Flex is Changing the Innovation Game

Written by Suneesh Kaul, Edited by Maya Rector

Flex is a Fortune-500 supply-chain solutions and manufacturing firm with operations in over 30 countries offering design, manufacturing, distribution and aftermarket services to a variety of global OEMs and other product based firms.

Predictive maintenance, self-optimizing production, and automated inventory management are the top three use-cases driving the Internet of Things (IoT) market growth through 2020 to the amount of $270B. Flex is a big player in the IoT space, producing and helping produce solutions involving tons of connected, intelligent devices that enable IoT in a variety of settings. We call it “Intelligence of Things”.

Internet of Things only means connectivity, but we are also putting a lot more intelligence into the end devices and that means building smart and connected devices — so it’s more than just the Internet. [1]

For instance, recently Flex described several innovations the company has pioneered which mix the sensing and electronic capabilities of a digital circuit with the stretchiness and washability required of a garment through IoT. Smart, connected solutions have enabled the wearable market to move beyond the wrist and become an integral part of someone’s daily outfit. Flex is empowering fashion designers to make technology a part of their vision as more and more customers expect fashion to integrate with their smartphone or connected device.
 
Imagine someone being able to tap into the power of a solar powered jacket when they suddenly realize that they’re off the path and night is getting closer. Maintaining a GPS signal can use a significant amount of battery as can connecting to remote cell towers in the woods. But if their smartphone has been charging in the afternoon sun courtesy of their solar jacket, they’ll be ready to find their way back home safely and securely.
 
Solar powered clothing can do more than avoid having to recharge on the go — consider clothing that automatically adjusts tiny vents to make a shirt warmer on a chilly day, or let in more airflow during a hot, challenging run. Clothing that is automatically smarter (and more comfortable) is within reach.

While at Flex, I have been engaged with the Global Supply-Chain organization to develop revolutionary solutions which can support this growth. One of our recent ventures is to transform the application of ‘Blockchains’ from the Finance industry to the Supply-Chain industry.

Blockchains are pegged to be the next internet [2] and will revolutionize the way we conduct business in the future. A Blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger forged by consensus, which can be used to build a new generation of transactional applications in-order to streamline business processes and legal constraints. [3]

Blockchain is the foundation on which Bitcoin transactions take place; we at Flex are exploring its applicability into recording the movement of goods in a complex global network across 100+ countries.

How’s that for complexity and scale?

Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology would register the transfer of goods on the ledger as transactions and would identify the parties involved, as well as the price, date, location, quality and any other information that would be relevant to managing the supply chain. Consequently, it would be possible to trace back every product to the very origin of the raw material used, its provenance.

Additionally, the decentralized structure of the ledger makes it impossible for any one party to hold ownership of the ledger and manipulate the data to their own advantage. [4]

Simply put, it ensures both transparency and security while building trust among the parties involved.

It’s an exciting time to be working at Flex; and it’s a remarkable feeling to have been given the opportunity to transform the business of tomorrow at this stage in my career.

Check out Flex’s Intelligence (TM) magazine at https://lnkd.in/gXmXhRi

Sources

[1] http://www.pymnts.com/internet-of-things/2016/flex-on-iot-the-5-biggest-opportunities/

[2] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/security-tech/technology/blockchain-the-next-big-thing-in-technology/articleshow/54375401.cms

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/320-wake-up-the-brain-with-sound-and-more-1.3568478/blockchain-the-next-internet-revolution-1.3573316

[3] http://www.supplychain247.com/article/why_blockchain_is_a_game_changer_for_the_supply_chain

[4] https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/24/blockchain-has-the-potential-to-revolutionize-the-supply-chain/