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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Tuya's solutions enable partners and customers by improving the value of their products while making consumers' lives more convenient through the application of technology. As of September 30, 2023, the Tuya IoT Developer Platform has accumulated over 909,000 registered developers from over 200 countries and regions, covering industries including real estate, hospitality, residential, industry, agriculture, etc. The greater the breadth of business coverage, the more advanced technological support required. Tuya faces high-frequency reads and writes as well as enormous data storage challenges from billion-level online devices. Meanwhile, due to the commercial scenarios involving smart homes and smart industries, Tuya's operating response demands low latency in order to deliver a smoother user experience. Furthermore, Tuya's quick expansion and regular business changes have posed significant challenges to its operation and maintenance management. 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At the same time, Tuya has integrated Aurora Serverless, which includes seconds-level elastic expansion and contraction, allowing Tuya to handle extremely heavy business traffic smoothly. Tuya's customers are located throughout more than 200 nations and regions, and they deal with widespread access to IoT data. Different countries and regions have different regulations on data compliance, such as GDPR and local PII. Tuya needs to adhere to each region's data security compliance regulations. As Tuya's primary business data storage provider, Amazon Aurora was among the first in the public cloud sector to enable physical encryption for database products, which significantly decreased the cost of Tuya's security compliance transformation and gave Tuya excellent basic security guarantees. In addition, Tuya is continuously testing out additional new innovation unique to Aurora, such as Enhanced Binlog, zero-ETL, and Limitless Database. Aurora's ongoing investment in innovative technologies provides more opportunities for Tuya to expand its business. Additionally, based on Tuya's comprehensive IoT developer platform architecture, both parties have collaborated to enhance Tuya IoT applications performance indicators like stability, low latency, scalability, and security in the real-world application of databases, revealing more potential and possibilities and enabling the IoT. Tuya and AWS: Continuously promoting the evolution of cloud experience Data-driven approaches will usher in a new era of innovation in tandem with the swift advancement of data applications. At this year's re:Invent conference, Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of AWS, reviewed the relational database's development history in great detail. In 2014, AWS created Aurora based on log architecture. In 2018, the release of Aurora Serverless allowed for seamless scaling of database resources through virtualization technology. This year, AWS announced the launch of the Amazon Aurora Limitless Database, which automatically scales to millions of write transactions per second well beyond current limits of a single PostgreSQL instance. It is apparent from Amazon Aurora's development history that AWS has always been dedicated to innovation. Customers and partners from a range of industries actively utilizes AWS to enable rapid innovation in a variety of ways, while also working together to enhance the cloud experience. Similar to how Tuya and AWS work together, Tuya's effective and user-friendly IoT developer platform and rich and varied IoT solutions have built a significant lighthouse, embracing the Amazon Aurora's innovation and accelerated the process of building a more secure and reliable IoT database use case. Amazon Aurora VP Yan Leshinsky said, "Amazon Aurora is the fastest growing service in the history of AWS and is trusted by hundreds of thousands of customers. We innovate by working backwards from customers' needs, and we appreciate the feedback that Tuya has shared. We remain committed in developing new Aurora features and capabilities so all customers can accelerate their applications' capabilities and business growth by using Aurora." "Tuya has always committed to strengthening advanced and valuable innovations, while offering open and neutral ecosystem assistance for global partners. We provide our developers with enhanced operational and maintenance control, adaptable data storage options, superior product experience, and a global business layout by utilizing the Amazon Aurora database. We will continue to work with AWS to benefit the world in the future in areas including technology, ecosystems, and cloud computing, helping customers achieve commercial success." said Eva Na, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Cooperation, and CMO of Tuya Smart. Enhancing the partnership with AWS, Tuya delivered IoT best practice using Amazon Aurora database, giving the industry's growth additional impetus. Tuya will maintain its open and neutral stance going forward, collaborating with cloud service providers like AWS to offer global developers a more secure, reliable, and productive cloud environment, thereby advancing the innovation and development of the entire industry.

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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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Software and Tools

ATEL® Unveils the WB550 Apex by ATEL™: The Ultimate 5G Indoor Router with Unmatched Connectivity, Security, and Value

PR Newswire | October 25, 2023

ATEL®, a leader in telecommunications technology, is excited to announce the launch of its latest innovation, the WB550 Apex by ATEL™ 5G Indoor Router. Designed to meet the most demanding Internet connectivity needs, the WB550 Apex by ATEL™ offers unparalleled data speeds, robust security features, and the power to connect up to 32 users. As more of our lives shift to the cloud, having a real-time connection to the Internet is no longer an option, explains Terence "TC" Caston VP of Product Marketing: "Our businesses and homes rely on low-latency applications that perform best with networks that have the power to support them. ATEL® has ensured the network's edge devices have the power to deliver!" The WB-550 FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) device gives your business or home the reliability and power to connect to the things that move you. Key highlights of the WB-550 include: Support for NSA or SA 5G networks C-Band 5G and LTE Cat-19 fallback for lightning-fast speeds in areas without 5G Connections for up to 32 devices on its powerful Wi-Fi 6 network For managing your deployment of devices, ATEL® has also included its premiere device remote management solution called ATRACS™. Our remote management portal has been designed to bring the best-of-breed features to every ATEL® device we launch with two years of free service! About ATEL Asiatelco Technologies Co. (ATEL®) was established in 2003. Since its inception, ATEL® has been growing steadily with its sales covering more than 50 countries. ATEL's business model is JDM/ODM for serving wireless operators and branded customers. With 20 years of accumulated experience, ATEL® has built a strong, effective, and efficient team in R&D and manufacturing. Customers can always rely on the ATEL® team's performance. Quality, flexibility, on-time delivery and lower cost, are just some of the key factors of success at ATEL® and the key to customer satisfaction. ATEL-USA was established in 2017, with its headquarters in Newport Beach, California. We have invested in the industry's top talent for hardware, software, marketing, quality, and operations. This has allowed us to continue the transition from a 3rd Party ODM to a full-service OEM supplier of quality wireless products. Our products include FWA (Fixed Wireless Access), POTs replacement devices, mobile broadband routers, hot spots, home phone connect, OBD, CPE, IoT, safety devices, and smart devices for the US market. A strong, effective, and efficient R&D team, along with the manufacturing team, has positioned ATEL-USA to enter into the OEM space.

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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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