The Wiliot Vision
What happens when we 'Connect Everything'?
Wiliot envisions a world of smarter "Things" that are self-aware and offer functionality not possible before — a world where the physical and digital worlds are securely connected using wireless RF technology. The Internet of Things can scale and start to offer real value as we understand where products are, who is using them, and when they need replenishing. Apparel and pharmaceutical packaging can become connected to the cloud. Manufacturing, supply chain, and inventory can be optimized. Makers of products and retailers can flourish in the face of disruption from online retailers.
This change that Wiliot is helping to accelerate is being described as a shift from supply chain to demand chain management. Demand chains are enabled by demand signals flowing in real time from products in stores and homes, reducing the capital tied up in inventory, driving lift in sales, enhancing the customer experience and reducing companies’ carbon footprint. The way products are made, distributed, sold, used and recycled, are being redefined thanks to a battery-free computer the size of a postage stamp.
Seamless Continuous Connectivity + Low Cost of Production
Wiliot was conceived with the idea of having the best of both worlds, RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy. We leverage Bluetooth connectivity from the pre-existing infrastructure - the Bluetooth radios built into our smartphones, smart speakers, access points, and even in many lighting infrastructures. But beyond the radios, Bluetooth has deep hooks into the operating systems we use every day - enabling apps to be woken up, even after they have been closed and the phone has been restarted. This connectivity is seamless and doesn't require the user to take action. The advantages of RFID lie in its physical attributes. Wiliot is achieving the same small form factor, embeddability, and low-cost qualities. By reducing what was once on a printed circuit board to a single chip Wiliot Tags can be manufactured with the same processes as RFID tags to enable these key characteristics. Wiliot technology includes sensing and ubiquitous connectivity. The data is protected, analyzed, and curated by the Wiliot Cloud, and made available through a RESTful API providing a Virtual Tag interface for applications.
The chip consists of 5 main components: an energy harvester that captures ambient RF energy, an integrated sensing unit, a security unit, a processing unit, and a Bluetooth transmitter. It has three CPU cores, an ARM processor, it has ROM, RAM, SDRAM, inputs, and outputs - it's a computer.
- Technology: CMOS 40 nm process
- Size: 1.92 mm x 1.92 mm
- Pinout: GPIO and Sensor Pin
- MCU: ARM Cortex M0+
- Memory: Flash /RAM (2 KB), ROM (64 KB)
- Protocol support: Wiliot Ephemeral ID
- Default Package: Inlay
- Antenna: Printed/Etched
- Security: AES-128 bit Encryption/Authentication
- Events-based sensing and alerts:
- Cold chain (temperature monitoring, process compliance)
- Interactive Marketing (product pick up, consideration)
- Supply chain (presence, change of location, inventory)
Wiliot Tags obtain energy by harvesting Radio Frequency (RF) from the environment, leveraging the abundant deployments of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. From the energy harvested, the Wiliot tag sends a standard Bluetooth advertising packet. It can communicate securely over Bluetooth to any device that supports BLE, phones, Wi-Fi access points, smart speakers, doorbells even LED lighting.
Privacy + Access Control
Data sent by Wiliot Tags use the Wiliot Ephemeral ID format, encrypted with a 128-bit AES-based scheme that allows anonymity, confidentiality, and authentication. We have two layers of encryption to enable the safe transit of packets to infrastructure while maintaining the privacy of the application data. Security is enabled by a cloud-based resolver providing access to the data via a Virtual Tag API that can be easily integrated with web applications.
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: