ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

Machine Learning and Industrial Internet of Things

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 @ 14:09 PM


Machine Learning IoT.jpeg

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? If you’re like many people, you reach for your phone. You turn off your alarm clock, check the news, and review your email. All of this creates a digital presence that tells a story about your world. The digital world has become a seamless part of our lives, and it’s no different for businesses. All of your systems work together to tell a story, whether it’s about inventory, manufacturing, or people. Your world is connected by bytes and coding, and it’s only becoming more prevalent. The data we create is growing at an astronomical pace, and our ability to tap into the potential of our digital world is based on how we analyze that data.

We create a lot of data. By 2020, the digital universe is projected to grow to 44 trillion gigabytes. IoT embedded systems are expected to account for 10% of the digital universe by 2020, and the containers from those systems (like digital files, RFID tags and sensor files) will become 99% of all of the files in the digital universe (IDC, The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things). It’s more than data now; your connected devices are communicating in real-time to create a digital picture of your operations.

The rise of IoT.

None of this is news. In 2016, less than 40% of organizations surveyed had completed at least some kind of IoT implementation. That number is predicted to grow to over 80% by 2020 (Bain & Company, How Providers Can Succeed in the Internet of Things). IoT is quickly becoming the norm, and teams that are able to successfully implement these solutions stand to increase productivity and reduce costs. In fact, 47% of organizations implemented IoT solutions to improve quality of service or product, leading to price premium, lower support costs and 44% did it to increase reliability of operations (Bain & Company, How Providers Can Succeed in the Internet of Things).

This market is only growing. B2B IoT connections are projected to increase to 5.4 billion by 2020. That’s about one device for every two people on the planet. The organizations that leverage these connections are expected to be 10% more profitable (SparkLabs Global Ventures, Internet of Things & Hardware Industry Overview 2016). Can you imagine such a huge boost from such tiny devices?

The use of IoT by businesses is expected to drive $964 billion in spending this year. By 2020, hardware spending is projected to increase to almost $3 trillion for both business and consumers (Gartner, Forecast: Internet of Things). On top of that, the Industrial IoT market is expected to grow to $319.6 billion by 2020 (SparkLabs Global Ventures, Internet of Things & Hardware Industry Overview 2016). These devices represent a significant investment for any organization, but the return can be huge. Many Department of Defense suppliers have already seen the benefits.

A lost opportunity.  

Unfortunately, many organizations are not realizing the full potential of their IoT investment. McKinsey Global Institute predicted in 2011 that the manufacturing industry could see up to a 50% lower product development cost, 25% lower operating cost, and a 30% gross margin increase. As of 2016, only 20-30% of that predicted value as been captured (McKinsey Global Institute, The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data-Driven World). While labor and workforce integration is part of the issue, much of the barrier remains in computing power.

 Just about .5% of that data is ever analyzed (MIT Technology Review, The Data Made Me Do It). Think about that. Even with such a huge investment and an even bigger opportunity for optimization, IoT is not yet driving the data revolution.

 Driving efficiency with machine learning.

 Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning. By 2019, cognitive/AI capabilities will support 40% of all digital transformation initiatives and 100% of all effective IoT efforts. (IDC, IDC FutureSpace: Dawn of the DX Economy and the Digital-Native Enterprise). This technology presents an opportunity to improve regulatory compliance, reduce risk, improve decision-making and operating efficiency, and enhance security. 79% of executives report that AI will make their jobs more efficient and easier (The Economist Intelligence Unit, Artificial Intelligence in the Real World).

 We’ve moved beyond simple data analytics in both our personal and our professional lives. In order to stay ahead of our competition, we must take advantage of current technologies and prepare for the future. Odyssey can help you leverage these emerging trends and ensure that you’re prepared for the future of business. Contact us today to learn how integrating cloud-based solutions for DoD suppliers can help you drive efficiency and compliance.

Topics: Internet of Things, data, machine learning

5 Changes the Internet of Things Will Bring to Businesses in 2017

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 @ 10:01 AM

Internet of Things.jpg


The Internet of Things, or IoT, is not a new term or subject matter.  In fact, according to Datafloq, the term was coined in 1999, but the prediction of a connected world through handheld devices has been around since 1926.  While IoT has been discussed for years now, the way it is used is constantly changing and evolving.

IoT is commonly defined as, “a proposed development of the Internet, in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.” In September, we wrote about how the Internet of Things is the key to DoD commerce success. Turns out, it is beginning to impact pretty much every business industry.   

In 2017, experts are predicting some big changes for businesses and the Internet of Things.

IoT’s not near, it’s here.

Gone are the days of discussing IoT as “the future”.  Many industries will be completely disrupted as companies around the world begin to use IoT technology in the every-day running of their business. 2016 was the year that a lot of groundwork was laid, but 2017 will be the year it all comes to fruition.  Read more here.

Smart business is the focus.

