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meQuilibrium and Executive Networks Release New Report on Trends Driving Successful Hybrid Work

Despite embracing new remote and hybrid work, employees fear being left behind in career advancement if they are not working onsite. A third of employees (32%) prefer the hybrid environment but nearly half (43%) believe in-person work is best for their career advancement. That’s according to a new survey of 912 full-time U.S. workers, “The New Hybrid Workplace, Built on Resilience, Transparency, and Trust,” co-authored by Jan Bruce (meQuilibrium) and Jeanne Meister (Executive Networks).

“It is no longer true that being physically present in the office results in more opportunities for career advancement, as the past two years of remote and hybrid work have shown,” said Jeanne Meister, Executive Vice President, Executive Networks. “For those employees working hybrid or remotely, the avenues for increasing their visibility within the organization are not always clear-cut.”

HR policies have largely focused on supporting on-site workers, because they traditionally have comprised the majority of the workforce. In fact, before the pandemic, only 6% of those employed worked primarily remotely and about three quarters of workers had never worked remotely, according to NCCI. But as more employees experience the value and flexibility of hybrid work, leaders must re-imagine the business landscape and communicate these changes to every employee.

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Career And Business Advice From VC Investors And A Billion-Dollar Female Founder

PS27 Ventures, an early-stage investment firm founded by Jim Stallings, hosted the Female Founders Forum on March 4, 2022, which among the speaker line up, included a panel of venture capitalists, as well as Ellen Latham, founder of Orange Theory Fitness, an exercise franchise that hit $1 billion in sales in 2018.

There were multiple takeaways specific to entrepreneurship — from what makes a good pitch deck to how to appeal to investors. However, many of the insights were also relevant for solopreneurs who don’t intend to raise money or even in-house professionals who don’t plan to start a business.

Tailor your message

“What can you do to make it easy for the investor to preview the company? Write up the email so it embeds the top 3-5 things to see right away. Make it easy to click on your website….If you’re on a pitch night, tailor to the audience. Create a 30-second, 1-minute and 5-minute elevator pitch, plus the pitch decks. You want different formats for audiences, for an initial introduction, for detailed in-person meetings. Accommodate…” — Sallie Jian, SAP.iO New York

SAP.iO is an incubator within SAP, the software company. Jian’s advice to make it easy on the investor is transferable to any relationship you’re trying to nurturecurrent boss, prospective employer, customer, colleague or other collaborator. While Jian’s example focus on good email writing (so important!), it also applies to your LinkedIn profile (include an easy way for people to get in touch) or even email signature (include your website or LinkedIn URL so people can easily learn more about you).

Creating multiple pitch formats depending on where you are is another gem applicable to both business owners and professionals. You want to have different ways of introducing yourself (the networking pitch) because, depending on the situation, you will have more or less time and your audience will want to know or need to know different things about you. Accommodating your audience, as Jian rightly puts it, is a way of showing you understand and respond to their needs.

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Walmart Canada Is The First Major Canadian Retailer to Offer Carbon-Neutral Last Mile Delivery

Walmart Canada is the first major retailer in Canada to offer carbon-neutral last mile delivery for e-commerce purchases sold and shipped by Walmart, including online grocery.

This Walmart-funded program will offset an estimated 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking over 5,000 cars off the road, in its first year. This program is incremental to Walmart’s global ambition to achieve Zero Emissions by 2040 without the use of offsets for scope 1 and 2 emissions. Funding carbon offsets for last-mile delivery of e-commerce purchases, including online grocery, allows Walmart Canada to make an immediate impact while working with our third-party carriers to reduce emissions along with us.

Carbon offsets allow companies and consumers to fund projects that reduce the effects of climate change, compensating for the emissions created from actions like transportation. Walmart has engaged EcoCart, a sustainability technology company, to calculate and validate the emissions created from online orders and to purchase carbon offset credits from high-quality projects in the exact dollar amount required to reduce or avoid those emissions.

“Funding carbon offsets for last-mile delivery in our eCommerce operations is an opportunity for Walmart to make an impact today as we work towards becoming a regenerative company and eliminating emissions across our business,” explains Laurent Duray, SVP, eCommerce, Walmart Canada. “Minimizing the environmental impact of the last mile has been top of mind as customer behaviour has shifted towards increased reliance on our fast, easy and convenient delivery options for grocery and online orders.”

The projects Walmart’s offsets will support are aligned with the company’s journey to becoming a regenerative company and will support a portfolio of Canadian-based initiatives that work to either actively remove carbon from the atmosphere or prevent future carbon from being emitted. The project portfolio is projected to include initiatives that protect forests, enable composting and waste diversion, aid with refrigerant management, and turn biomass into fuel. These Walmart-supported projects will also ensure they benefit the communities as part of their scope with key economic and environmental elements such as providing jobs, education opportunities, or protecting endangered species and biodiversity.

EcoCart is proud to collaborate with Walmart Canada as they become the first major retailer in Canada to offer a carbon-neutral last-mile delivery,” said Peter Twomey, COO, EcoCart. “It’s so exciting to see industry leaders like Walmart work toward a more sustainable future that benefits everyone. By funding offsets on behalf of their customers for last-mile delivery, Walmart is making a positive impact on our collective efforts to regenerate the environment.”

Along with calculating and validating Walmart’s last-mile emissions and sourcing and vetting high-quality carbon offset projects, EcoCart will also be providing quarterly impact and emissions reporting. This reporting will allow Walmart to track estimated emissions and establish benchmarks for its third-party carrier partners.

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Analyst Cam: Algramo – Redefining CPG plastic packaging

Analyst Cam: Carlos Oliveira of Algramo presents on a different way to package and consume CPG products. Reduced plastic pollution, bite size economics, other benefits.

Algramo’s delivery mechanism is a vending machine dispenser where consumers refill in their reusable smart containers. Carlos says these containers can last up to 250 uses. RFID IDs in the containers and mobile apps help track consumption, container life and reuse patterns and also have a gamification angle. Carlos goes into some of the dispensing and sanitation technology.

The value propositions – Retailers save on shelf space. Producers like Unilever, Nestle, Colgate and Clorox are some of their customers who ship in bulk and save on packaging. Consumers pay for bite-size purchases at their point of need e,g, detergents are sold in public laundromats.  The world benefits from reduced plastic pollution. Carlos presents on data on their plastic, water and C02 savings.

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Startup of the Month: VNTANA 3D Commerce Solution & Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) has been entangled in the recent whirlwind of metaverse chatter on the internet. Though, as a practical tool, the power of AR to substantially move sales for retailers is evident. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen rapid advancement in AR capabilities and brands are seeing the benefit of applying this technology in their sales and marketing strategies. Signaling the widespread adoption of 3D and AR technology for brands and retailers, VNTANA experienced a 500% expansion in customers and partners in 2021. Fashion League talked with VNTANA to get a better understanding of what the future of 3D and augmented reality looks like in fashion.

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VNTANA Posts 500% Customer Growth In 2021

VNTANA, the industry leader in 3D eCommerce technology, reports a record year for customer, revenue, partnership and employee growth in 2021. The company saw a 500% expansion in customers and partners, confirming the continued industry adoption of 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) technology for brands and retailers in eCommerce.

VNTANA’s patented optimization algorithms allow brands to use their existing 3D designs to instantly create high-fidelity, fast-loading 3D assets that are automatically optimized for use across web, social media, advertising, game-engines and the metaverse. This is a game changer for brands across fashion, footwear, furniture, tools, sporting goods and more that are looking to optimize the consumer shopping experience.

“The rapid growth of VNTANA highlights the industry’s increasing need to innovate and adapt to meet the evolving requirements of the online consumer,” notes Ashley Crowder, co-founder and CEO of VNTANA. “3D and AR tech is a way for brands to engage with their partners, vendors and customers across multiple channels and provides opportunities for integrations into current eCommerce strategies. We’re excited about the potential for VNTANA to work alongside retailers to reap the benefits that this technology provides to the bottom line.”

To meet the needs of its customers, VNTANA’s staff also doubled in 2021 and will continue to grow through 2022, with plans to expand its sales, marketing, customer success and engineering teams. VNTANA’s 3D Scanning Partner Program is also projected to increase company partnerships in the coming year.

