Mister Beacon Episode #145
Wiliot Version 2.0March 08, 2022
This week we have a very special guest, the CEO of Wiliot Tal Tamir. We’ll talk about Wiliot’s latest release, which includes new versions of their IoT Pixel tags (battery-free, postage stamp sized computers), and version 2.0 of their cloud service, designed to scale the IoT 100x, from billions to trillions of intelligent connected everyday things.
These technologies are primed to disrupt the IoT and make it much easier for companies to not only track things that were previously offline, but actively solve problems as they arise.
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Steve Statler 00:00
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast. This week is a very special edition of the show, we will be interviewing Tal Tamir, who is the co founder and CEO of Wiliot, the company that is connecting everyday things to the internet and bringing intelligence through IoT pixels, these battery free sticker size computers. So fascinating conversation, we span you know, what is the technology, a new version of the technology has just been launched version two. And we'll also get into a bit of history about where the company came from and how it got to where it is. So hope you enjoy. The Mr. Beacon podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, Intelligence for everyday things by IoT pixels. Tal, welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast. It's been gush over for years that I've been working with the arts. And we started working together, and this is the first time you've been on the show. So welcome.
Tal Tamir 01:18
Thank you, Steve. It's a pleasure. It's about time.
Steve Statler 01:23
And I have to thank you. Separate to that is one thing when I joined with you, and I wasn't sure that you would even let me continue to do a show where I covered competitors and that sort of thing. And you did. And we've actually never talked about what should or shouldn't be in this podcast, even though I've covered what some people might consider to be competing technologies. So thanks for that. But we've got a lot to cover. So let's get into it. I want to take this opportunity of talking to you, the CEO, the co founder of Wiliot up to talk a bit about what Wiliot is for those people that don't know, and we've just launched version two of the product. So I want to dig into that, and talk a bit about what that means what it is. And then lastly, if we have time, I want to ask you a few questions, our traditional kind of three favorite songs, and how did you get this job question. But let's start off with Wiliot. And can you just explain briefly what Wiliot is offering and why it's potentially so transformational?
Tal Tamir 02:43
Yeah, first of all, in terms of Mr. Beacon, I am really actually very proud of the small contribution that we have for this stage. It's a very diverse and open platform. Hopefully it will continue to be so will you This is an interesting journey. I think we are unique in two ways. And I think both of them might surprise people. I don't think it's about battery free Bluetooth. I don't think it's about Bluetooth at all. It is an IoT. But we are kind of we're trying to change things into vectors, I would say the first one is that we try to go back and address the things the T in IoT. I think most people including me, and you find it easier to understand how you can make a place smart, because a place has usually a very kind of focused function. It doesn't move. So it would make sense to make it smart. Right? So probably, most people will understand what smart retail or smart production would mean. But what is a smart thing. Things are so many right of them right from an insulin injector down to zucchini. And also they just change locations all the time. So what does it mean to make things smarter? is a big question. I'm sure that we will discuss it today. And this is what we do this about us the one factor we go down to the sandwich.
Steve Statler 04:14
No, I just wanted to call this out because I mean at the center of this. So yeah, there are these tags and they're battery free. And they do talk bluetooth, but it's it's it's bigger and broader than that part of it is I think in opinion on why IoT, or the Internet of Things is under delivered. And I mean, just to make it completely explicit. What Why do you think IoT is why is it that we're in the billions and not the trillions, which is I think where we hope to take it with weather.
Tal Tamir 04:51
So naturally when you make a play smart, I think while the value is kind of clear to people as to what it means Naturally, you kind of need the infrastructure to do that, right? Basically, in order to make anything smart, you need to invest in the sensors, the cameras and everything around it, to make it smart. And that means that if you make one location smart, you need to replicate that investment to make everything small. So that is a great friction. In general, I would say that infrastructure in new infrastructure is something that slows things down.
Steve Statler 05:32
Because it's expensive, takes time. And it's like, you know, to me, it's like building the highway system, you can only use something apocalyptic to make that kind of investment. And, and really IoT has not had that. We're not talking about ferrying missiles from one end of the United States to the other, which is what caused us to invest in the in the highway system. So yeah,
Tal Tamir 05:59
it's IoT. Yes, it's IoT. And it's about the things and assuming that you can add value to anything we use on a daily basis, it remains so in any location. And that means that you cannot rely on infrastructure. So embedded into the focus of things is that you need to be either infrastructure free, or any infrastructure that needs to be added, to support smart things in is really kind of very simple. And low cost, I'll give you the most kind of brutal example. Right? Why focusing on things relates to us people on a personal level, right? You can go to a smart location, if it's a smart kind of return, right? And, and today, there's so much innovation and a good one, to improve how we shop, in retail. So your experience, there can be flawless, right? And you can buy a piece of food. But once you get that piece of food, and you take it out of that store, it will not warn you if it's bad and expired, then you should not use it. And I think that more and more I think we all kind of relate to, to the problem of solutions that deal with with quality of food, quality of medicine, efficiencies, reducing waste, and that tends to be an end to end process that relates to things and other places. And this is the one thing that makes us unique. The second thing is is is the fact that and this is sometimes gets even more confusing is that we really think in specific data versus big data. Sometimes when I talk to customers, they're so used to see statistics, and dashboards, that kind of represents their world, that they forget that it can be much simpler, we can try to address the actual problem that is creating this big data representation of it. So what we're trying to do at Twilio is try to help customers fix the problem on an individual basis. And in order to do that, as I think we've been public about that, our entire business model is about providing multi dimensions to customers, meaning not just the location of where they are, but the conditions, temperature, humidity, and anything around them. Because we feel that this is how the things themselves can fix any problem they encounter, everywhere they go. So these are the two vectors that really is trying to contribute on one hand, go back to the things and on the other hand, provide tools. So the things can fix themselves, rather than just count the number of failures.
