It's been a long time since you heard an update from us, so here's a big one.
We feel fortunate to have received so much interest from fellow travelers who share our passion for this idea of battery-free Bluetooth tags so small and affordable that we can "connect everything". Production has started, and we now have orders for large volumes of tags to fuel the first projects that are part of our controlled release. It's beyond exciting to see Wiliot tags on our customer's products in their facilities talking to their software systems.
So, let's start with a catchup on what's happened since our last update.
Last August, we announced the milestone of completing our first production chip design, 'a release candidate' that would power the version 1.0 Wiliot tag. During the remainder of 2019, we focused on taking that release candidate from testing to conversion into the final tag form factor. That release candidate graduated to become Wiliot 1.0.
Works with Wiliot
In January, we announced Works with Wiliot, our partner program designed to build best-of-breed solutions with products that reliably tap into our technology. One of the first members was Aruba, an HP Enterprise company. We demonstrated an Aruba Access Point compatible with the secure Wiliot Ephemeral ID beacon format at the NRF show in New York. Aruba has since announced Wiliot tag support as standard in the latest release of Aruba OS.
More recently, Deloitte, the world's largest consulting firm, has joined Works with Wiliot and has become the first global systems integrator to deploy Wiliot technology in their labs.
Mist: a leader in the Wi-Fi/BLE/IoT infrastructure space deployed in some of the largest retail environments has also announced support for Wiliot tags. Mist brings the next generation of Bluetooth location technology integrated with an AI-enhanced Wi-Fi access point.
Check out the Works with Wiliot page to get up to speed on some of the other great companies that are investing in integrating with our tags.
With technology as disruptive as Wiliot, it can be challenging to explain the impact of this breakthrough. Yes, now we can "Connect Everything" but what does that mean to businesses, how will life change? As we progress our many deployments, it's becoming clear that one set of changes this technology is enabling is how companies manage supply chains. Deloitte refers to this as a shift from supply chain to "demand chain." Demand chain is a system where the visibility of items is continuous, and real-time demand signals are used to manage production and distribution more efficiently. Demand signals include tracking when shoppers pick up a product in a store, when purchased, and when consumed. Demand chain can save significant portions of a company's capital while driving a lift in sales and better topline growth.
To explain these concepts, we created the above short 2-minute video illustrated with the use cases we are currently working on. Please pass it on.
The following month, we announced that Vintage Investment Partners, Verizon Ventures, Maersk Growth, PepsiCo and NTT DOCOMO Ventures joined our other top tier investors backing Wiliot's postage-stamp-sized computer. To date, Wiliot has raised over $75 million. With that announcement, we released a demonstration video of Wiliot tags working when applied to various surfaces (apparel, glass and plastic bottles, cardboard boxes) measuring temperature and product engagement.
Since you last heard from Wiliot, much of our effort has gone into gearing up for mass production, including several key milestones:
Software & Antenna Design
Wiliot tags use a multi-core processor, with an ARM CPU that runs software governing the algorithms used to manage power, calibrate our radio, sense, encrypt and transmit. This architecture has allowed us the flexibility to meet our first customer requirements and to iterate the design much faster than a simple hardwired approach. The faster we iterate our system, the quicker we can simplify and reduce costs in a sustainable manner. We have now finalized this code for the Wiliot V1.0 tag. Another critical element of the system is the antenna design. We have completed the iconic three-loop design used for many of our tags. This allows us to harvest energy from two different frequencies simultaneously while broadcasting on the third antenna. That enables us to support various cases with the same tag, allowing it to work across different environments: manufacturing, distribution, retail, and home.
We developed the automated manufacturing process for Wiliot tags using the same machinery used to produce RFID tags, allowing us to transition into high volume production. Our main goal for 2020 is now to enable our existing pilot customers with these tags at scale. Central to that has been the collaboration with Avery Dennison, the largest provider of RFID tags. We also made some other additions to the Works with Wiliot program in this space: Muhlbauer: the world leader of tag manufacturing machines, and Tadbik: a smart packaging and tag conversion specialist located close to Wiliot's R&D center.
Cloud Investment / Sensor-free Sensing / Efficiency
We extended our cloud team, with a new development office in Ukraine, dedicated to Wiliot's 'sensor-free sensing' paradigm and building out production tools. The Sensor-free approach moves sensing logic from the tag, into the cloud, eliminating hardware components generally required on the tag. This approach reduces cost, increases flexibility, and allows for improvement in capabilities in the cloud. This allows for upgrades in the tags' functionality, even those that are already in the field.
Part of the value we added to our platform via the cloud is the conversion of the vast stream of raw data received from many tags that are continuously broadcasting into a much smaller amount of useful information relevant to app developers. Our APIs now support callbacks triggered by meaningful changes in the tags' state, so that apps using our APIs only expend resources when the events they are interested in occur. Examples include a new tag being identified, a temperature change, or a pickup event being detected.
Wiliot joined the IoXt Alliance, which aims to define a baseline for security (both from a regulatory perspective and industry standardization) for IoT devices and applications. Consumer privacy and security is a paramount target design of Wiliot products. The IoXt allows Wiliot to collaborate with industry leaders in the IoT space on standards appropriate for this low-cost pervasive technology, looking at it from the myriad of tiny disposable things that will be powered with Wiliot technology.
The impact of COVID has proved to be challenging and devastating for many. We are fortunate that our business is continuing to grow despite the challenges. Wiliot is playing a role in responding to the need to accelerate the digital transformation highlighted during this crisis. As the importance of supply chain efficiency, asset tracking and monitoring, automatic ordering (to name a few uses cases) continue to increase, a technology that can bring item-level visibility and sensing can start filling critical gaps for a better tomorrow. Wiliot is preparing for a role in bringing item-level traceability and temperature sensing to individual vials of vaccine. This can have a significant impact on the safety and efficacy of something that affects all of us.
We are very conscious of the demand and expectations of our product. We can't wait for the technology to be available widely. However, V1.0 of the Wiliot Tag will only be made available to the companies participating in our controlled release. Our goal is to start by making these first users successful.
This Early Access Program is a structured engagement format tailored to address a specific use case with a prototype or pilot to validate it. The Early Access Program is currently close to capacity. To build a sustainable business that can be supported by our team, we continue to focus on a small number of larger volume projects with top tier brands that have a path to scaling to tens of millions of tags.
We will be releasing the second generation of the Wiliot chip to members of the Early Access Program in the first half of 2021. We hope to make Wiliot tags more widely available towards the end of that year with low-cost sampling and evaluation kits available to anyone with an idea that they want to bring to life.
Thank you for taking an interest in Wiliot. We appreciate your support. We are looking forward to working with you to "Connect Everything."