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The Shift To A Circular Economy: How Tech Is Shaping The Future Of Sustainable Retail

Consumers are increasingly pushing for sustainable business practices in retail, driving businesses to reassess what they produce — and how. From ingredient upcycling to plastic alternatives to smart trash cans, we look at the technologies placing sustainability at the center of retail products and processes.

It’s no secret that industries in the retail sector are some of the most wasteful and polluting in the world. The fashion industry, for example, generates over 92M metric tons of waste every year. Meanwhile, global food waste totals around 1.6B metric tons.

Consumers are increasingly demanding change. Fifty-two percent of textile industry experts say consumers are driving the heightened focus on sustainability in fashion, which includes more transparent supply chains, alternative materials, and secondhand shopping. Similarly, 65% of consumers say they want food products that are sustainable, from alternative proteins to compostable packaging.

Regulatory agencies are also driving the shift to a circular economy focused on waste reduction. For example, the European Union is creating a strategy for sustainable textiles that aims to create products that are more durable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient. It’s set to be adopted in early 2022. In the US, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in 2021 directing federal institutions to draft regulations that protect the consumer’s right to repair electronic devices and other tools. This could reduce electrical waste and lengthen product life cycles.

The shift to a circular economy will doubtlessly pose major challenges for retailers, but it’s also a massive opportunity — and new tech solutions are emerging all the time to make the transition easier. From resale platforms to regenerative farming to autonomous delivery vehicles, we examine how technology is shaping the future of sustainable retail.

White-label solutions in the rental space allow brands to easily set up their own renting operations. For instance, Paris-based Lizee allows brands to enter the circular economy by renting (or reselling) their inventory. The company, which has worked with the likes of Adidas and Decathlon, helps power all the logistics associated with resale or rental operations.

An innovative solution for single-use plastic packaging comes from Chile-based Algramo. Its circular platform allows users to purchase bottles for cleaning products, refill them in a store with a smart Algramo dispenser, and pay for the product using an app. In 2020, the company launched in the US by installing dispensers in vending machines around New York City.

On a global scale, manufacturers can resell deadstock fabrics on the online marketplace Queen of Raw. To date, the platform has supported 325,000 buyers and sellers around the world, boasting partnerships with brands such as H&M and LVMH.

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Inspectorio Raises $50 Million To Help Brands Ensure Quality In Their Supply Chain

Brilliant Hire’s Smart Job Matching

Supply chain is a web that spans so wide that many large corporations can’t easily track the entire life cycle for each of its products — let alone capture enough data to ensure that everything is being done to standards and protocol. Carlos Moncayo knows the system all too well as the former founder and CEO of ASIAM Inspector, a company that supports brands and retailers with sourcing operations in Asia, he did everything from inspections to auditing to sourcing. This gave Moncayo deep insight on the many layers of the supply chain and it wasn’t pretty. He noticed a lot of issues surrounding visibility. After 10 years with the company, he was surprised they hadn’t gotten any better.

“We thought with supply chain management and production chain management, the only way to solve [the issues] was to approach it from moving offline relations to online relations and helping companies make sense of the data coming out of that,” he tells Forbes. But at the time, no one was trying to tackle that, so the former founders of ASIAM decided to try it themselves. They launched Inspectorio in 2016 to help companies and brands move their supply chain online and have better visibility and data surrounding quality and sustainability. Since Inspectorio launched its first product in 2017, the company has expanded its product offerings and more than 7,000 customers including Target and Kohl’s have signed on.

The Minneapolis-based startup raises a $50 million Series B round led by Insight Partners with participation from Techstar Ventures, Matchstick Ventures and strategic backers including Flexport, among others, as originally reported in Midas Touch newsletter. Ryan Hinkle, a managing director at Insight, says the firm has been building a relationship with Inspectorio since the beginning of the startup’s life. While the investment could have been sparked by the company’s progress — Hinkle points to the startup’s 93% revenue growth in 2021 — for him it was a bit more personal. His family used to own a clothing store and he remembers helping unwrap shirts and using a measuring tape to ensure the sleeves were the same length and that the size labels matched when he was a kid. Both of which would fall under the quality control assurances Inspectorio looks to provide further down the supply chain.