Steve Statler 08:51
Very good lot to unpack. I want to get back to the business model at some point, but just double click on how Wiliot does that. So it's about making everyday things expensive, not expensive, not high value products, fridges and cars they're already connected. It's about cardboard boxes and vaccine vials and things like that, but how do you do that? How can you put intelligence computing power connectivity into a cardboard box?
Tal Tamir 09:27
Yeah. So so. So you have to start going over the basic building block and that kind of famous kind of label or sticker or pixel is now rebranded and it means something. What we design at Wiliot is a device that is simple enough low cost enough on one hand to grow on anything. And we continuously design generation after generation to make it even simpler and higher performance. And at the same time, that same device needs To enable a future of insights and sensing information, even those that we cannot predict right now. So the entire idea is that you are enabled these labels on an asset. And then these labels transmits enough information to the cloud, using an existing infrastructure, or a very simple extension of it. All very private and encrypted, it goes up to the cloud and in the cloud, we basically try and estimate what changed in the physical world. Did it move? Did humidity change? What is the temperature? And not that we do that what we do more is try to add more sensing capabilities on already deployed assets. Because basically, the way we sense is we estimate a change in the physical world, all modeled in the virtual world. So imagine a customer can deploy millions and billions of assets. And one day, we can knock on his door and basically say, Look, we think we can show you that if you add light sensing, you can see now what is the value that you'll get instead of just forecasting or estimating what it will be. So it's a combination of core chip level design, that is not easy to do, from harvesting energy to kind of calibrating and connecting to existing infrastructure, all the way up to data science, cutting edge data science. That basically is the product that we deliver to customers.
Steve Statler 11:41
So the technology ranges from Cloud technology, some edge technology and some tag technology, are these IoT pixels. What is in an IoT pixel? How do you make a computer for pennies rather than dollars?
Tal Tamir 12:00
Yeah, so basically, we design a component, okay. That can harvest energy. So if you look on a dog, and basically let me show you, the dog, right now. So it's a piece of plastic of paper, you can barely see, but there's a component taped somewhere here. And you can see a bunch of antennas. Some of the antennas are energy antennas. Okay, so like the two here that you see on the side can harvest energy from Bluetooth, Wi Fi. And anything that's frequency, and some of the antennas transmit and receive information. And all of the antennas are used for sensing. Because the way our eyes into the physical world, other antennas are nothing else. So that chip basically right now gets energy from the environment wakes up from time to time. The there's a dual core computer actually in the chip that you see on this label here, we calculate any relevant information that we think is we should upload. Once we're ready, we transmit fully compliant BLE beacon, like anything else to transmit speaker, and it goes through anything that can read BLE, which is your phone, any simple beacon, or bridge device, and it goes all the way up to the cloud as encrypted information.
Steve Statler 13:29
So this is not an off the shelf chip. This is one that Wiliot has designed. What is it that you have to do to be able to get energy from such a media source of energy radio waves? That's probably kind of the hardest kind of energy harvesting that you can do? How do you? How do you pull that off?
Tal Tamir 13:53
That's the job by the way. Yeah, harvesting energy, we're not the first to do energy harvesting, you can harvest energy from lights, which is at least one order of magnitude better than harvesting energy from RF, you can actually harvest energy from RF with a dedicated transmitter of energy, like RFID. But we don't want to do that, because that adds infrastructure. You can even harvest energy from movements. And that would be more energy than RF Rf is really like the poorest source of energy. But it's always kind of the simplest in terms of the of the of the label design. Okay, it's the kind of the lowest cost ability to harvest energy. But if you if you quantify, basically, around us right now, around in your kind of room in my room, the Bluetooth and Wi Fi, energy levels, and cellular are down to few nano watts of energy. There is no off the shelf chip today that can do anything useful with a few nanobots of energy, usually even kind of a chip that does nothing, and just leaks energy is two orders of magnitude more 300 or 400. Now So we have built a chip that is capable of doing something useful with nanobots of energy. And that is not an easy thing to do, as you and I know on a daily basis.
Steve Statler 15:12
Very good. We could spend a lot of time double clicking on that. But I want to move forward and talk about version two. But before we do that, the business model, so we design chips, is that the business model? Selling chips? No.
Tal Tamir 15:32
And I think, by the way, yeah, and I think some people thought it's a type of upheaval that we let it was never people, anyone can come over, I can show him the slide number one that they created for Wiliot, then we said that for IoT to progress, customers should be able to pay for value, and not to make big decisions before they saw any form of value. And if I need to install infrastructure in all my locations, and each location cost half a million dollars, that's a big decision before I saw any value. So from day one, we said, we will design these devices, that will be so low cost that can go on anything, but we will not sell them. Basically, we will enable anyone that is able to create enough capacity to kind of purchase them directly. So will it today and in the future. And forever, we'll never make a single cent out of hardware or anything around the hardware. The business model is solely around the sensing services that we provide. So imagine an extreme scenario in which a customer applied a label on something and never used its capabilities for whatever reason, we are not paid. We okay with that, because we are absolutely certain that there are so many ways and dimensions that we can add value that the customer wants, he sees the value will activate these capabilities.
