On demand, All the time

We’ve heard a lot about the “smart warehouse” and the resulting efficiencies that can transform the entire supply chain. Wearables, sensors, RFIDs, robots, smart equipment all play a role in the evolution of logistics. Seems like the recent push in warehouse efficiency is being driven largely by consumer expectations. On-demand and real-time are concepts that require much improved warehouse infrastructure and technology to support them. Many are experimenting with RFID tags (radio-frequency identification) that allow warehouse workers to know the exact location and status of any item at any time. These tags do not have to be seen in order to be read (can be packed in boxes), can store up to 100x times the data of barcodes and can read up to 200 tags at once. This eliminates the need for workers to physically scan each label. The drawback is that RFIDs still need to pass by physical checkpoints to be scanned and cannot provide uninterrupted tracking. There is still a ways to go to reach the fully-tracked supply chain.

Founder of the Week

Victoria Hauzeneder, CTO / Co-Founder, blik

Why are you interested in logistics?

Currently in Germany, Industry 4.0 is a popular buzzword which refers to the trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. While many production sites are now becoming more digitized, my team and I saw that there was still massive potential to improve on logistics. I am also personally fascinated by the challenges that a logistics environment provides for IoT applications. In contrast to the smart home device industry, where you typically see 10 to 20 smart products which are generally static, we’re talking about the logistics industry where you see thousands of constantly moving goods that all need to be tracked.

How is blik different than other track and trace solutions?

A popular option for tracking assets today is RFID, which does make scanning more efficient but it scans at static scan points and doesn’t provide the continuous overview that Blik is aiming for. RFID also involves a massive investment in infrastructure and can be very costly because it’s constantly running and it often interferes with surrounding wavelengths. Another popular option is the use of Ultra Wide Band Technologies, which provide a very accurate stream of localization data. They offer inch by inch localization, but one is very limited in the amount of goods it is able to tack.

What’s the long term vision of blik?

blik envisions a fully transparent supply chain. Our goal is to build a modular system with which we are enabling a global tracking solution without any interruptions.

What do you plan to accomplish by the end of the Techstars IoT program?

While we are in the process of refining features of our product, the program is really about getting blik investor ready. After the program wraps up, we’ll start raising a Seed financing round.