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

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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Business Wire | October 26, 2023

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Nozomi Networks | January 25, 2024

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Read More

Platforms

Quectel Expands Its IoT Antenna Portfolio With Six New 4G and 5G Antennas

Business Wire | October 26, 2023

Quectel, a global IoT solutions provider, has unveiled six new antennas designed to provide robust connectivity performance for IoT devices. The new antennas cover a wide range of use cases from 5G to non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) bringing new capabilities to customers. We’re delighted to further augment our comprehensive range of antennas with the addition of these new antennas and evaluation boards, said Norbert Muhrer, President and CSO, Quectel Wireless Solutions. “Internet of Things applications increasingly demand high-performance antennas that meet their specific needs whether that’s for competitive cost, access to specific network technologies in particular frequency bands or for robust, safe characteristics such as IP ratings and RoHS and REACH compliance. The expanded Quectel antenna range is sure to meet the needs of your device and deployment and is backed by our design support and deployment experience, alongside, of course, our widely deployed and comprehensive range of modules.” The Quectel YC0001CA is a 4G surface-mount design (SMD) antenna that is optimized for LTE, LTE-M and Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) networks. This low-profile antenna, which measures just 35.0 x 8.5 x 3.0mm, operates in the 700-960MHz and 1710-2700MHz and is both RoHS and REACH compliant for use in sensitive environments. In addition, the antenna can be supplied on tape and reel for high-volume applications and is compatible with all of Quectel’s 4G, 3G, 2G and LPWA IoT modules. The Quectel YC0018CA is a 5G SMD antenna that covers 5G New Radio (NR) Sub-6GHz frequency bands. Depending on the ground plane, the antenna is designed to be mounted directly to the printed circuit board (PCB) using a conventional PCB reflow process. Measuring 40.0 x 7.0 x 3.0mm, the antenna operates between -40 °C to +85 °C and weighs 15g. The antenna can be tuned specifically for the final device environment with a simple, PI matching circuit and, when used with other 5G antennas, it can achieve multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) performance. Also available on tape and reel, the antenna can also be supplied with the YC0018CAEVB evaluation board. The Quectel YECN028AA is a 5G or NTN external antenna that supports the 410-470MHz, 617-960MHz and 1425-6000MHz frequency bands. With dimensions of 225 x 54.5 x 13.0mm, the antenna is IP66, RoHS and REACH compliant so it has wide applicability to use cases in sensitive environments. Featuring high efficiency and gain, the antenna offers omni-directional high-speed data transmission and can be used in a wide range of wireless devices such as access points, outdoor equipment, real-time monitoring devices and many others. The Quectel YEMX223J1A is a 5G x 2 combo antenna that is IP67, RoHS and REACH compliant. Measuring 186.0 x 176.0 x 100.5mm, the combo antenna supports the 410-470MHz, 617-960MHz, 1420-1520MHz, 1710-2690MHz, 3300-3800MHz and 4000-6000MHz frequency bands. The ultra-wideband antenna box is also backward compatible supporting 2G and 3G networks as well as Cat-M and NB-IoT. Designed for ease of integration with connection via two cable lengths from 450-5000mm, the pole, wall suction mount omni-directional antenna offers ease of installation and durability thanks to its IP67 and IP69K compliant enclosure. Quectel offers flexible installation option with custom cable length and connector options The Quectel YEMX425J1A is a 5G x 4 combo antenna that measures 186.0 x 176.0 x 150mm. The combo antenna supports the 410-470MHz, 617-2690 MHZ and 3300-6000MHz frequency bands and both RoHS and REACH compliant. Offering backward compatibility with 2G, 3G, Cat-M and NB-IoT, the antenna is, in common with the YEMX223J1A, compatible with Quectel’s RM520x Series of IoT modules. In addition, durability is assured thanks to the combo antenna’s IP67 and IP69K ASA enclosure. Rounding out the latest wave of Quectel antenna introductions, the Quectel YSIS001AA, metal spring antenna operates in the 412-427MHz band, the 433-435 MHz band and the 450-470MHz band which is compatible with LTE B31 plus EU433 applications. Measuring 29.0 x 7.0 x 7.90mm, the RoHS and REACH compliant antenna is mounted to the host device PCB using the conventional SMD reflow process, offering high efficiency. In common with all Quectel antennas, these new additions to the range also gain Quectel’s comprehensive antenna design support including simulation, testing and manufacturing for custom antenna solutions to meet customers’ specific application needs. About Quectel Quectel’s passion for a smarter world drives us to accelerate IoT innovation. A highly customer-centric organization, we are a global IoT solutions provider backed by outstanding support and services. Our growing global team of 5,900 professionals sets the pace for innovation in cellular, GNSS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules as well as antennas and services. With regional offices and support across the globe, our international leadership is devoted to advancing IoT and helping build a smarter world.

