Intel tunes its IoT solutions with the help of blueberry farmers

It can connect with Hyperledger Sawtooth Blockchain platform or any other blockchain ledger system. For the purposes of the Curry & Co. pilot project, …
Optimizing IOT for blueberry farms: A learning experience for IntelZDNet’s Stephanie Condon tells Karen Roby how Intel improved its Connected Logistics Platform after conducting a pilot project with blueberry farmers. Read more: https://zd.net/2LgiKZH

Down a quiet, two-lane road in Marion County, Oregon, bushes lining the road bend under the weight of ripe blueberries. They’re ready to be hand-picked and packed into plastic containers and pallets at a processing facility just a 10-minute drive away.

It looks like a humble operation, but there’s high stakes involved for the farmers and fruit processors of Marion County. After growing their family-owned businesses over decades, they’re shipping their delicate, temperature-sensitive fruit all over the world. One glitch or careless misstep in the shipping process can damage hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product.

“It’s easy for people to think of a produce truck as not really high value, but the value of a blueberry truck could be over $100,000,” Aaron Ensign, president of fruit distributor Curry & Co., said to ZDNet. “So it’s a significant investment. And ensuring that you’re optimizing that value, and that you’re protecting that value throughout the supply chain, is really critical.”

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Keeping tabs of the supply chain isn’t just important for the purposes of efficiency, but also for ensuring the quality and safety of the product. Maintaining a temperature-controlled supply chain is a vital part of business for produce, as well as other fresh foods and other products like pharmaceuticals. The cold chain market is expected to be worth $447.50 billion by 2025. It’s why tech businesses like Intel have been investing in the Internet of Things — sensors that can be deployed as far afield as a blueberry patch in Brooks, or a shipping vessel on its way from Oregon to Indonesia — as well as blockchain platforms for building distributed ledger networks.

“The data that we start collecting can be so useful at the edge for making decisions in real time,” Ninette Vaz, Intel’s Global Supply Chain IoT Senior Manager, told ZDNet. “But also, as you start aggregating all that data, you start to see patterns that are very useful for all kinds of decisions on route scheduling, or understanding why you might use different suppliers — maybe with some suppliers, the temperature is more in control than with others… You can see patterns you had no idea existed.”

In July 2018, Intel teamed up with Curry & Co. for a pilot project to refine its supply chain solutions. Specifically, they deployed the Intel Connected Logistics Platform (ICLP), Intel’s Hyperledger Sawtooth Blockchain and Microsoft Azure to track a truck of blueberries. The project began as soon as the berries were harvested at Sinn Farms, a small family-run farm in Marion County. It followed the berries as they were processed at the Curry & Co facility and as they were delivered to a customer in Portland, Oregon.

The ICLP comprises both hardware and software. Customers can deploy a collection of sensors, including one “parent” and as many “child” sensors as needed. They can monitor variables such as temperature, humidity, light, tilt shock and location. All of the sensors can communicate with each other, and the parent — or gateway sensor — relays information to the cloud. The gateway sensor is also GPS-equipped, unlike the others. Customers can establish how frequently they want data captured and sent back to the cloud, in “near-real time.”

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Using APIs, customers can use the ICLP to track other pieces of data collected by separate sensors.

The ICLP then communicates the data it collects to the cloud while simultaneously creating an immutable record on the blockchain. It can connect with Hyperledger Sawtooth Blockchain platform or any other blockchain ledger system.

For the purposes of the Curry & Co. pilot project, Intel tracked the temperature, humidity and location of the berries. They deployed one gateway per “lot” of berries — in other words, one gateway for each crop of berries harvested. They used a collection of “child” tags to trace each pallet of berries collected.

Like many industries, the fresh produce sector has its own unique challenges. The pilot project helped Intel gain insight into those challenges, particularly those related to tracking a climate-controlled supply chain. After blueberries are harvested, they have to be chilled almost immediately to just above freezing, between 34 and 35 degrees. After the berries are processed, they have to remain refrigerated until they make it to the customer.

The insight Intel gained during the pilot helped it develop the second generation of ICLP, which can accommodate a wider range of cold chain use cases. When the pilot started, the Intel team thought its sensors were optimized, said Laura Rumbel, a consumer experience enabling director at Intel. But they soon learned where their assumptions had gone wrong.

