Almost a third of global food produce goes to waste. Temperature and humidity deviation, theft, expiry, damage, and returns sees valuable stock going to landfill instead of consumers, while retailers literally burn through their profits. At a time of intense cost pressures and the global sustainability effort to do more with less, it’s vital that retailers and their supply chains can address this mountain of waste, says Ohad Perry, VP Digital Supply Chain, Wiliot.
The bulk of this waste comes from one link in the supply chain not communicating effectively with the next. But innovative new technology is emerging that can solve this problem.
Known as ‘Ambient IoT’, this approach tags every item, container, and package with tiny cloud connected sensors.
Ambient IoT gives all parties a transparent view of the supply chain from farm to fridge to fork, allowing for real-time inventory management, visibility, and tracking where no produce is unaccounted for.
How IoT has made food supply chains “smart”
IoT (Internet of Things) connects physical objects and equipment to networks for data sharing, remote access, and automation.
Day to day, we encounter IoT in smart thermostats or doorbell cameras but, behind the scenes, IoT’s deployment in supply chains is quietly changing the world, promising greater stability, reliability, and scale after years of consecutive shocks.
Food production, distribution, and retail is already benefiting from these new, IoT-powered, “smart” supply chains. IoT devices can be found monitoring storage temperatures, tracking containers, and automating warehouse and storefront functions.
The next evolution is item-level monitoring using tiny, mass-producible IoT sensors installed directly into packaging — or just about anything else — which is where ambient IoT comes in.
Ambient IoT is “ambient” because it is everywhere yet invisible, providing those who use it with a truly omnipresent and omniscient view of all stock and its status anywhere in the world.
By connecting Ambient IoT sensors to AI powered cloud platforms, trillions of data points can be processed for real-time analytics and predictive modelling, allowing for immediate response to potential causes of food waste and prevention of future waste occurring.
This complete merging of the physical and digital worlds has only recently become a possibility, thanks to breakthroughs in battery free technology.