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Platforms

1NCE Upgrades IoT Software Platform with Plugins

1NCE | January 11, 2024

1NCE, a company offering a software platform for connected products, today announced 1NCE Plugins, upgrading the platform with software from the IoT industry’s best developers. The announcement was made during the company’s presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 1NCE‘s software platform supports IoT projects of any scale by enabling customers to securely and reliably collect device data across 165 countries and turn it into actionable intelligence. With 1NCE, customers can accelerate time-to-market for IoT projects by months, determine device location without GPS, and optimize payload transmission to increase battery life by up to 70 percent. The company has entered the next stage of its software strategy with Plugins, opening access for third-party software developers to create IoT tools together on the 1NCE platform. Customers now have extensive options to smoothly integrate features from their preferred and market-leading software developers, including: Firmware Over-the-Air Management (FOTA): 1NCE customers can utilize best-in-class firmware upgrade management, keeping connected devices secure and healthy over their lifetime. FOTA is used for releasing new functionality, fixing bugs, and regular maintenance. In partnership with Mender, the new update infrastructure minimizes the risk of bricking from issues with limited bandwidth, unstable connectivity or power loss. This includes optimization using delta updates to reduce bandwidth usage by 90 percent. Data Visualization: In partnership with Datacake, 1NCE customers have access to dashboards that allow device data to be visualized for enhanced planning, prototyping and deployment. The low-code dashboards are optimized for mobile viewing and can be accessed through the 1NCE platform within minutes of setup, enabling an initial project launch much faster than the competition. Integration with Azure and Other Cloud Providers: In addition to 1NCE’s existing partnership with AWS, customers can now seamlessly integrate their IoT data with Microsoft Azure and other leading cloud service providers. The IoT Bridge from Tartabit delivers a reliable and scalable process for transferring data from resource-constrained, battery-powered devices to the cloud. “1NCE believes open platforms are the way of the future for managing connected products over their lifetime,” said Ivo Rook, Chief Operating Officer at 1NCE. “Plugins are just the start, as we intend on solidifying 1NCE as a global standard for IoT over the course of 2024.” 1NCE was founded in 2018 to enable IoT to flow like electricity -- always on, always ready for consumption, always serving the public with an invaluable resource for the future. The 1NCE Lifetime Flat license is disruptive but simple: customers can deploy, connect, and manage IoT sensors across the world for as little as a dollar per year per device. More than 15,000 customers worldwide and 60+ Fortune 500 companies have already trusted 1NCE with more than 20 million connected products across 165 countries and regions. Also at CES 2024, Rook is scheduled to participate in the Consumer Technology Association’s panel -- “The Future of Software-Defined Vehicles” -- on January 10th at 11:00am in W219 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The panel description: "From infotainment to safety, the in-vehicle experience continues to evolve. Learn about the latest trends in software-defined vehicles and how data personalizes the driving experience.” Customers can get started with 1NCE at the online shop with customer support available in 25 languages. About 1NCE 1NCE is a software platform for connected products that delivers future-proof, hassle-free IoT in 165 countries and regions. Learn more online and follow 1NCE on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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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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