Steve Statler 17:02
So that comes through the cloud, right? And, you know, why do you need a cloud component when you have such an incredible chip? What's what's, why not just
Tal Tamir 17:16
yeah, the only ability to sense if, if I would add any sensing, even if I would kind of let go on the future proofing and our ability to add sensing in the future. Even just adding temperature and humidity and light and movement would make the label just too expensive, and not useful. So the only way to do that and not create kind of a cost function versus sensing capabilities is to do it in the cloud. And to do it through a AI model in the cloud. That is the only way. On top of that if you want to enable a secure world, basically, because we are after tagging everything that is useful to people, you definitely don't want to trust anyone in the physical world, and you want to make sure that your security and privacy is maintained in a place that is easier to protect. So that adds another form of security to what we do.
Steve Statler 18:13
So basically the clouds essential if you're gonna have security, the cloud has a role in offloading some of the functions that would normally be done on the device, you can make the device slimmer, lower cost, if you're putting it in the cloud, and so that the business models really around selling those cloud services.
Tal Tamir 18:37
Yeah, actually, it's funny because look, we have a very capable hardware team and design team. And I keep kind of insisting that we keep the labels we keep, we should keep improving the performance of the labels and reduce the cost, but we should keep them featureless which is which goes against the ethics instincts of most of the very capable designers we have. And the reason is that we can help customers by adding sensing services in the future based on what they need versus what we think when they need right now. And so it creates kind of a pace of innovation that is different than typical hardware. It's not that you need to wait for the features of next year. We can talk with you understand the need and in a couple of weeks we can provide a sensing service that caters to your needs as a customer versus a kind of a hardware business naturally is very very slow.
Steve Statler 19:31
So let's talk about use cases. What can you actually do with this thing? I mean, it's tremendously flexible, its general purpose, you have to excuse we both love dogs and minds decides to join into the broadcast. So tell me tell tell us a bit about the use cases. What are the things if I can connect everything to the internet? For pennies? What is it the the you think is the The thing that's gonna drive this, this thing forward?
Tal Tamir 20:05
Yeah, I'll do that I'll give you kind of set of examples. And then it will look kind of very diverse and broad. So how can we do all of that, and I'll explain how we can do that. But first of all, any example that we see any customer that we talked to, basically has a lack of visibility on his products, and that is across locations across kind of phases. So it can be anything from a very easy to understand an insulin injector, right that might be kept out of conditions in the supply chain, or used incorrectly at home or disposed of incorrectly, after usage. But it can also be a greater vegetables that are kept too long, or the wrong temperature, and humidity or just delivered to the wrong place, or dumped before any chance of being sold on the front store. So any customer I talked to has some inefficiencies in the way they produce, the way they sell, and the way their products are being used, the way their products are being recycled, the waste management. And that is the common theme to what we do any customer, regardless of a product once he tags a specific asset or a group of assets, the customer knows what is the right way of doing things, how long it should be kept. And what is the what are the right conditions is that the front store back store, should it be used once a day twice a day. Once you do that our job trilliant Regardless of the use case, is to see and identify any violations. anytime there's any one of the parameters that we call the mentioned crosses, what the customer defined, we know that we need to act, we need to act to fix it. And that is on asset by asset. Kind of a resolution. So a customer wants, he defines that kind of right way of doing things, we will act anytime that specific product is out of the allowed boundary. So use cases usually aligned to efficiency of supplying products. So the ability to supply products only when they're needed. The ability to guarantee a quality of food, adherence of medicine, the ability of improving efficiencies overall in moving perishable items in moving livestock, and finding assets in making sure that people don't kind of excessively buy and stock items, even down to the point that we can measure carbon emission indirectly. So we can price any product individually, not just the category, by his specific history, in the future, maybe even price items based on their specific history as it goes to quality and exploration. So the common theme keeps coming back. And it's always about around efficiency and quality to any product. So that these are the use cases you and I see on a daily basis, and that is the repeatable pattern. The only question is, how do you do that? Right? How do you work in such a diverse of use cases? No one really will claim that we're experts in pharma or experts in retail. We're not. And this is why we're, we have created a platform and automation platform that enables customers to do exactly what I said. The customers know exactly and intimately, what should happen, what is their use case. And obviously we will help them with partners to do that. But once they do that, you can have an asset with set of 10 or 20. Such playbooks as we call them, the playbook is how things should run. And our job on a generic level, without even knowing what the use case is, is to watch that asset and look for any deviation and then act based on the actions that the customer has defined for us. So that is a SAS technique. We're not the first to use automation platform. I think we are the first to do something like that when when it is tied to billions and billions of physical assets in a complex world.