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Blockchain Helps Luxury Retailers Prove Provenance And Sustainability Claims

Diamonds and girls have been best friends for centuries, but that friendship has long come at a high cost for the communities involved in the excavation and processing of these highly coveted gems. Thanks to shifts in consumer behavior, however, sustainability considerations are now on par with price and design for consumers when purchasing diamonds, according to new research published by De Beers Group.

And it is high time. The mine-to-market journey contains a myriad of social and environmental impacts at every step of the way. From soil erosion, deforestation, and the destruction of ecosystems to the appalling working conditions, low wages, and child labor rampant in the industry, there is certainly a dark side to the way people have acquired their sparkling stones. The upside is that the industry creates high levels of employment and makes up a significant part of the GDPs of the countries that produce them.

Tackling these issues requires crystal clear insight into the value chain. Tools and services from Everledger, for example, enable independent retailers to easily reference the origin, human rights, and environmental performance of their diamond listings from the world’s leading producers. The global digital transparency company based in the UK uses blockchain to track goods from raw materials to the end consumer and beyond – making it ideal for retailers implementing circular business models.

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Innovating Retail Sustainability with Startups leveraging SAP.iO

https://events.sap.com/noam/nrf/en/videopage.aspx?v=oluBrjrC1RmjVd4M11BDCyn5//79teGPMq+DGevdtkr0ft7t+m5PcL4AdgijZ2ITqCH1mnGNAJ831GmCK+8RXeza1AuCgy2VD+zAkWXZS3U=

This week at the SAP Digital NRF Experience Chantal Emmanuel, CTO and Co-founder of Limeloop, and Kange Kaneene, Vice President SAP.iO Foundries North America sat down with Megan Meany to discuss how Limeloop is innovating to save waste from packages associated with online shopping via reusable packaging paired with a shipping platform that provides reverse logistics, security and more.

Catch the interview here!

Fix the Massive Truck Driver Shortage with Data

Hidden in the furor about disrupted supply chains is how the experience of the drivers delivering all those goods directly impacts the customer experience. That’s where Wise Systems comes in, offering an artificial intelligence (AI)-based delivery management platform that originated at the Media Lab at MIT, when three of the company’s co-founders responded to a professor’s challenge to find the best way to change one billion lives with data.

“The free flow of goods is the lifeblood of communities,” said Allison Parker, vice president of Marketing at Wise Systems. “We decided to apply machine learning to real-time data that captures what’s happening on the ground so organizations can better plan and continuously improve every last-mile route and delivery. Drivers have an intuitive, easier experience managing their schedule directly from their mobile devices, while fleet managers have up-to-the-minute plan tracking for resource allocation and utilization.”

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Sustainable Retail Business Solutions from SAP Showcased During NRF 2022

The retail industry’s $3.9 trillion contribution to the U.S. annual GDP makes it the nation’s leading industry for private sector employment and uniquely positioned to address climate change.

As recently as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) meetings, the National Retail Federation (NRF) stated, “Retailers will continue inventing and implementing pragmatic climate change solutions because the needs identified at COP26 demand nothing less.”

To help retailers digitally transform to make their businesses sustainable, SAP is featuring a number of offerings, including these:

  • The new SAP Intelligent Returns Management solution was built to optimize the returns process for the retail industry. The solution uses routing and dispositioning decisions driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to guide products from customers’ hands to the final dispositioning steps, ultimately maximizing customer experience and company margins while also mitigating waste.
  • The recently updated SAP Assortment Planning application now offers advanced category management capabilities. It uses customer data science, assortment strategies, business rules and AI to plan space-aware, localized assortments with a user experience designed for the needs of today’s category manager. Customer-centric, relevant assortments increase customer loyalty, boost profitability and support a more sustainable supply chain.
  • The SAP.iO Foundries program is a network of startup companies with integrations to SAP solutions, including:
    • Algramooffering a circular platform that encourages consumers to buy in a more convenient, affordable way with zero waste and connects people, brands and retailers in an engaging way to change consumption habits
    • EcoCarthelping thousands of e-commerce brands offer carbon-neutral products
    • Everledgerleveraging blockchain and the Internet of Things to offer transparency into supply chains for clarity on quality, origin, sustainability footprint and compliance standards
    • EVRYTHNGhelping customers run their businesses differently with real-time data intelligence from each of their products end to end, from factory to consumer and beyond
    • Inspectoriowith a dynamic and risk-assessment-based quality compliance program that provides digitalization, automation, transparency and traceability
    • LimeLoop, offering a platform for sustainable shipping including reusable packaging, real-time tracking and predictive analytics
    • Specright, providing a purpose-built platform for specification management that fundamentally changes how brands, suppliers, manufacturers and retailers manage data and collaborate to bring products to market

