Q&A with Cameron Worth, CEO & Founder, SharpEnd

Media 7 | April 22, 2020

Cameron Worth, CEO & Founder of SharpEnd leads the company’s mission to help brands move closer than ever to consumers by connecting packaging, retail and experiential activity.

He is a regular speaker and writer on how to build brands in a connected world. He has spoken at Cannes, the Festival of Marketing, LuxePack Monaco and New York, Ad:Week Europe and New York, DMA, the Connected Consumer Conference, Mobile World Congress and the IoT World Forum.

MEDIA 7: How did the idea of “the agency of things” come to your mind?
CAMERON WORTH:
 SharpEnd was created in 2015 as the world’s first Internet of Things focused agency, so there is a slight play on words when we say we’re the Agency of Things. I think the idea of giving things their own agency is an interesting concept, and the strapline fits our capabilities on multiple levels.

M7: In what way does technology drive the association of SharpEnd with global brands? What approaches are followed to enable sustainability?
CW:
Our simple proposition is to help build brands in a connected world, and to do that you must always start with identified consumer needs or pain points and look at technology as just an enabler to deliver an appropriate solution (when appropriate). 

Take the issue of sustainability, which is often a pain point for brands that grapple with issues such as how we can reward sustainable behaviour change. One of our approaches to this could be to look at communicating the recycling credentials of the different products. Whilst the consumer can engage with a product as part of a wider consumer experience, the same technology could also house content that could tell you whether the product is recyclable, which type of bin it goes in etc.

SharpEnd’s work with Unilever is a case in point. We built a digital product that incentivised recycling through gamification but also served to educate through informing people how and where to recycle in a clear fashion. All users had to do was simply scan their packaging to have all this information at their disposal.


"Brands tend to overlook their largest owned media asset - the product itself."

M7: What are the modern brands not doing enough to engage with their customers?
CW:
Brands tend to overlook their largest owned media asset - the product itself. It’s a costly oversight when you consider that brand owners have far more products in the market than they do TV spots, or outdoor posters.

For us at SharpEnd, we look at activating the product as a digital touchpoint – whether that’s an NFC enabled wine bottle, QR codes or augmented reality.

Ultimately, it’s about using the product as a direct channel for engagement. We believe every progressive brand that makes and sells products should be doing this.

M7: How important for you is creating value for your consumers? Could you tell us how connected packaging provides value?
CW:
It’s central to what we do - it's why we start with the pain point rather than the technology.

Our starting point creatively is always “how do we heighten the enjoyment in the context of use?”

Connected packaging is different to traditional advertising. You’re no more than 5cm away from the product, and usually the product is in hand at the point of engagement. You’re either thinking of using, or actively using the product. The relationship is arguably more intimate and therefore more compelling.

Take our work with  Böen Wines for example. As part of the world’s largest roll out of NFC in the wines category, the post-tap creative platform included providing food and wine pairings that complemented the wine consumers were interacting with, as well as sharing information on the brand’s heritage and tasting notes. Everything we implemented went towards heightening the consumption moment experience, and the brand has been reaping the rewards with high engagement rates and session lengths of well over a minute per engagement.


"Every progressive brand that makes and sells products should use the product as a direct channel for engagement."

M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work - what day to day processes have you had to re-tool to be able to pull them off remotely? What does your remote tech stack look like?
CW:
We are benefiting from the fact that as a five-year-old business, we’re natively connected. We’re very collaborative, we’ve always been working from Google Docs and we’ve been using Slack religiously for a few years now.

The very nature of our work means that the brand owners we’re supporting are based in various locations across the globe, so we’ve always been using video conferencing too. So there hasn’t been too much of an impact on SharpEnd’s ways of working.

That being said, one of the main things our leadership team is focusing on is mastering remote management and leadership. How do you keep the team motivated? How do you make sure everyone is feeling included? What are you doing on a weekly basis to make sure that it’s not just professional, but there are social elements as well? We’re being very respectful of the fact this is a lockdown from the greater world and not just from the office.

Figuring out what we can be doing in terms of team building exercises is on-going. This is something that I don’t think anyone can nail by themselves, and we’re looking online for a lot of inspiration on how to go about doing this.



"At SharpEnd, we look at activating the product as a digital touchpoint – whether that’s an NFC enabled wine bottle, QR codes or augmented reality."

M7: Do you think we will constantly be looking over our shoulders and have to have a remote plan ready?
CW:
I have made an active decision to not comment on potential long-term impacts of Covid-19. There will be a time for that, but now is the time for sensitivity on a human level, in my opinion.

My only request to the team is that we make sure we’re staying sensitive, responsive and productive.


M7: When did you start working and what was it?
CW:
I started when I was 16 in publishing and got to see first hand how brands were shifting spend from print to online. I was there when the publication I was working on launched its first website, and saw the ad sales starting to increase, and the print sales starting to shift over.

That was 15 years ago now, but my career path has always been in and around online, from digital innovation to engagement tech, to where I am now as the founder of the world’s first IoT agency.

