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Innovating Retail Sustainability with Startups leveraging SAP.iO

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!

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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LiLz uses computer vision to read gauges and dials where humans prefer not to tread

No one wants to be the maintenance worker who has to hike through half a mile of damp hallways just to check the pressure gauge on a valve somewhere. LiLz makes it possible to keep an eye on such inconvenient physical interfaces remotely with a clever and practical application of machine learning.

The Japanese (specifically Okinawan) startup has been around for a little while — in fact our colleagues at TC JP have written them up. But despite the seemingly obvious value of its service, it hasn’t quite hit the big time yet. LiLz participated in CES as part of the country’s trade group, along with a bunch more companies listed here.

LiLz’s device looks a bit like a chubby tablet without a screen. It’s essentially a camera, light and processing and communications chips packed in with a big battery — enough power to last up to three years.

You mount the device so it can see the gauge or dial in question. After confirming picture and signal, you configure it in the app to interpret what it’s pointed at; it can read circular, semicircular and linear gauges, digital and rolling or analog digit displays, or things like colored warning lights.

Once it’s set up, it’ll send readings live or at intervals to a central dashboard, or make them available via API so they can be queried or recorded elsewhere. The data goes out via LTE or Bluetooth.

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EPA Invests in Rheaply to Enhance Material Recycling

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently selected 30 small businesses to receive part of a $3 million investment to help develop new technologies to address environmental and public health concerns. Among the recipients was Chicago-based startup Rheaply.

Rheaply is based on the concept of circular economies, where waste or excesses resources are repurposed, significantly reducing waste. An example of a circular economy is a furniture designer repurposing wood scraps into other products instead of chucking the waste into the garbage and it ending up in a landfill.

Launched in 2016, Rheaply offers a SaaS platform that not only functions as an asset manager but also allows companies to publicly post assets they no longer need. With the platform, businesses can sell, share and rent unwanted assets with other businesses. A feature on the software also allows companies to request specific assets.

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For the Botsync team, collaborative automation will be key to accelerating digitalization in logistics

Digital transformation is playing a big part in the strategy and operations of businesses today. The market size for digital transformation will grow from $1.5 trillion annually this year to $2.8 trillion by 2025. And yet some businesses might find challenges in complexity, manpower, and resources.

In this TechNode Global Q&A with the founding team at Botsync, we learn how collaborative automation is geared toward addressing these challenges. The company is a robotics startup founded in Singapore that specializes in AMR-based (Autonomous Mobile Robot) automation solutions. Botsync has journeyed from seed funding and accelerator programs to securing a co-created innovation project with Bollore Logistics Singapore to transform its conventional warehouse handling with an AMR-based automation solution.

What are the key trends driving innovation in the logistics industry?

  1. Digitalization: Companies more than ever before are looking at digitalizing their entire supply chain starting at the factory floor. Having this level of transparency is key to making quick decisions to respond effectively to severe market conditions and staying competitive
  2. The increasing complexity of logistics: The complexity of logistics has grown significantly with the growth in e-commerce. Faster delivery expectations and every increasing type and size of parts being handled warrant significant growth in the entire logistics process.
  3. Minimizing contact points: In recent times, it is becoming critical to evaluate operations and find ways to ensure minimum human contact. With growing economic opportunities present in today’s digital age, the availability of general workers for manual logistics operations is decreasing all over the world. And with the bulk of logistics operations still dependent on manual labor, automation and digitalization will soon become crucial factors to ensure business continuity.
  4. Collaborative automation: With companies increasingly looking at automation implementations, automation systems need to be able to co-exist with other manual processes on the warehouse and factory. This is critical as most companies cannot afford a complete transition to an automated facility, hence collaborative robotics will be key to ensure a successful transition to automation.

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The Road To Fix The Massive Truck Driver Shortage Is Paved 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 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.”

Data intelligence drives seamless delivery experience

Fast forward to a post-pandemic world facing an 80,000 driver shortage in the US alone, and Wise Systems is leaving legacy “dispatch and routing” systems in the dust. Clients in the food and beverage industry, as well as courier companies, rely on Wise Systems to synthesize orders by product volume, location, and timeframes into delivery stops for truck fleets and other vehicles. Fleet managers, dispatchers, and drivers can make tweaks, factoring in their knowledge, including customer preferences. The system monitors traffic and weather conditions in real time, alerting dispatchers to potential risks that could jeopardize scheduled deliveries.

