moment – that our field is one-noted and we need to build a reuse bridge to capture value left in materials to transition to a sustainable world, a fly-wheel of wealth for communities who have been left out in the linear economy. Led by curiosity and studying how people remember and forget, he stumbled on CE, and his life was changed forever. He is the CEO of a Chicago-based technology start-up Rheaply that helps manage material flows and the life cycle of assets in the circular economy through reuse, realizing the 4.5 trillion dollar opportunity. 

I met Garry a few months back at a Green Biz event and had chills after hearing him evangelize how the “circular economy can only be realized when it’s real for everyone, and everyone can participate. Materials flow everywhere.” I was blown away as he described his purpose “to make his story not remarkable,” empowering more people and particularly women of color to participate and not just be a passive stakeholder in making our communities sustainable. Rheaply is a part of Circular-City Chicago in tri-sector partnerships including local non-profit community champions. We pull on the threads of digital divide and food sovereignty, and hydroponic farming in Chicago too.

The future is bright. In Episode 45, he explores his journey as someone who wants to make an impact, and a black man in an almost exclusively white environment for most of his career. His dream for Rheaply is to operationalizing a net-zero waste strategy and help businesses be efficient in a COVID world by reducing holding and carrying costs, capturing material value and leveraging spend avoidance. However, we diverge and in a provocative discussion to explore the business case “let’s keep our marketplace on Earth” (not to be missed)!

As we unpack the business model emergency for circularity, the big question emerged…has COVID accelerated or decelerated climate and sustainability transition? We talk about recent weather disruptions and fires in California, and the burning question is “can you do business when folks can’t go outside?” The Earth is the business case. It’s not climate change, it’s a climate emergency. We also talk about doing the right thing particularly when it comes to social responsibility in forced child labor and the black lives matter movement. Do either of these pressing social issues really “need” a business case or is this a space to step up and be good stewards in business?

One of Rheaply’s key partners is SAP and Rheaply is currently in the SAP.iO Foundry. Big shout out to John Licata at SAP.iO. Garry explores his journey as a start up founder with lessons earned for other technologists. Also shout out to John Holm, a friend of Supply Chain Revolution from Pyxera Global, and a Circular Cities-Chicago advocate. Also, shout out to Harold Chapman for all the work you do to feed and teach the students in Chicago that there is sustainable way to live, eat, and learn. 

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Computer vision in supply chain – a chat with Cogniac

Cogniac is a company that uses convolutional neural networks to quickly and painlessly automate visual inspection tasks in all kinds of scenarios.

I invited Cogniac CEO Chuck Myers, and Cogniac CTO and co-founder Bill Kish to come on the podcast to tell me more, and we had a fascinating conversation where I learned how their solution is being used in scenarios as diverse as railroads, automotive companies, and timber yards.

To learn how supply chain leaders improve end-to-end supply chain visibility, download the research study of 1,000 COO’s and Chief Supply Chain Officers – “Surviving and Thriving How Supply Chain Leaders minimize risk and maximize opportunities


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Foundry New York startup Rheaply Featured on The Digital Supply Chain podcast

We live on a planet of finite resources so it makes a lot of sense to make the maximum possible use of all the resources we have. This is the fundamental tenet underlying the Circular Economy (which we have talked about previously on this podcast), and it is also the principle that Rheaply is building a platform to address.

Rheaply is a startup working with the SAP.io foundry in New York and they have developed a platform to allow organisations maximise use of their assets, saving money in the process, and avoiding unnecessarily sending items to landfill.

Rheaply’s Chief of Staff, and Head of Sustainability to joined the podcast to come on the podcast and explain how Rheaply works.

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Podcast: Digitizing your inventory with 3D printing – a chat with Ivaldi CEO Espen Sivertsen

I’m a big fan of 3D Printing, and have been ever since seeing the Replicator on Star Trek! So, when I heard that one of the Ivaldi, one of the startup companies in the SAP.io New York Foundry was in the 3D Printing space, I was very keen to chat with them.

Espen Sivertsen, the CEO of Ivaldi, graciously agreed to come on the show and we had a fantastic chat about how Ivaldi is helping organisations digitise their inventory (and we got to hear from his 3 year old daughter!).

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast – feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

To learn how supply chain leaders improve end-to-end supply chain visibility, download the research study of 1,000 COO’s and Chief Supply Chain Officers – “Surviving and Thriving How Supply Chain Leaders minimize risk and maximize opportunities”.

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