ABOUT SHARPEND

SharpEnd – The Agency of Things™ - is moving brands closer than ever to consumers by connecting packaging, retail and experiential activity.  We are a full-service partner to some of the largest global brand owners across fashion, spirits and CPG including Estée Lauder Companies, Pernod Ricard, PepsiCo, Mattel and Nestlé. You can find out more here https://wearesharpend.com

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ISG expects companies to expand the use of AI in connected devices in the coming years to reduce the latency and increase the scalability of IoT systems. The growth of IoT continues despite major challenges, including growing data security concerns, slow adoption of sustainability initiatives and especially a lack of qualified personnel in Germany, ISG says. German companies cite IoT as their steepest IT challenge, because it extends beyond traditional IT systems and can encompass components such as sensors, production equipment and medical devices. The shortage of skilled IT labor is leading many enterprises to seek managed IoT services, because maintaining vast networks of sensors and peripheral devices often under varying security standards is nearly impossible for corporate IT departments. “Managed services give companies the financial and operational flexibility to carry out more comprehensive IoT projects,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. The report also explores a wide range of other issues around IoT in Germany, including the importance of careful project planning, proofs of concept and determining the legality of solutions that handle image data. The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Internet of Things Services and Solutions report for Germany evaluates the capabilities of 42 providers across five quadrants: Strategy Consulting, Implementation and Integration, Managed Services, Mobile Asset Tracking and Management, and Data Management and AI on the Edge. The report names Atos, Capgemini, Cognizant and Siemens as Leaders in all five quadrants. It names IBM as a Leader in four quadrants and Accenture and Bosch as Leaders in three quadrants each. HCL and TCS are named as Leaders in two quadrants each, and CANCOM, Deutsche Telekom, HPE, NTT, T-Systems and Vodafone are named as Leaders in one quadrant each. In addition, TCS is named as a Rising Star a company with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition in three quadrants. HPE is named as a Rising Star in two quadrants. The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Internet of Things Services and Solutions report for Germany is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage. About ISG Provider Lens™ Research The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the U.K., France, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, the Nordics, Australia and Singapore/Malaysia, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage. A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types. About ISG ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 800 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data.

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SOFTWARE AND TOOLS

VIAVI 6G Forward Program Drives Academic and Industry Research

VIAVI | August 19, 2022

Viavi Solutions Inc. today announced that it is supporting 6G academic and industry research worldwide through its new 6G Forward program. The program is designed to provide vital expertise, technology, and funding to promising avenues of research, which may lead to breakthroughs for the next generation of wireless technology. VIAVI has already supported three universities, Northeastern University and the University of Texas at Austin in the US and the University of Surrey in the UK. At Northeastern University, VIAVI is supporting the Institute for Wireless Internet of Things and the Open6G cooperative research center led by Professor Tommaso Melodia. The group is exploring large-scale RF propagation channel modeling based on AI and ML technologies to develop a city-scale digital twin of a 6G network. The team is also developing a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC)-enabled Massive MIMO beamforming optimization testbed using the Colosseum 256-port RF channel emulator and the VIAVI E500 UE Emulator. At the University of Texas at Austin, VIAVI supports 6GUT, led by Professor Jeff Andrews, within the Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG). The key topic of the joint research is applying end-to-end machine learning, specifically deep reinforcement learning (DRL), using adversarial conditions to re-train more robust cellular traffic forecasters. At the University of Surrey in the UK, VIAVI is a founding member of the 5G/6G Innovation Centre led by Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli FREng. The Innovation Centre addresses advanced communication systems and the key challenges in the development of a 5G, 5G+ and 6G infrastructure for providing connectivity for future technologies. Key research areas include: Antennas and signal processing; Artificial intelligence for wireless communications; Intelligent and high-performance networking and service delivery; Intelligent RAN technology and management; Mobile network security; New physical layer; Satellite communications; THz components and communications all under future Integrated communication and sensing. "At the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things, we envision a future in which people and their environment are connected by a continuum of AI-powered devices and networks," said Professor Melodia. "6G research initiatives require collaboration between academia and industry, and the technology, expertise and funding provided by VIAVI are critical to our contributions to making wireless communications exponentially faster, smarter, more energy efficient, and more secure." "6GUT is imagining the future of wireless connectivity at the intersection of immersive sensing and machine learning," said Professor Andrews. "VIAVI's unique perspective on enabling the entire network lifecycle from R&D to deployment provides academic researchers like us insights into problems affecting real-world network deployments, and we welcome the collaboration with the VIAVI experts as we embark on this journey towards 6G." "VIAVI is a founder member of the Innovation Centre at Surrey and we deeply appreciate the support and expertise they are bringing to the table," said Regius Professor Tafazolli. "It enables us to fully explore concepts, to deliver technologies and methodologies that will help define and improve connected communities in the future. This is a good example of academia and business working together to improve technology and people's lives." "Academic institutions play a vital role in exploring the potential of 6G, We believe it is important to get involved now and to allow disruptive and productive areas of research to see their ideas come to fruition ahead of formal standards definitions. We have had fascinating and beneficial exchanges with our academic partners and we hope to expand the scale of the program in the future." Dr. Ian Wong, CTO Office, VIAVI VIAVI is also involved with several other 6G-focused initiatives globally, including: The Next G Alliance, an ATIS-led industry initiative focused on advancing North American mobile technology leadership in 6G and beyond over the next decade. VIAVI is a founding member of the Next G Alliance, whose projects encompass the full lifecycle of research and development, manufacturing, standardization and market readiness. 6G BRAINS, which is developing AI-driven multi-agent Deep Reinforcement learning (DRL) to perform resource allocation in 6G networks for Industry 4.0, intelligent transportation, e-health and other applications. Supported by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme, 6G Brains initiatives include providing network operators with new options for using and combining sub-6 GHz, mmWave and THz spectrum, as well as optical wireless communications. The Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium, a forum for industry, academia and government in Japan to share information about research and development in areas such as integrating cyberspace with the real world, known as Society 5.0. About VIAVI VIAVI is a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance solutions for communications service providers, enterprises, network equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers, government and avionics. We help these customers harness the power of instruments, automation, intelligence and virtualization to Command the network. VIAVI is also a leader in light management solutions for the anti-counterfeiting, consumer electronics, industrial, government and automotive markets.