Steve Statler 24:46
So you touched on the automation platform, which is a key part of this new version two thing and I'm going to come back to that but before we move on, I just want to make sure that it's really clear how quickly In these tags that are constantly harvesting and broadcasting, sensing information to the cloud, how that can make a difference to the supply chain? How can it make it more efficient? Because I think most people look at our supply chains. And they know that there's this thing called, you know, lean, just in time. And I think most people would say, well, haven't we become too efficient to lean to just in in time? How can you possibly get more efficiency out of something that already appears to be very efficient? How's that possible? If you're putting tags on something as mundane as a creative zucchini or something like that?
Tal Tamir 25:45
It's a perfect example. Actually, first of all, I wish you were right. I think the level of inefficiency now as everyone would admit is, is definitely not even close to perfect, I think you're talking 10s of percentage of loss because of excessive purchase or loss due to quality. So I'll give you like two examples. If a shelf is empty somewhere, that is the time that you need to replenish. And it's an end to end process. So you need to create that kind of end to end flow that if I have a specific empty shelf, I can basically trigger a replenishment and I and it's not the case that replenishment processes is fixed and transportation or burning energy to go and replenish food shelves, that's one form of inefficiency or that because the shelf is empty, the people that are responsible to purchase and replenish the items will just excessively buy, because no one wants to see an empty shelf. So that would be the tendency. So that is one example on how you can do a demand based replenishment that will improve not one or two percentage, but an order of magnitude more in supply chain on the other way around. Basically, imagine a zucchini crate that is left behind. And usually it's not like a one zucchini crate, usually there's more that stay behind the other farmer location should stay there less than a day and it stays three days maybe and the temperature is wrong, we can fix that. Right? Because the crate would trigger an immediate notification with escalation path. So people will come and just fix it instead of just counting the defects. Once you do that, there'll be a tendency to optimize. So anytime you fix something and something is left behind, you'll improve the process around it. And we time will get closer hopefully to what you describe as a as an efficient supply chain. Because if you look at vegetables, any fresh produce or even not fresh produce, the supply chains today don't have enough visibility, a lot of goodwill but not enough visibility to to get to a kind of a perfectly designed supply chain.
Steve Statler 28:10
Very helpful. One of the things that I was really proud to see over the last few weeks was Israel's submission to the cop process, the climate change, gathering in Glasgow, and you got invited to participate in a program that was led by the President of Israel. And essentially the you know, the premise is, how do we solve climate change? Well, there's a lot we can do to to move away from fossil fuels and that sort of thing. But fundamentally, it's going to be about innovation. And you've already touched on this, but I just want to give people a bit more of a sense of how can connecting everyday things to the internet help to solve the climate change. Problem. What Yeah, just kind of make
Tal Tamir 29:17
related to me personally, when I when I started with four and a half years ago, I don't think it was top of my mind. Any environmental, obviously I was aware of its problem needs to get fixed. But it was not personal to me. But I talk with like probably three or four customers a day. And it's not just a real problem, but it's just something that can be fixed with technology. I think if more companies would decide that we would use kind of the brainpower and innovation capabilities that we have to solve kind of the day to day problems that people have. We live in a better world right? I think it's a I'll give you examples right? Just this week, I think in Israel, they published the food waste level, which is down at the supply chain is at 30%, Waste 30% Waste, it's not just the kind of the actual net value of that 30% waste, but the resources that we use to grow. fields have wasted the vegetables, the water that went into it, right? It's unbelievable, right, the fuel that was burned to transport all this information, you know, you're not talking about like one to 5%, you're talking about quantities that can feed and tie countries, right, it is well known that if you just kind of shrink the food waste globally, there should not be anyone going hungry, right. And all today. So examples range from anything due to quality loss because of lack of efficiency. Up to excessive by, by the way, people that should be blamed, blamed more than anyone at excessive advise us. Anytime we have to make a decision on how much to buy and what to buy, we make mistakes, and but we can get help. So technology that starts from consumption from people from the quality they desire, the patterns of usage of food and farmer, why should I go into my car and burn fuel to buy the same washing machine liquids times and times again, like this is like a pattern that happens all the time. Based on how people consume, we should design a fulfillment and supply chain that caters to that eliminate always, always, I don't see a reason why there should be any waste management, why there should be kind of full garbage bins just because we make the wrong decisions. If you look at any innovation around data, you see that it's fully efficient, right streaming of data of media today is fully efficient, for the tertials. And farmers should be the same way. And if more and more companies join that effort and invest their technology to start from people and planet. Go back and see how they can help fix it. It's not just the quality will improve, but the profits of suppliers. And anything in between will improve. This is why it's upsetting. It's not it's not the trade off. You can help our quality, the things that we eat daily. The medicine we use daily, you can help people while improving profits for anyone that is involved in the process. It's just lack of inefficiency of efficiency.
Steve Statler 32:50
So yeah, they call that the triple bottom line helping the planet and helping people be be safe having better quality products, but also helping profit. And, you know, I, to me, this is one of the reasons for getting up and coming into into work is there's this massive opportunity that we have. And I don't think it's just really I think it's the companies that are starting to use Wiliot technology. So it's a much bigger ecosystem than just this company that you that you started.