For example, “our assumption was when you put a sensor on a flat of blueberries, as the temperature came down, the humidity would come down,” Rumbel said. “But that’s not what happens. It’s actually an inverse model, where as the temperature goes down, because of the off gassing that happens, it can actually make the humidity rise.”

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When they saw the data coming in, the Intel team initially thought the sensors were malfunctioning. “We learned through doing this, that this is something we should anticipate for this particular industry,” Rumbel said. “So then we could optimize those sensors for this particular industry.”

The team also gained valuable insight into how to build a battery for the sensors that can accommodate extremely low, sustained temperatures. “We wanted something that would meet the performance requirements of the customer but still handle the environmental constraints of this industry,” Rumbel said.

Now that the pilot project is over, Ensign said his business would have to assess whether Intel’s ICLP, or any other IOT supply chain solution, would be worth the investment. However, he said the value of near-real time tracking was obvious.

From its various distribution centers, Curry & Co. exports produce to about a dozen countries around the world, 52 weeks out of the year. The berries can be in shipment for weeks at a time. If their climate-controlled environment is compromised, no one may realize it until the shipment arrives at its destination, spoiled.

By contrast, Ensign said, “let’s say that we’re shipping a load of blueberries to Dallas. If we see in real time that there’s been a disruption in temperature, we can then react to the situation. We can say, ‘Let’s put another load on the highway, and let’s divert that shipment to someone who’s going to process and perhaps freeze it, or make juice or something else.'”

There’s also value in using blockchain technologies to maintain accountability. If, for instance, a customer lets its shipment of berries sit out in hot temperatures for hours after its arrival, Curry & Co. can be sure it’s not at fault for the berries’ quality.

Quality assurance isn’t just an issue for individual farms or distribution companies, but for the state as a whole. Agriculture is a major part of the economy in Oregon, and the state produces more than 100 million pounds of blueberries a year.

“American farming is about trust, honor and integrity,” Ensign said. “Any time we can incorporate technology” to build that trust, he said, “that’s huge.”

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    Free Kadena scalable permissioned blockchain on Azure

    The platform also includes a simple smart contract language designed for business. In combination these enable enterprises to develop and deploy …

    KadenaKadena is making a free secure, scalable blockchain platform for businesses available on Azure. Intended for evaluation and small-deployment purposes, it is limited to 2,000 TPS across 4 nodes. If an enterprise needs more capacity Kadena will happily sell access to a full Azure-hosted Enterprise Edition of its blockchain.

    Will Martino, Kadena co-founder and CEO
    Will Martino, Kadena co-founder and CEO

    Kadena co-founder and CEO Will Martino told TechCrunch that this builds on the success of last year’s similar endeavour involving AWS. “Our private chain is designed for enterprise use. It’s designed for being high-performance and for integrating with traditional back ends. And by bringing that chain to AWS marketplace, and now to Microsoft Azure, we are servicing almost all of the enterprise blockchain market that takes place in the cloud.

    Features

    Among the features being made available are:

    • a scalable solution, to enable organizations to transact digitally (electronically perform commercial transactions and share data)
    • full auditability, via the tamper-proof historical ledger
    • the ability to build blockchain applications which automate business processes (Kadena says this happens with far less effort and risk than other offerings currently available)
    • robustness and flexibility to handle most enterprise workflows
    • security and flexibility – including secure channels, trustless escrows, pluggable encryption, contract governance, and automatic bug detection.

    Already in use by Fortune 500 companies Kadena claims it has live deployments in the banking, healthcare and financial services sectors.

    The Kadena blockchain

    Kadena’s scalable blockchain enables enterprises to transact and share data in a decentralised manner. Kadena’s team is based around experience obtained from building:

    • JP Morgan’s blockchain technology
    • forensic data analysis systems for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Its next technology solves many of the challenges with current generation blockchains — issues such as:

    • speed
    • scalability
    • security limitations.

    Kadena claims its technology can support up to 8,000 TPS across 500 nodes (with the ability to support thousands of users). The platform also includes a simple smart contract language designed for business.

    In combination these enable enterprises to develop and deploy new blockchain-based business applications faster and with less risk. Integration with Microsoft Azure services – such as MySQL – produce further complementary solutions.

