A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to Avery Dennison’s I. Lab in the Netherlands. As many of you might be aware, Avery Dennison has been making headlines with their ‘Born Digital’ campaign. Together with EVRYTHING, they have introduced us to a more connected world, and shown us a future where everything we own will have a unique digital identity.
I. Lab, A Place Where Intelligent Labels Get Smarter
When we arrived at the rather impressive glass building that was sandwiched between a high road and a grassy open space, we were met by Tony Fazhev. Arranged by Liz Peters because we were unfortunately unable to attend their grand I.Lab opening, we were excited that they were able to accommodate us. After waiting in reception for a few minutes, we were approached by a well dressed man with a strong handshake. Following a warm greeting, and an offer of a coffee, we walked past security and into Avery Dennison HQ.
“The I.Lab is a pivotal moment for Avery Dennison.”
As we were led up the stairs, I was impressed by the sheer size of the space. The building was bright, airy and had an eco friendly tree, bang in the middle of the ground floor. Noticing my admiration, Tony shared that they had consciously built the building in the most earth friendly way possible. Taking it all in, Tony let us have a moment to admire the building as we sipped our freshly made cappuccinos. As we walked towards the lift that would take us to the I.Lab, Tony informed us that the I.Lab is a pivotal moment for Avery Dennison. He continued, “I.Lab is a showcase of Avery Dennison’s capabilities across all business units”. As we walked in, Tony continued to explain, “I.Lab creates a space for innovation, creativity and hands-on experiences that are driven by technology.” With those words we quickly arrived at the I.Lab.
Driving the Adoption of RFID
As the adoption of RFID quickly becomes commonplace, we are being exposed to its many capabilities. Avery Dennison’s role in driving the adoption of RFID is a significant one. They are creating the largest and fastest growing segment of RFID adoption with 7 billion tags shipped globally to date, by successfully fulfilling a need brought about by consumer demand, improved manufacturing processes and the changing retail landscape.
Whilst showing us the ins and outs, Tony shared with us that due to a plethora of opportunities, intelligent labels now go beyond apparel and retail. Avery Dennison has seen a growing trend in RFID for fresh food. He explained that RFID has meant that supermarkets are now able to reduce waste by up top 20% just by simply implementing shelf management.
Besides being useful when it comes to inventory accuracy in retail and reducing waste, we are now seeing RFID being used in interactive experiences like the magic mirror. During our visit, we were lucky to be introduced to the magic mirror by Oak labs. As one of their industry partners, the Oak Mirror is an interactive, touch screen mirror that empowers shoppers to customize their fitting room’s ambiance, explore product recommendations and digitally seek assistance from store associates.
When it comes to how the Oak Mirror works Tony informed us that it uses RFID technology to recognize products as they enter the room. Synchronized with the retailer’s inventory system, the Oak Mirror then provides intelligent product recommendations. As I gave the mirror a go, I loved the fact that it can seamlessly connect shoppers with sales professionals via dedicated mobile or wearable devices, so modern!
Janela, The Unique Digital Identity
Many of us are aware that the digital and physical worlds are converging. It is mainly because retailers and brands are taking the next step in utilizing real-time customer data and translating it into personalized consumer experience. On this Tony explained “Apparel and footwear products can now be manufactured with a unique digital identity, thanks to Janela powered by EVRTHNG.”
Janela enable products to be born digital by giving them a unique ID and digital profile at the point of manufacture. This unique identifier connects to the cloud and gives retailers and brands the ability to unlock numerous combinations of personalised and interactive content for their customers. Tony informed us that “Janela brands can directly interact with consumers through their smartphones to provide access to various information, including how the garment was made and ultimately how to recycle it when it reaches its end of life”. Now I liked the sound of that.
Besides advantages to the consumers, Janela can also help brands/retailers drive sales and increase loyalty by leveraging customer insights so they can develop targeted product offers and suggestions. As I looked at the products with Janela, I must say that the technology was nearly invisible which was great to see. Turning to Tony, I asked him to explain exactly how the data would be used. He said “The data driven from these interactions allow brands to make improved trend predictions, enhance supply chain processes, leading to an increase in conversion rates.” I liked the idea of it, but I also felt that security and privacy were an afterthought. Seeing the doubt to give up my data in my eyes, Tony assured me that giving out your information was not a prerequisite. It just meant that you will not be able to take advantage of the perks of a tee with tech.
Innovation Creativity Driven By Technology
As the tour came to an end Avery Dennison’s I.Lab proved to be a vast web of innovation within retail, manufacturing, logistics, fashion, applications and healthcare to name a few. Driven by technology, their forward thinking ways have meant that they are successfully creating a game changing space for creativity and hands-on experience.
After saying our goodbyes to Tony and thanking him for taking the time out of his day to show us around the lab, we left with a positive outlook on Avery Dennison’s endeavors. With the groundbreaking products and solutions in the pipeline, we look forward to seeing how they will use their position in the value chain to advance sustainability within the industry and reach their 2025 sustainability goals.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.