Tal Tamir 33:25
Yeah, and I was getting on a personal level, I just want in a way that it's sometimes it might be annoying a bit for customers, like I go into a meeting and basically the we talk about how we can improve their asset loss. And let's say the asset loss is what they use to kind of cool meat, produce that go into a customer and I kind of insist to go back and say, Okay, we will help you with asset loss. But can we also help you with the quality of the food that you deliver? So we kind of push on that? And because it's just it's just inefficiency. Most people that think assume I asked one more people. So most people I hear assume that there's a trade off, basically that if you want to improve quality, it will just cost more. No, it won't. It won't actually it should cost less improving quality. So as more and more I find myself in a position that I'm pushing more than I should, that we should kind of go and help the core processes that we use all around.
Steve Statler 34:29
And I think anyone that looks at the fridge or even their wardrobe, what proportion of the wardrobe are you still wearing? Could someone else benefit from that? And I think the exciting thing about this technology is it goes it spans everything from the manufacturing process for distribution and retail, into the home and into the recycling process. And if you can use this infrastructure that already exists all these Bluetooth devices that surround us all this connectivity, all these radio waves, then this is not a minor change. It's not a tweak. It's it's orders of magnitude. And that's really what we need in order to solve this crisis.
Tal Tamir 35:13
A call for action step is for anyone. I think if you talk with people, they assume that it's it cannot be done. So I asked given my family, right? If you take a bite into something, you have no idea where it came from, what its history? How do you feel so people assume that that's the only way of consuming things. And I think we time people will demand that what they consume has a non quality, and they will demand from their suppliers, that what they use will never attend to waste. So if I buy something i where, if I'm done with it, there was a responsibility to use it again and again, to eliminate waste. I know how long it will take, but I think it will become the new norm of how people consume products.
Steve Statler 36:02
And I think most people that have looked at Willie have said, Wow, this is really cool technology and potentially disruptive I get it. If I go from connecting a few expensive things to the internet to connecting everything, then that could have some profound changes. But you know, the I think the the unspoken question, because people are very polite is, is it going to work? And when is it going to work? And I think that's why this version two, announcement, the release is kind of interesting, because it's kind of the next step. So let's unpack that. What is it in this new version two? platform? This is more than one thing? It's actually quite a few things. So what's new, what's changed?
Tal Tamir 36:57
Yeah, I think, let's try to split it into two not to make things overly complicated. I think let's start with the with the basic technology. And I agree with you, it's so ambitious, and definitely not easy to do that. There's always skepticism, our commitment, in the first generations was always from day one to to double the performance and shrink the cost by 50%. It's always kind of our commitment for the first generations. And we release gen two, actually, we exceeded a bit our promise. So gen two, basically is a label that has a double the range, less than half of the cost. And we're already deep into our Gen three design that we're not obviously unveiling, but I can tell you that it will be even more aggressive on these two kind of metric. Why? Because we want to enable them broadly. So that's our mission. Now customers are deploying all the time now. We're in the millions now. So it's not kind of anything kind of a POC that you do with like 10 labels, it's in the millions. And while it's not perfect, the performance that we get is actually better than I thought for John to get full visibility. And we get it quickly. So you don't have to wait to install more and more infrastructure you can go in in a day, and your dog, large number of assets. And in few days, you can see everything lights up, and you can see it visible and you can inspect it. And that's true today, for the version two that we're releasing. The second element that we're releasing is a way to engage with us. And as I said earlier, if we want to work broadly, to fix anything from kind of adherence and quality of medicine and falling assets and anything in between, how do you do it? So that automation platform we're releasing now. And it should be much easier to customers to engage with us. It's not a lengthy deal signing, we're not looking for any commitment, no big decisions. Customers can start with the simplest simple test to prove to themselves that what we do can help them and then grow with the amount of value and information that we deliver. So that platforms enables any customer can have a playground that you can learn. You can exercise. You can purchase specific use cases, specific kits, as we call them to test the things that you care about. You can connect with the partners and we're training partners all around the world to help anyone deploy test ask questions. So that plus obviously as a sensor for us to keep the broad aspect of what we do and and keep that generic focused layer that can provide that entire spectrum. have use cases.
Steve Statler 40:02
So this universal automation platform universal because you can start to automate everything from a bottle of pills to a cardboard box to some Tupperware or whatever. What is an automation platform? And how does it differ from what existed before there was? You know, I remember talking about Williard. And people would say, Well, how do I integrate this? And you'd say, oh, there's some restful API's or some MQ TT, and people would nod, and they'd be pretty happy with that, why? Why do anything different from that?
Tal Tamir 40:43
So the why is that there are two, two answers to that. One, we showed a lot of dashboards like everyone do. And you get, it gets to a point that you see that the dashboard is nice, but it doesn't fix the problem. It doesn't help the customer fix the problem, it helps him see the problem but not fix it. So one response is that that platform enables you to fix it, the way it works is that you basically pick a specific asset, then you pick specific conditions that can be in any dimension, you set the allowed boundaries, and then you choose an action. Now that action can still be show me the problem, but we time what will happen is that customers will tend to go, let's fix the problem. If something was dropped at the wrong location. Don't just count it. Let's fix it. Now. Let's fix it in real time. So that is something that we did not have the capability to do. But we can do now with the with automation platform. And obviously, the second answer to the why is that we need a way. To build a generic capability, we need a way to inject new sensing capabilities, we need a way to keep really focused on what we're good at, which is to continue to enable this broad network of sensors and add sensing in the cloud, but not just going deeper into being experts in any type of use case, because that will limit our capabilities. So that platforms enables a universal approach to use cases. That's one. And the second element is action oriented IoT versus basically kind of a big data approach or statistical approach to IoT. Now, we're not the first to do automation, as I said, usually, it's kept to a more kind of a SAS oriented, virtual flows. If something happens, then do that, if something happens to do that is not a new concept. But imagine a world in which everything you use, everything you have, can be programmed anything and it doesn't have to be day one, a customer can decide after launching a product that he wants to add another kind of program, let's program the asset to warn me if it's disposed incorrectly, okay. It's something that you can activate and deactivate all the time. And it just fits the IoT profile, because it ties the customer commitment to the value that he sees. And to ask that is a core value.