“Automating the routing process for the perfect, seamless experience requires intelligence up front, along with ongoing monitoring as each day unfolds,” said Parker. “Drivers appreciate having full visibility into all the data about every delivery stop, including the number of products they’re expected to deliver. All they need to do is swipe in and out when they arrive and leave. The system can also record proof of delivery. They can also leave notes for themselves or future drivers on our secure app, such as a passcode for a loading dock.”

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Supply Chain Technology Startup Verusen Wins Four 2022 Powderkeg Unvalley Awards

 Verusen, a global innovator in supply chain data, inventory, and procurement technology, today announced it was recognized as a leading technology company and employer, receiving four awards in The 2022 Powderkeg Unvalley Awards.

The Powderkeg Unvalley Awards are bestowed upon the best startups and technology companies to work for in emerging communities beyond Silicon Valley based on various facets of the company, including company size, industry positioning, culture, perks, benefits, funding, and employee testimonials.

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Cogniac Visual Intelligence From Cogniac Corporation Available As Part Of SAP’s Industry Cloud Portfolio

Cogniac Corporation, a San Jose, California-based provider of enterprise-class artificial intelligence (AI) image and video analysis, announced that its Cogniac Visual Intelligence offering is now part of SAP’s industry cloud portfolio for the travel and transportation industry. The solution integrates with SAP S/4HANA and SAP Intelligent Asset Management solutions including SAP Predictive Asset Insights and is available on SAP Store.

Through its SAP partnership, Cogniac Corporation offers solutions to enterprise customers across the broad logistics sector, focusing on fleet and infrastructure management of rail, metro, ports, airports, and road transport. Cogniac’s platform provides effective AI vision at enterprise scale providing SAP’s industry cloud portfolio and intelligent suite a no-code / low-code AI vision solution for customers seeking to improve and optimize the efficacy and safety of their logistics and transportation operations. Cogniac’s technology can be deployed to meet customer needs within SAP S/4HANA and SAP Predictive Asset Insights solutions, leveraging the strengths of AI vision in predictive analysis, failure and anomaly detection, and optimization of maintenance scheduling and execution.

“Our continued partnership with SAP represents an exciting opportunity to bring our AI vision platform to a global and diverse audience,” said Vahan Tchakerian, Chief Partnership Officer at Cogniac. “The Cogniac platform is purpose-built for scale, ease of integration, and real-world applicability. We believe our platform is an excellent fit for the SAP ecosystem and their customers, and we’re thrilled to be building upon a strong partnership.”

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H3 Dynamics Launches World’s Most Advanced Drone Charging Station

H3 Dynamics announces the launch of DBX-G7, a brand new vertiport system for autonomous drone operations. Smarter, faster, and multi-modal with 5G and 4G, DBX was designed to scale on-going digitization efforts in safety compliance, maintenance and crisis management.

Applications range from smart cities across Asia to various types of industrial sites worldwide.

Developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, DBX-G7 is a direct response to the new telepresence and remote work paradigm. DBX performs all the functions of an on-site drone pilot: navigation, docking, stowing, battery charging, data retrieval, transmission, and cloud-based processing. Autonomous systems such as DBX help reduce the need for on-site presence and can help alleviate rising labour shortage pressures.

“With accelerating digitization, the need for structural scans is also growing while pilot availability is limited. We are looking to close the gap with our DBX autonomous drone stations.” Says Samuel Chauffaille, head of H3 Dynamics’ robotics systems division.

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NavVis Adds Fresh Funding To Fulfill Its Mission To Digitize Commercial Buildings And Assets

NavVis is a global leader in end-to-end solutions for reality capture and digital twins. The company is on a mission to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world by enabling immediate access to building information, anytime, anywhere. The NavVis product offering includes the world’s most advanced reality capture solution, which allows for rapid digitization of buildings and assets, and cloud-based digital twin software for the manufacturing and construction sector.

NavVis announced that they have received 25€m of fresh equity funding that complements the recent 20€m debt funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), raising the total investment to 85€m. The round was led by Cipio Partners, with additional capital from previous investors, BayBGMIG, Target Partners, Digital+ Partners, and Kozo Keikaku Engineering, making NavVis one of the best-funded deep tech startups in Europe.

