Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Context Labs acquires IoT Impact Labs to accelerate supply chain of everything

Steve Rogerson
January 17, 2018
 
Context Labs has acquired IoT Impact Labs and plans to integrate its expertise into its core blockchain-based offerings to accelerate what it calls the supply chain of everything.
 
Joint Dutch and Massachusetts firm Context Labs says the acquisition will further accelerate its blockchain-based Immutably platform in its movement upstream in the supply chain. The acquisition should accelerate integration with IoT-connected devices, sensors and systems.
 
In practical terms, this means supply chains for perishable goods such as food can be tracked from field to table, water from source to tap, device firmware from burn-in to upgrade, and climate data from sensor to research to analytics.
 
"This key functionality will further provide what the industry has coined the birth certificate or passport of physical things to be cryptographically encoded and tracked, from the point of inception through its end of life," said Dan Harple, CEO of Context Labs. "The IoT Impact Labs acquisition strengthens our ProofWorks and Immutably platform to deeply enhance IoT and blockchain integration, providing proof of the birth certificates of things and data. It creates a verifiable proof of existence for the data or physical thing pinned to a particular point in time, with a context proof in the interconnected network graph of supply chain partners."
 
The proofs and the signatures are registered on one or more public ledgers or published on widely available media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Context Labs' Scrivener Ledger provides interoperability between multi-ledger registrations, insuring multi-layered secure veracity and provenance.
 
"With the cost of sensors and connectivity continuing to plummet, IoT-enabled supply chains are poised for wide adoption across myriad applications such as traceability (for provenance assurance, anti-counterfeiting, regulatory and so on), predictive maintenance, freshness, expiration, environmental monitoring, precise ETA, cargo security and much more,” said Bill McBeath, chief research officer at Chainlink Research. “Combining blockchain and network graph analysis with IoT-enabled supply chains provides very high confidence in the transactions and highly granular tamper-proof visibility data. The addition of ImpactLabs to Context Labs' already substantial portfolio makes them a leading player with a unique combination of capabilities in this area."
 
In an era of fake data, fake news and counterfeit or copied products, Immutably was designed to insure authenticity, provenance and reliability in the delivery of physical, digital and virtual goods. With this reality, users increasingly seek to provide regulatory and legal certification specifying the provenance and authenticity of their products. The acquisition serves to drive authenticity and provenance further upstream into supply chains, making it harder for fake data, fake news and counterfeit products to reach their targets.
 
"The combination of our market-making and thought leadership with the core platform innovation from Context Labs is what our stakeholders have sought,” said Chris Rezendes, founder and managing director of Massachusetts-based IoT Impact Labs. “The IoT Impact Labs team has built significant, relevant experience with what works, and does not, in IoT specifically, and a related collection of digital tools more broadly. Through our focus on natural resources, smart cities, resilient infrastructure, food security and SMB Industry 4.0, we have developed a unique ability to identify and access a number of complex opportunities."
 
Gavin Nicol, CTO of Context Labs, added: "With this deal, Context Labs is accelerating its platform to provide a device-agnostic IoT API layer to deliver a seamless plug and play for a wide range of IoT devices, sensors, embedded systems and instrumentation. This innovation in IoT interoperability is a key differentiator for our Immutably, Proofworks and Impact Analytics product line, giving customers what they have requested – the ability to identify, track and trace upstream IoT and sensor data into our supply chain platform."
 
The world is in transition from centralised to decentralised structures. This relates to areas such as energy such as distributed renewables, mobility such as distributed ownership and land management such as distributed finance, as well as currencies and markets in general. This trend affects all industries and it requires new approaches that are bottom-up rather than top-down for industry and government. The private sector increasingly gets the message. The Context Labs product family has its core DNA in these technologies.
 
"The Context Labs combination with IoT Impact Labs impacts the direction of a world in which every object will have a digital twin,” said Rob van Kranenburg, founder of the IoT Council and chair of AC4, Hyper Connected Society, the European research cluster on the IoT. “As we build the ecosystem of digital twins, we best pay the utmost attention as we only get one chance of doing it in the most transparent and attested way. The digital twin may be a concept currently tied to industrial IoT, but we are moving to a place that is more mainstream. Context Labs is leading a major step in this direction."
 
Context Labs, with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Amsterdam, provides enterprise-grade platforms that provide trust and transparency for all things digital and physical. The company achieves this by integrating secure distributed and shared ledgers (blockchain), network graph analytics and visualisations, machine learning, data interoperability and trusted identity management.
 
Impact Labs brings together early-stage IoT companies, technology and industry leaders, small and mid-sized enterprises and subject matter experts to instrument the physical world with intelligence and intention for profit and resilience. The company is a proof point production plant, providing live-pilot early-stage IoT services with Fortune 500 technology and industry partners in the field with real-world innovators in small and mid-sized enterprises.