Steve Statler 43:23
So this is a drag and drop platform. It's not no programming required. So you can set these conditions as you said, how do you connect these actions to the real world to all the other applications that are out there?
Tal Tamir 43:43
That's the beauty. The beautiful thing about kind of automation platform as they exist today, is once your customer, right, you define the conditions. And now you need to decide what action you take, you have 1000s of possible connectors, or actions that you can take in five minutes, I can show you how I can take a pillbox, right, and program it to do anything from scheduling a meeting, sending an email or connecting to a specific customer system if it's empty. And you can change that all the time. So that's flexibility. And the breadth of action that you can take is so easy that I'm sure all customers will tend to just focus on fixing issues rather than just kind of inspecting them.
Steve Statler 44:31
So we can connect to ERP applications and slack messaging applications without having to do any development that's already there. Very good. I want to talk a bit about get into the weeds a bit because I think everyone kind of one of the dangers is that people's expectations are not realistic this. It's magic. It just sort of works. There's nothing that can't be done. And obviously, we live in the real world. And that's not the case. How are you? What is the company doing to? To make sure that there's energy where you want it, and that you can use some of these existing infrastructure? We've been talking about existing infrastructure. So we're talking about phones, we're talking about Wi Fi access points that already have radios. So we already have a way for tags to talk to the internet. Because there's connectivity everywhere. There's not quite as simple as that, at least not. At least with version two. Can you talk a bit about this? three tier architecture and the way things have evolved?
Tal Tamir 45:49
Yeah, so one of our kind of, again, going back to a kind of commitment or core value is infrastructure free, right. Now, is it the case that I can take any v2 label, place it anywhere, and it will have enough energy to operate and, and someone to talk to? No, it's not the case, I think. But what is true, is that you can always add a specific device that I'll talk about now, that will kind of bridge the gap. Okay, now, before I show what this device is for v2, we will continuously work to continue to shrink that delta of things that you need in the future. So stay tuned. But right now, if your customer and and you want to track a specific asset, what we do is we come in, and you're right to say that the data path is usually kind of easier the energy path because we need to manage two networks, a data network and an energy network, the energy network usually is not as simple. The v2 tags range is not as ubiquitous that you'll always get to an energy source. So we do two things. First of all, we provide more than one type of attack, we provide multiple skills, depending on the range and performance that you need. And then we provide a set of what we call bridge devices. A bridge devices can be as simple as this type of device. Basically, it's a, it's a type of BLE beacon, no Wi Fi, no cellular basically, it's a BLE beacon. With basically off the shelf components and our software that will do anything that you need, from current transmitting the right signal or Bluetooth signal to wake up the dogs, they transmit back data, that device will take that data and will retransmit. So replay the same data in a way that we can guarantee will get to that access point or that phone or that tablet, that can continue to forward it all the way to the cloud. So there's a an intermediate device that is always there. But it's really, really low cost. Okay, so usually, when we talk with customers, and we quantify their cost of adding our services, that infrastructure piece, cost, usually less than the technician visit. So that kind of the order of magnitude, so it's still there, it's still something to design, it's, it's something that you have to think about, and you have to model. So it's nice that infrastructure free in that aspect. But the cost of doing that is is really, really low. So that is something that we are enabling with v2.
Steve Statler 48:40
So this is like, kind of a wireless stepping stone to get from A to B to C, where a is the physical thing. And C is the the the phone or the Wi Fi access point. That's, that's already there.
Tal Tamir 48:58
Yeah, the way to look at it, by the way, in terms of occupancy, this device is also a type of attack, right? Obviously, it's, you need very few of them. But it's not a connected device. It's not that you're deploying a new network in your premise, you basically have kind of think about a mesh of beacons that talk to each other, eventually gets to the right place. And this is kind of one anchor of doing that. So that that's keeping the cost down and complexity down. But it's still a thing that you have to play somewhere. So
Steve Statler 49:35
So the technology is maturing the costs going down, performance is going up. I think a lot of people start thinking well, how do I actually move forward? What what is it that I need to do in order to start connecting everything and it's Having sensing built into the product and so forth. So let's start off talking a bit about partners. What is the role of partners in all of this?