Over the last few years, IoT has been heavily focused on consumer products. From Amazon’s Alexa to self-driving cars, consumers are slowly but surely beginning to welcome the Internet of Things into their lives. But this year, there will be a large push for more businesses to use the technology. Sukamal Banerjee, executive vice president and global head, IoT Works and HCL Technologies says, “As per our 2016 global IoT survey, 38% of organizations have already started their IoT journey, and 57% are currently planning to, thus, making 2017 an inflection year for Industrial IoT adoption.” Read more here.

Business is getting personal.

With IoT devices, businesses will have greater access to data, ranging from consumer behavior to manufacturing inventory changes. Companies will take advantage of greater access to data by making decisions- such as product recommendations, effective advertising and sales decisions- based off their findings. This data will also prove to be convenient as studies show that executives want their companies to focus more on data, and less on intuition.  Read more here.

Inventory management continues to evolve.

The ability to view, track, and monitor inventory will continue to improve through integration with IoT.  RFID tags will be able to hold and communicate even more information about an object, such as temperature, weather, traffic, damage to the object, etc. This will reduce the number of lost items, better identify inefficiencies and help companies make more informed decisions.  Read more here.

Efficiency is King.

The Internet of Things will continue to allow employees to produce more and larger projects in less time.  They will be able to focus their efforts on the important aspects of the business, rather than inefficiencies and manual work. Not only will they complete projects faster, but they will be able to do so more accurately.  Read more here.

2017 will be a big year for the Internet of Things, and businesses in every industry will start to see changes.  We are excited to continue serving our clients with this growing technology.  



Topics: Internet of Things, DoD, IoT, business technology

Internet Of Things: Key to DoD Commerce Success

Posted by James Lusk on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 @ 14:09 PM


The Internet of Things, commonly referred to as IoT, continues to grow as a topic of ongoing conversation, and could soon be a household term. IoT, commonly defined as, “a proposed development of the Internet, in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data,” is beginning to impact almost every industry. LTE-enabled cars now offer real-time traffic information and real-time vehicle diagnostics. Your FitBit and other wearable tech offers personalized data, like heart rate, step count, calories burned, etc. And retailers are tracking your shopping habits every day to send you coupons and offers at the right time and place.

Not only is IoT aimed at consumers, but many business-to-business companies are adopting it, as well. For example, it’s being used to connect manufacturing equipment, medical devices and all the other commercial equipment used by the world’s largest companies. Many businesses have found that the technology improves their bottom lines by:

  • Lowering operating costs
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • Expanding to new markets
  • Developing new product offerings

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, found that the future of IoT is looking bright, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. They project that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years and that businesses will be the top adopters of IoT solutions.

 The Internet of Things has also largely affected the federal government, from the Department of Defense to NASA to the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, big data and analytics firm Giovini reported that the federal IoT market saw 20 percent year-over-year growth in fiscal year 2015. This is a trend that will likely continue as the technology gets more and more sophisticated.

Because of the advances in the Internet of Things, everything is connected. Odyssey has adopted this growing technology to create integrated, cross-departmental work-flow processes that utilize an efficient and effective cloud-based platform.  For example, item unique identification (IUID) is a system of establishing unique item identifiers (UII) within the DoD by assigning a machine-readable character string or number to a discrete item. This serves to distinguish it from other items. The data required to properly manage a successful IUID transaction is easily created within our software or imported in a compliant format provided by the user.  We also create pre-encoded RFID labels, which are smart labels that meet DoD requirements and track the location and status of a client’s product.

We believe that today’s DoD commerce requires an IT platform that can make sense of requirements and provide an automated environment to easily react and respond in real-time. Our DOD-approved software helps to make our partners’ work easier and more efficient by:

  • Improving resource utilization
  • Reducing errors
  • Enabling streamlined commerce and compliance measures

We take pride in staying on top of the newest and most effective technology. Our goal is to be one step ahead of industry trends to help our partners get the most out of their business.

Topics: DoD approved software, RFID, UID, IUID, Internet of Things

Item level RFID and its far reaching impact

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 10:06 AM

Last year, we wrote a couple of blogs discussing challenges with item-level RFID and different solutions companies, researchers and manufacturers were utilizing to overcome them. We also wrote about the increased adoption of smart labels as it relates to the Internet of Things and sectors outside the DoD, particularly with DoD_Sealretailers. These two topics actually go hand-in-hand really well. As adoption increases so will challenges. We’ve ensured that our software is built such that it can absorb new changes and challenges seamlessly, creating a streamlined user experience. For those using the technology outside of DoD compliance, other, more creative solutions are needed.

            Let’s start with retail. An item-level RFID inventory solution can be invaluable to a store looking to ensure they never run out, or overstock, inventory. The challenge is that a tag/reader system can be expensive for stores with multiple locations. To battle this, clothing retailer F&F is working to cut down on the man-hours it would take to scan each tag, balancing the price of the system by removing the cost of manpower going forward. Their solution is certainly out-of-the-box, but the logic is tight. Imagine you’re walking down an aisle, casually browsing cardigans, when suddenly you see a six-foot tall robot come strolling by. No, we’re not talking Terminator-looking robots; more like tall vacuum cleaners. These autonomous robots are equipped with scanners that can read tags in a 360 radius several times a week, ensuring accurate data capture.