    Enterprise Times: what does this mean

    The chase for high TPS blockchain platforms continues (for example, see Cypherium, Hedera, EduHash, Bitconch, GoChain, Constellation, #Metahash, Trustchain, Todo-Algorand). As happened in the long past TPS wars (remember Tandem Guardian vs CICS vs IMS vs Oracle vs …), a renewed competitive spirit has emerged.

    There is a caveat. As Enterprise Times has observed previously, many of the high TPS blockchain platforms ‘burn bright’ for a while and then disappear. Whether this is applicable to Kadena is not (yet) clear. It does seem to have greater credibility. It would have more if Enterprise Times, and enterprises, could see the evidence that it handles those 8000 TPS across 500 nodes.

    Finally, Kadena is not alone in offering a free trial blockchain as an inducement. And there will be others.

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    JP Morgan Related Project, Kadena, Launches Permissioned Blockchain on Microsoft Azure

    According to the report, the Kadena platform will integrate Pact, an “innovative and open source smart contract language designed for both developers …

    Kadena, a permissioned blockchain on Amazon Web Services, reported the launch of a new blockchain version on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace.

    The project, labelled Kadena’s Scalable Permission Blockchain Community Edition, is a blockchain as a service platform and will be available for free. The report states,

    “Our Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) model enables organizations to start using Kadena’s blockchain by quickly provisioning it online, significantly reducing the cost and time-to-market associated with the on premise installation of other blockchain solutions today.”

    The Kadena Scalable Permission Blockchain Community Edition

    The launch of Kadena on Microsoft Azure is set to provide an easy but efficient gateway for businesses and enterprises coming into the blockchain space.

    The Founder and CEO of Kadena, Will Martino, is looking forward to new clients using the platform. He remarked,

    “We are excited to bring our secure and scalable technology to Azure customers as we continue working with Microsoft Azure Marketplace to develop cloud-enabled blockchain solutions.”

    The platform provides its users with a simplified platform for both novices and experts to build and develop blockchain applications. According to the report, the Kadena platform will integrate Pact, an “innovative and open source smart contract language designed for both developers and non-technical people alike and has safeguards to avoid bugs.”

    Speaking on the addition of Pact, Kadena President, President Stuart Popejoy, said,

    “Pact’s formal verification of user code allows you to harness the same mathematical methods used by aerospace and nuclear power engineers to catch potential exploits before deployment.”

    This ensures even with little technological knowledge users will be able to operate the Kadena platform without worry of bugs or other technical challenges.

    Enterprises using Kadena will efficiently transact and share data in a secure and decentralized manner.

    Kadena Partnership Updates

    The startup founded by former JP Morgan executives, provides both public and private blockchains for enterprises. The report further stated the hybrid blockchain has seen wide adoption across the globe including USCF Investments, an asset manager with over $3 billion in assets.

    Other companies using the Kadena platform includes Latin American technology business Alteum, a top healthcare company, a Fortune 500 company and a top 100 bank – set to reveal name in days.

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    Kadena Unveils Free BaaS Platform on the Azure Marketplace

    The firm’s blockchain platform contains its open-source innovative smart contract language called Pact. The language which is designed for non-tech …

    Kadena, a promising start-up in the hybrid blockchain solution space, has unveiled an updated version of their enterprise blockchain solution on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Kadena’s blockchain solution titled “Kadena Scalable Permissioned Blockchain” is available now on Azure for free, announced Kadena on 27th August 2019 through an official blog post on Medium. It’s important to note that Kadena had launched their permissioned blockchain offering on the AWS(Amazon Web Services) Marketplace back in January.

    Kadena’s blockchain edition released on Azure supports up to two thousand TPS (transaction-per-second) and four nodes. In addition, the version will also be supporting trustless escrows, secure channels, contract governance, pluggable encryption, as well as automatic detection of bugs through Formal Verification.

    The blog highlights that the set of features it offers is unparallel compared to other private blockchain offerings on the Azure Marketplace. If this was not enough, Kadena allows clients who want to optimally use the technology to get the full licensed version of its blockchain software. The full version would offer clients over 500 nodes and up to 8,000 tps.