Tal Tamir 50:12
Yeah. So you know, when you and I know well, that, if we would kind of go back like a year or a bit more, customers would have to wait until they can work with us. That is not a good thing for us all them, right. And because the way we engage customers was very specific. With any customer, the new kind of platform that we talked about, enables to quickly onboard anyone that has an interest in using our capabilities, and provide him all the kind of actions that he needs to test it, taste it, talk with an expert, it's all right there in one location. So any customer out there that wants to see maybe there's value in there, and I want to test it, all you have to do is approach us we'll onboard you quickly to a platform, and then you'll start to see use case kits that might or might not be relevant for you, you have a list of partners that we train, which are extension of Wiliot, you can pick a partner, we can pick assignment for you. And you can have that partner kind of help you choose the right mix of labels of infrastructure, help you deploy support. And, and these partners are becoming key in extending affiliate globally, and universally, as you said, This path has become part of Wiliot in terms of the benefit, they see their expertise, we're launching an academy with multiple levels, we can make them as experts as they can be, in order to get there.
Steve Statler 52:02
What kind of partners are we talking about.
Tal Tamir 52:06
So at the baseline, the service partners are those that I just talked about those that will work directly with customers to help them understand the capabilities, deploy. And grow. These are the service partners. And partners to that, obviously, we work with value add, resellers partners, that will take what we do as part of the overall solution. So let's say that your supply chain or logistics solution provider, you can use the widget capabilities to embed it into your own solution, we would love for you to do that. Or a retail solution provider or farmer. Many other examples. As I said, we also work with with leading label makers, so they can provide the labels, right, because it's it's not part of our business model, we want to enable it affordably. So we work with all the leaders in that field. So they can work directly with customers to enable labels. And we work with the infrastructure providers, anyone from the large enterprise networks down to people that can deliver simple bridge devices. And the customer can choose which infrastructure is best for him. So we have basically four categories from the kind of the knowledge experts, the boots on the ground, the service providers all the way to label makers, infrastructure, suppliers, and definitely solution value add resellers.
Steve Statler 53:35
So the companies that are writing the applications and so forth, and this is actually potentially a very large pool of partners, the the, you know, there's the Bluetooth industry, which has been working on RTLs real time location. And then there's the RFID industry that has been working on auto ID and understands RF, and then there's all of the management consultants, I think, people you know, we've focused a lot on technology and process. But it's going to take a lot to potentially completely change your business model, if you realize the full potential of this. And so I think it's gonna be very, very interesting. You know, previously, one of the cool things about working at Williams it was you got to work with the superstars of the respective industries, whether it's pharmaceutical companies, apparel companies, CPG companies, logistics companies, and you know, we both been to those early user groups where it was kind of like going to the Oscars, you're like, Oh, I know you and I've seen you before I'm seeing your ads and so forth. It was very cool, but there was obviously a cost of for those companies to engage and it If it wasn't a small investment, what? Let's talk a bit about starter kits or kits more generally. Tell us a bit about that. Because that is something new. It's the sort of there's been kind of a soft launch, we've been trying this out. But with version two, we're actually opening the gates to, to this what what are these kits?
Tal Tamir 55:27
Yeah, what we saw, which is very common, and I think it relates to the question that you asked me before, it's like, when we meet customers, it's really, you get a mix of all there's a lot I can do with it. Coupled with, I want to see it working before kind of committing anything. So what we want to kind of remove any friction in doing that. So the key purpose is to kind of create an ensemble of use cases and capabilities. So when customers kind of log in into kind of their account, they can pick an order and buy. It's really affordable, and you get the kit, if it's around food, or in the future will be around farmer, or maybe you're just a partner and you want your kind of technician kids. Or maybe you kept asking, Can we print labels, and you want to printer or you want to automatically apply labels with machine or we'll come up with many kids that will help customers get the first experience of how we live can help them as quickly and affordably as we can. And that will enable also ask them to focus on the use case that they have in mind. So we will build kits as fast as we can, we're still a small company. And so apologies upfront for any kind of delays. But we will supply kits for customers based on whatever they desire. And we will keep adding them and partners will also get the opportunity to offer this. So it will be kind of a meeting place of ideas and use cases for customers to experience. And hopefully once customers do that, they will be kind of more mature to kind of sit and plan for that actually kind of rollout and deployment of the seeing the capability.
Steve Statler 57:19
So start off with starter kits, then more kits for partners for different for different use cases. Very good. Well, we're on the home straight. I the last chapter of this podcast is we've talked about what the app does, we've talked about what's new, and how people can engage. I think, you know, a lot of people are kind of interested in the people behind the product or the service. And tell us a bit about how this all came across what's How did you get this incredible job and what led up to it.