            Another interesting article we came across brought up the idea of using item-level RFID on a smaller scale to keep track of items in an office. The writer said that he was contacted by a business manager who wanted to keep an inventory of everyday office supplies like computers, monitors, chairs, etc. The writer suggested tagging each item as well as the doorways to the rooms they were located in. He envisioned a scenario where an app on a reader would bring up a list of items in a room after the tag in the doorway was scanned. The reader could then be waved around and tell the manager if all items were present or not. Sounds great, right? Well the issue, and the point of the article, is that no such app exists; at least not on the level this man was looking to use it. So while there aren’t apps available for smaller-scale, item-level tracking, we have to assume that could be coming down the pipeline sometime soon. If radio frequency identification technology, particularly the passive kind (due to cost efficiency), continues to grow in popularity, we could be seeing all kind of advancements that allow more and more people to track assets easily.

            It’s important to know, however, that while robots are neat and flashy and provide a solution that’s sure to grab headlines, sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference. For example, if you read our blog post last month you saw us comment on a particular solution to WAWF being renamed to iRAPT. The outside solution was a training manual costing hundreds of dollars and time necessary for employees to read dollar_signthrough it. Don’t get us wrong; iRAPT is critical to DoD vendors as it’s the method in which they submit RFID and UID data for compliance purposes. Our point, as you can read in the blog, is that if vendors are using DoD-approved software solutions, such as Odyssey, then nothing changes. Vendors can keep doing what they’ve always been doing.

            While we wish we had more autonomous robots walking around the Odyssey offices, we’re confident that our DoD compliance software solutions enables vendors to submit this information electronically by marshaling unique identifiers, providing management and incorporating data within MIL-STD 129 R and MIL-STD 130N interior and exterior label compliance. We also know that we’re pioneers in a young and ever-changing industry, and we need to constantly be on the forefront of adaptation.

Topics: DoD approved software, WAWF, MIL-STD 129R, UID, MIL-STD 130 N, Item level RFID, iRAPT, Internet of Things

DoD Approved Software; DoD Commerce and the Internet of Things

Posted by James Lusk on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

If you’ve paid any amount of attention to the tech industry lately you’ve more than likely heard the term “Internet of Things.” The term was first coined in 1999 when commercial and personal use of the Internet was increasing. “IoT,” as it’s commonly referred as, is the idea of electronics, sensors and other devices that allow for networking being implemented into physical objects. The Nike FuelBand, or even the new Apple Watch are great examples of devices within IoT. Of course, smart labels fall directly into this idea, which means we’re completely on board with this connectivity. Odyssey’s proprietary DoD approved software works specifically with tags containing RFID inlays to track assets sent to the DoD. As the Internet of Things comes more into the mainstream, use of RFID and smart labels will become more widespread.DoD_Seal

            Consider Cycle Alert, a system developed for trucks in high-density traffic areas that decrease the risk of accidents with bicyclists. Cycle Alert’s system mounts RFID readers onto trucks and busses that frequent bike-friendly cities. RFID tags are then placed inside the handlebars of bicycles, particularly those that are maintained by the city as public transport. When the tags come within eight feet of the readers on trucks and buses the drivers are not only alerted that the rider is near, but where his or her relative position to the vehicle is.

            Retail stores are also becoming heavily involved in the Internet of Things and smart labels from a logistics and product availability standpoint. We wrote an article back in January on the accelerated adoption of RFID and smart labels in retail clothing stores, but those aren’t the only commercial entities adopting the technology and networking themselves. Grocery stores across the world are now using RFID tags to track their perishable inventory. Scanner are placed on shelves and keep track of how long those good have been on display. Some stores are reporting a reduction of up to 10% on wasted goods, which is a massive number for the industry.

            In a recent article by Tech Republic, they report that 30% of all data from the Internet of Things is driven by sensor devices like RFID, which makes sense considering the ease and cost efficiency of the technology. Smart labels are small and can be applied to almost anything without intruding on aesthetics or design. That same article warns of a “data tsunami,” in which the IoT’s connective nature means data will soon be passed back and forth between more objects than not. Some may find that ridiculous, but that’s the way the industry is headed. Sure, we don’t really need refrigerators that play our MP3s, but what about refrigerators that can tell us if our food is getting old?

            Odyssey is already experiencing this “data tsunami.” The nature of our clients’ DoD Commerce business means a large amount of data DoD Approved Softwareneeds to be efficiently and effectively distilled into something easily readable and action oriented. The use of passive RFID labels, combined with our DoD approved software that marshals all necessary data automatically, means our clients and the DoD can easily keep track of an asset lifecycle through Mil 129 and  Mil 130 compliance.

            So we say bring on the Internet of Things, bring on the data tsunami. We’re prepared, and we’ve made sure our clients are prepared. As this technology becomes more widespread outside of DLA, so will the innovation and adoption, and we’ll continue to be pioneers.


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Topics: DoD approved software, dod compliance, MIL-STD-129, MIL-STD 130 N, Passive RFID, contract management, Internet of Things