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ENTERPRISE IOT

Elevāt and Cummins Collaborate to Deliver Next Generation IoT Connected Services

Elevat, Inc | August 12, 2022

Elevāt, the industry leader in off-highway OEM solutions, has partnered with Cummins Inc. to integrate its Cummins Connected Diagnostics application with the Elevāt Machine Connect IoT platform. This strategic collaboration enables customers to access diagnostic messages and receive real-time alerts for Cummins engines and Elevāt's data in a single dashboard. "This collaboration with Cummins enables Elevāt to serve our customers from a whole machine view of diagnostics rather than having them interface with multiple component manufacturers, This simplifies troubleshooting, reduces downtime, increases productivity, and optimizes machine availability." Adam Livesay, Co-Founder, Elevāt In phase one, Elevāt has integrated Connected Diagnostics' capabilities for Cummins engines which helps improve operating performance, boost asset utilization and uptime, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. The infographic below demonstrates the end-to-end transmission of data, from the smart component detection all the way through to the actionable insights provided to OEMs and fleet managers. Cummins Connected Diagnostics wirelessly connects engines to enable continuous monitoring and diagnosis of system faults. Site managers can make informed decisions on whether to stop machine operation or continue to the end of the shift by understanding the suggested root causes. They can better understand how long they have before a critical failure is likely. This means that uptime can be maximized, with any required repairs addressed quickly. With the information provided in Connected Diagnostics, the correct parts, tools, and technician can be made available to resolve issues efficiently. Elevāt Machine Connect is the next-generation IoT platform solution to provide diagnostic data, monitoring, and performance control capabilities for the off-highway market. Machine Connect makes it easy for off-road equipment OEMs and fleet managers to collect and analyze data to identify usage trends and field-based problems with unmatched intelligent design and operational insight. Machine Connect is the only IoT platform that communicates seamlessly with all the major component suppliers, giving the OEMs the flexibility to apply IoT solutions to their machines. Elevāt is taking telematics to the next level with remote diagnostics and controls programming. Together, Elevāt and Cummins will enable advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting for major components, controllers, and Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs) on mobile equipment to come through a single application. The intuitive solution offers actionable insights to enable component care, prevent damage, and enable quick support. "Working with companies like Elevāt allows Cummins to meet industrial customers where they are and makes it easier to get advice from Cummins remotely 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For those Cummins powered OEMs that choose Elevāt as their telematics partner, this collaboration between Cummins and Elevāt will allow customers to receive real time recommendations as to the health of the Cummins engines while using the Elevāt platform to monitor the machines' maintenance, uptime, and utilization," says Ed Hopkins, Digital Solutions Business Leader at Cummins, Inc. "Keeping the customers' eyes on one platform for the entire fleet and all critical systems on each machine is a more efficient use of fleet managers' time as opposed to having multiple logins with different screens to monitor subsystems of a machine." ABOUT ELEVĀT Elevāt is an Industrial IoT company focused on connecting the industrial world. Elevāt specializes in connecting fleets of machines, and enabling the flow of data between operators, distributors, OEMs. Elevāt enables your business ecosystem to compete more effectively in the rapidly evolving global market ABOUT CUMMINS, INC. Cummins Inc., a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company's products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 59,900 people committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities critical to healthy communities: education, environment, and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves its customers online, through a network of company-owned and independent distributor locations, and through thousands of dealer locations worldwide and earned about $2.1 billion on sales of $24 billion in 2021.

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Spotlight

SharpEnd

SharpEnd

The Agency of Things™ - is moving brands closer than ever to consumers by connecting packaging, retail and experiential activity. We are a full-service partner to some of the largest global brand owners across fashion, spirits and CPG including Estée Lauder Companies, Pernod Ricard, PepsiCo, Mattel...

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