A minimum of 10 billion apparel and footwear products are expected to be produced with unique digital identities and data profiles in the cloud over the next three years through a partnership between packaging materials leader Avery Dennison and Internet of Things (IoT) company Evrythng. The companies believe this to be the largest number of IoT-connected products in a single deal, to date.
Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) already adds basic individual identities to millions of products for supply chain purposes, including efficiency improvements and waste reduction. The apparel and footwear connected to the “Janela™ Smart Products Platform” powered by Evrythng will take this one step further, allowing customers to interact with the products through their smartphones.
The smart apparel will be “born digital.” Product tagging – which could be done with serialized QR codes, RFID chips, or NFC tags, depending on the product – will be built-in during the manufacturing process.
Companies could benefit from stronger brand protection to help tackle counterfeit sales, as well as loss prevention related to fraudulent returns.
“The fact that at least 10 billion Avery Dennison RBIS products will be digitized at the point of manufacture is both a milestone in making the Internet of Things mainstream and a huge enabler for the apparel and footwear industry in particular,” said Niall Murphy, the CEO and Co-Founder of Evrythng.
The companies believe that the deal represents the “first truly industrial scale digital enablement of everyday products.”
For the label to provide information, the consumer would have to take the first action, such as by scanning or tapping the product. Murphy and his fellow co-founder Andy Hobsbawm, Evrythng’s Chief Marketing Officer, stressed that companies must nurture trust with consumers and that all marketing should be permission-based. Murphy told Fortune, “I think brands have an increasingly important responsibility to be transparent with the uses of the data that they’re providing. And clearly part of our role at Evrythng, managing very large amounts of information, is to provide the infrastructural integrity to ensure this data is well protected.”
The partnership will benefit from Avery Dennison’s network, knowledge of the apparel industry, hardware and manufacturing capabilities along with Evrythng’s IoT software for digital identity and data management. As Fortune explained, “Evrythng manages the digital identities of items, from packaging to smart lightbulbs, in much the same way as a social network manages the identities of people – keeping track of their latest “status” and ultimately helping to connect them.” Evrythng has received funding from technology leaders such as Cisco and Samsung. Avery Dennison puts labels into products from brands such as Nike, adidas, and Hugo Boss.
As part of its sustainability goals for 2025, Avery Dennison has committed to working with its partners and customers to make their operations and products more sustainable. One fashion industry example is Avery Dennison RBIS’s work with award-winning British designer Christopher Raeburn on four seasonal collaborations.