Tal Tamir 58:02
So, me personally, I call myself a probe chip head. So I worked in most of the kind of tech companies. It's the it's the third startup that I work in. And the last startup did something completely different. I was founder and CEO and startup to develop millimeter wave chipsets for 5g technology. I think I always look for kind of a problem that is difficult to solve. Sometimes too difficult. But that's a topic for another discussion. Because I feel that we have the team that has a good chance of solving that problem. And then it becomes really interesting on how you kind of grow from that. So. So I worked in three startups that got acquired. So it's kind of a bounce between a small company and a large company. So I've been at both. And once I saw the IoT vision from 10 years ago, and and I worked in large companies in senior positions, I just felt that no one is doing the right thing. And that's typical kind of a trigger to open a company, right. And I feel that people are just redefining what IoT is just fits the current roadmap. And it was years ago that they said that once they cannot open a company to do IoT from the ground up and four and a half years ago, I came to like two or three investors. And basically I said, Look, we'll invent this device that costs almost nothing but still can sense for so many things, that we can bet the company on such a business model. And I don't know if it's doable. Until we build it. I don't think we can model and evaluate if it's doable. So that was fun a few years ago. It was an interesting first year I I think it took us less than a year to understand that we're within the ballpark. So it's doable, but it should take time, but it's doable. But I'm not a long I think, as you know, kind of my co founders, and we brought a team with an impressive track record in designing very complicated hardware solutions. And while working affiliate, we understood that there's a second load to the brain, and we keep kind of building an unbelievable kind of data and platform team, with senior managers from all the right places to lead that part, because we have a physical aspect. And we have a virtual aspect, and they meet in the middle and this universal automation platform. And it's, and that level of complexity, we need a very good team. So to me, if I kind of inspect on how I thought it would be, it's bigger than I thought I knew that will be a play in IoT. I knew that we'll have problems to fix. My concern was always that we'll have to choose a specific use cases, use case like you tend to, but I did not know that it will tie so nicely into so many problems. And so many, even low hanging fruits that needs to get fixed. That is something that I did not fully understand. And they will.
Steve Statler 1:01:25
Yeah, it's I think it's one of the most fun things about this job is seeing all of the problems that could be solved by taking a tiny computer connecting things to the internet. And in some ways, it's kind of a forehead slapping thing. Yeah, of course, of course. But I think you know, when you discover something, you kind of feel like you doubt you have doubts, and you sometimes hesitate to call out what seems so monumental. And I think it's kind of funny, it's great having you on this show, because we kind of met through a related thing I was I'd written this the beacon technology book and was doing the doing a one day training course at on Bluetooth beacon technology. RFID journal live in Phoenix, and I think you had recently with Iran and alone, you'd recently formed the company, and amazingly, in the first month, raised millions of dollars, which is kind of unusual to do that when you don't have a product and you're not even sure what it's going to be used for in any great detail. And I remember, after a very long day training session, you came up to me and said that you were developing, he started this company and passive Bluetooth, it was a passive Bluetooth tag. And I had just given a whole day of a pining and claiming to be an expert on Bluetooth technologies. I've never heard of passive Bluetooth. And so I think actually, I, when you suggested maybe some consulting might be interesting. And I think I actually said no, and I and the reason I said no was because I just couldn't believe it. And I just didn't feel like I was qualified. So I have to thank you for for being very gracious and and letting me I was gonna say have a ringside seat to something that's historic, but really, it's been kind of, to a certain extent in the ring. And I think this is kind of no look
Tal Tamir 1:03:44
if we are going through this journey together. And I think we see the steps. It's kind of basically it all starts with, with your credibility. leverage point, right? So if you see a guy a cheap head, right, promising to eliminate batteries from a Bluetooth device, you're skeptic but okay, it's within kind of the the ballpark of capabilities. If I would come over and tell you Look, we will save the world, because we will kind of eliminate any inefficiency with this sensor. You will not meet with me again. Right. So it's a journey that we take together. And it's not done. It's just starting actually, it's super interesting. So thank you,
Steve Statler 1:04:30
for sure, for sure. So we have this tradition on the podcast where we ask our guests about three songs that have some meaning to them. And I'm fascinated to hear what you have.
Tal Tamir 1:04:45
Three, so you know, yeah, you know me, right. It's, I need to think about things like that and, and kind of analyze them and because I heard you ask that question, and he tells all kinds of versions. Three, three songs if you will be sent to Mars or whatever, right? So I really thought about it and the answer is, it would not be the best three songs, songs in terms of quality. Nothing impressive. I'm not sure I can. Songs can be ranked, definitely not by me. But I have three kids. And we all kind of prefer the kind of a video clip for the bar mitzvah. Right? That's the same age basically, it's a process in which you kind of take all the kind of too many pictures and funny videos, then you assign background music to it, right. And I'm insist to do that with kind of kind of a hit of the same days that matches their personality. And then you watch it like 100 times, right? Because you sinkewitz The music to pictures. And it embeds the song to the kind of to the images of your kid when I hear any one of these three songs that are not the best of songs, but all like three hits of the time, I think about my kids, I will definitely take this to Mars. Anyplace I think one of them is we are young by founders catch and release. And actually forget the third one I can send you but if you play these songs to me, I think about a kid so definitely, I will take that.
Steve Statler 1:06:30
Wonderful, wonderful. Well, Tal, thanks for giving up some time to talk to us on the show. Thanks for support of the show and letting it carry on in its kind of weirdly independent path. And thanks for kind of this incredible technology, I think it's really just, you know, revolutionary is that's a word that's used a lot. But I you know, I wrote you know, I said now when you originally invited me to do some consulting, but after, after just a few days of thinking about looking at it, I was completely convinced. So it's been a privilege to be a part of that process. Not boring. So I hope you enjoyed that conversation with tal. We will continue to cover other technologies competing technologies on the Mr. Beacon show. But I think as this IoT pixel technology, the universal automation platform, battery free Bluetooth as it starts to become more pervasive, then you can expect some more in depth coverage of how the technology has been used, especially what some of the implications are in terms of fighting climate change in the environment. And we'll use this platform to share knowledge about this interesting area of connecting the digital with the physical. So thanks for listening. We appreciate your reviews your feedback. Please share details of the show with your friend and we look forward to seeing you next time.