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meQuilibrium Incorporates Biometrics Technology into its Digital Resilience Platform

meQuilibrium, the leading digital resilience platform, brings biometrics into its mobile platform through its innovative new Breathe Coach technology, which enables members to obtain heart rate variability (HRV) feedback anytime, anywhere on a smartphone. meQuilibrium is the first digital employee resilience solution to incorporate biometrics into a mobile platform, providing users with a non-invasive intervention for creating balance between breathing and heart rate in order to build the foundation for resilience from a physiological point of view.

meQuilibrium’s new Breathe Coach tool transforms the smartphone camera lens into a biometric sensor which analyzes members’ breath and heart rate with the touch of a finger. Breathing patterns are instantaneously displayed directly on the smartphone screen, providing immediate, visual heart rate and breath mapping feedback, plus aggregate improvements over time.

Breathe Coach guides users through the practice of resonance breathing, balancing the nervous system by aligning breathing with heart rate, which in turn, can reduce stress. Resonance breathing can be especially beneficial to the mind as it triggers a relaxation response in the body.

“Our new biometric technology integrates the physical with emotional and mental wellbeing, teaching users how to relax on command, reduce stress, calm anxiety, and manage other symptoms using the camera and screen of a smartphone,” explains Adam Perlman, MD, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder, meQuilibrium, who also serves as Director of Integrative Health and Wellbeing for Mayo Clinic Florida. “Breathe Coach unlocks the power of HRV and resonance breathing to ultimately train the mind and body to keep stress at bay.”

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Cogniac Applauded for Enabling Widespread Commercial Adoption of Computer Vision Systems

After recent analysis of the global Computer Vision industry, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Cogniac with the 2021 Global Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award for Computer Vision. The company develops easily deployable, cost-effective, and highly customizable Computer Vision solutions, enabling widespread commercial adoption across different industries. The Computer Vision platform is capable of ingesting video and images from virtually any visual inspection task. Tracking, detecting, comparing, contrasting and assessing product quality changes for analysis at a global enterprise scale.  Computer Vision systems are used in manufacturing and industrial environments such as automotive and mill and mining, where they increase quality and reduce cost. Such systems are also used for asset inspection, tracking, and management in transportation including railways and trucking, and in various logistics, government, and safety/security applications.

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Digimarc Corporation Completes Acquisition of EVRYTHNG Ltd.

Digimarc Corporation (Nasdaq: DMRC), creator of Digimarc watermarks that are driving the next generation of digital identification and detection-based solutions, announced today it has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of the Product Cloud company EVRYTHNG Ltd, based in London, UK.

As EVRYTHNG becomes part of Digimarc, it enables a complete solution set for customers, combining the best form of identification with the best cloud platform for gaining and managing the intelligence unlocked by that identification of objects.

“This acquisition is transformative to our business,” explains Digimarc CEO Riley McCormack. “EVRYTHNG’s market-leading product cloud offering provides Digimarc entrée into a potentially enormous market at the cusp of inflection, powers up our ability to sell robust, fully-integrated solutions that no one else can offer, and provides future cross-selling opportunities by providing more on-ramps to our dual platforms. In addition to adding 65 talented and passionate individuals to our team, we can leverage the complementarity of our geographic presence, expanding our ability to serve our increasingly-global customer base while also increasing our ability to attract and retain the best talent world-wide.”

EVRYTHNG is the market leader and pioneered the Product Cloud category, linking every product item to its Active Digital Identity™ on the web and joining-up product data across the value chain for visibility, validation, real time intelligence and connection with people.

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