    As per the blog, Kadena’s BaaS (blockchain-as-a-service) model facilitates entities to begin utilizing their blockchain through a quick online provision. That reduces not only the cost to a great extent but also the duration it usually takes today to install blockchain solutions on-premises.

    What’s more interesting is that Kadena’s solution is the first-of-its-kind on the Azure platform that offers Formal Verification. That means the scalable solution by Kadena will allow entities to transact, as well as share data, efficiently in a decentralized and secure manner. The firm also revealed its present blockchain clients that include USCF Investments, a 3 billion dollar asset manager along with Rymedi, a healthcare tech firm, and Alteum, an eminent technology business of Latin America. The company also divulged that its client list includes Fortune 500 firms and one of the top 100 biggest banks in the world, the name of which it will reveal soon.

    Kadena’s Founder & CEO, Will Martino, said that in developing with Microsoft, their firm is dedicated to offering an accessible blockchain platform to businesses of varied size and scale. Continuing further, Martino added that they are thrilled to bring their scalable and secure technology to the Azure consumers as they continue to work with the Azure Marketplace for building blockchain solutions that are cloud-enabled.

    The firm’s blockchain platform contains its open-source innovative smart contract language called Pact. The language which is designed for non-tech people and expert developers alike has precautions for avoiding bugs. The Azure edition also offers greater interoperability and security, thanks to its upgraded features, such as native support for the cross-blockchain transactions and formally verified interfaces, per the blog post. These new features are available on the AWS edition of the blockchain as well.

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    SYSPRO Retains Top 3 Leader Position in 2019 Nucleus Research ERP Technology Value Matrix

    Report Mentions new SYSPRO Bot innovation and recognizes Microsoft Azure partnership to deliver capabilities including an IoT Hub, Artificial …

    Report Mentions new SYSPRO Bot innovation and recognizes Microsoft Azure partnership to deliver capabilities including an IoT Hub, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology.

    MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Aug. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SYSPRO, a leading global provider of ERP software, announced today that is has once again retained its position as a Leader in the 2019 Nucleus Research ERP Technology Value Matrix for the third consecutive year.

    The new report outlines the choice and flexibility that SYSPRO offers customers including on-premise or in the cloud deployment either through subscriptions or perpetual licenses.

    “We believe that the needs of a business inform the deployment of technology at a pace that makes sense for its sustainable growth. For our customers, we offer choice in the selection of elements that make-up the solution whilst also addressing their immediate business priorities and offering the potential to extend the solution in line with their business development and longer-term strategy,” says SYSPRO Chief Product Officer, Paulo de Matos.

    The report also references SYSPRO’s ongoing commitment to delivering practical innovation noting that its partnership with Microsoft Azure offers capabilities in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies.

    SYSPRO’s ERP Bot comes with 60 skills available out of the box and can be deployed to any messaging platform, the report finds. SYSPRO offers a range of user interfaces, including its mobile application Espresso, the web-based Avanti and Harmony which displays key ERP data and metrics in the style of a social media feed.

    As one of the top three ERP vendors in the Leader Quadrant, the report states: “SYSPRO’s focus on practical applications of modern ERP technology illustrates its sustained commitment to delivering value to its existing customers, while its industry innovations make it a competitive choice for customers in need of a new ERP solution.”

    “New technologies are disrupting the status quo and digitalization is opening the door to infinite possibilities – with profound implications as to the way companies will do business going forward. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to ensure that businesses make the right choices regarding their transition to digital by leveraging new methods that add to their competitive advantage,” concludes de Matos.

    About SYSPRO

    Established in 1978, SYSPRO is an independent global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software development company specializing in the manufacturing and distribution industries.

    SYSPRO offers a scalable, innovative ERP software solution providing choice and flexibility that can be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or accessed via the web on any device.

    With a commitment to leverage emerging technology that supports digital transformation, SYSPRO enables its customers to improve productivity while maintaining their business competitiveness.

    SYSPRO has more than 15,000 licensed companies in over 60 countries across six continents. For more information, visit www.syspro.com.

    Download the Report

    Press Contacts

    Marina Giokas

    Marketing Communications Manager

    SYSPRO Canada

    +1 (905) 502-5502

    Marina.Giokas@ca.syspro.com

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