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Stephanie Benedetto of Queen of Raw named a B2G 2021 Global Woman Supply Chain Leader in Sustainability

Stephanie Benedetto of Queen of Raw named a B2G 2021 Global Woman Supply Chain Leader in Sustainability alongside leaders from IBM, McDonalds, and Southwest Airlines.

An annual event, The Global Women Supply Chain Leaders Awards 2021 is here again. It is a celebration of women and achievement, honouring supply chain’s most accomplished female executives and next generational leaders. Women have worked hard to steadily carve their niche in the traditionally male-dominated supply chain industry.

Do not miss this opportunity to engage in new insights, participate in a wide-ranging and thought-provoking panel discussion, keynote & live Q&As, networking with peers and experts to further inspire and drive on key supply chain topics and themes related to women’s empowerment, equality, and excellence.

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Beamo wins Best Enterprise Solution at the AWE 2021 Auggie Awards

3i Inc.’s Beamo, an enterprise-grade digital twin solution for mission-critical facilities and a member of Born2Global Centre, took home the trophy for Best Enterprise Solution at the AWE 2021 12th Auggie Awards in Santa Clara, CA. The Auggie Awards is an annual award ceremony that showcases the best of the best in augmented, virtual, and mixed reality. The Best Enterprise Solution award was presented by Christine Perey, Board Member and Founder of AR for Enterprise Alliance.

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Software and Robotics startup arculus acquired by Logistics Giant Jungheinrich AG

On November 10, 2021, arculus, a Munich-based startup specializing in autonomous mobile robots, was acquired by major automation and intralogistics provider Jungheinrich AG for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in Ingolstadt in 2016 by Dr. Fabian Rusitschka and now with headquarters in Munich, German arculus is revolutionizing traditional production line manufacturing as the world’s first software and robotics company to offer a complete modular production platform, from concept to operations.

Almost every company that sells a physical product has a production line, though these have hardly changed since Henry Ford developed the techniques of mass production in 1926. Using AI-powered software and autonomous mobile robots, arculus transforms manufacturers’ one-dimensional assembly lines into scalable, flexible assembly modules. Planning, simulation, operation, and optimization can all take place within this one software system. The platform’s core functions include digital route planning based on real-time traffic data and anticipatory route planning to prevent congestion.

Since its inception in 2016 arculus has grown from strength to strength. After receiving Series A funding amounting to €16 million in May 2020, its acquisition by Jungheinrich a little over a year later is a clear marker of the startup’s success. Having conducted a successful pilot project in Supermarket 2.0 with Aldi Ingolstadt, arculus has a proven track record in AMR (associated management resources) and smart logistics.

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The fashion takeaways from COP26

Just before the official launch of the climate conference, members of Prince Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Fashion Taskforce — which includes the chief executives of Chloé, Mulberry, Vestiaire Collective, Selfridges and others — committed at the G20 meeting in Rome to begin using a technology they say will revolutionise transparency in the industry. The digital ID technology was enabled in part by startup Eon, and is anticipated to both inform customers of the sustainability credentials of their products and accelerate progress towards circularity.

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Connecting Food Crowned the Winner of the Innovation Challenges at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit 2021

CONNECTING FOOD, harnesses blockchain technology to improve food security, reduce wastage and reinforce consumer trust in our food systems. Connecting Food leverages industry expertise to map food supply chains, improve end-to-end traceability and showcase value chain data via a QR code and WebApp, bringing trust through transparency to consumers.

Revealing the winner of the Innovation Challenge at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit in Singapore were judges from CPF and Cargill:

  • Xiuling Guo, Managing Director, Edible Oils, CARGILL, SINGAPORE
  • Francesca Kleemans, Managing Director, Cocoa and Chocolate, CARGILL, SINGAPORE
  • Lalana Thiranusornkij, SVP – Head of Innovation and New Product Development, CPF, THAILAND
  • Peemdej Utsahajit, Assistant Vice President, Development and Coordination of Research Activities, CPF, THAILAND

Commenting on the reasons for the winning choice, Lalana Thiranusornkij, SVP – Head of Innovation & NPD at CPF said: “All three of our finalists are truly amazing, full of passion and energy in addressing the taste and texture of alternative-protein products and this is the most important issue for companies to be able to deliver to their consumers. What was even more difficult was to select the winner! I’m proud to announce the winner being “Lypid”. A start-up that addresses “Fat” which is key to making plant based meats taste like meat! We feel that working with Lypid will speed up our development and improve our existing products to be even healthier and tastier.”

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