Imagine having your own personal digital closet that lives in the cloud. Avery Dennison is taking a giant step forward by moving the “Internet of Things” to “The Internet of Clothes”. By attaching a unique RFID or QR code to your apparel item, Avery Dennison will make your clothes be #BornDigital.
Avery Dennison’s Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) business unit manufactures labels (hang tags, RFID labels, care labels) for most of the existing brands, retailers, and manufacturers in the apparel and footwear industry. Its business model has been tailored around their mission to “Elevate Brands and Accelerate Performance” for their customers .
The traditional operating model has been to deliver value to customers through its existing global distribution network, reliable service, quality, and consistency. In terms of product innovation in the actual physical label, great strides have been done to advice its customers with the latest trends, but the reality is that there is only so much you can do in terms of the label’s physical design to elevate its consumer appeal and boost the value of the brand.
In April 2016, in order to continue to add value to their customers in new ways, Avery Dennison announced a groundbreaking deal with the smart products software pioneer EVRYTHNG, which has built a leading IoT (Internet of Things) Platform called Janela . The goal of this deal is that through this newly developed platform, Avery Dennison will be able to offer its retail customers not only a physical label but a digital one as well. GQ magazine calls this deal a forward step towards “The Internet of Clothes” .
Over three years, Avery Dennison’s goal is to digitize a minimum of 10 billion apparel products for the leading brands and retailers, enabling them to revamp the end consumer’s relationship with the brand. As Deon Stander, Vice President and GM of Avery Dennison RBIS, mentions: “As a company that is involved right at the start of the life of a garment or pair of shoes, we are going to be able to activate an entire industry by bringing each item uniquely to life with its own digital identity” 
How will this benefit the operating model of Avery Dennison’s customers?
At point of manufacture, an apparel item will be #BornDigital with a unique code (RFID or QR code) that identifies every single item individually. This code will stay with the item through each step of its life cycle, from factory, to retailer, to consumer and finally to recycle. This will allow better tracking of goods for a much better inventory control with a lot less waste. It will allow brands to have more control and operate responsibly in every step of the life cycle of its products.
What’s in it for the end consumer?
The end consumers will be able to scan this code using their phones and add it to their digitalized closet. This will enable them to access personalized styling recommendations, content on how to take care of their purchased product, the story of where and when the garment was sourced and manufactured, recommendations on how to recycle it after end of use, loyalty points, curated clothing, and many other great features.
With this consumer data, retail brand owners will be able to revamp their brand by: driving personalized campaigns, promote new products, offer smart targeted discounts, enable returns and reorders, secure brand protection and product authentication. The possibilities are endless.
What are the next challenges for the Avery Dennison/EVRYTHNG deal?
Information is power and handing over data may come at a huge cost if consumers do not see a clear benefit that outweighs the risks. There are now many IoT platforms and all of them are fighting each other to become the prevailing one. How will EVRYTHNG’s platform achieve this when you already have other big players in the market?
Data privacy will always be one of the biggest concerns for consumers. While technology keeps evolving to provide better data protection, so does the complexity of threats. For IoT companies such as EVRYTHNG, Jared Ho, an attorney in the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, says “We recommend that companies engage in ‘security by design’ which means they conduct regular risk assessments, and minimize the data that they collect and maintain, and that they test their security before launching a product” .
Will this be enough for Avery Dennison and EVRYTHNG to be able to provide the end consumer assurance that his/her data is at no risk?
 RBIS Apparel and Footwear Branding. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://rbis.averydennison.com/en/home/our-solutions/apparel-and-footwear-branding.html
 Avery Dennison Corp Comparisons to its Competitors, Market share and Competitiveness by Segment – CSIMarket. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://csimarket.com/stocks/compet_glance.php?code=AVY
 Introducing Janela™. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://rbis.averydennison.com/en/home/our-solutions/apparel-and-footwear-branding/introducing-janela-smart-product-platform.html
 H. (n.d.). The internet of clothes is here. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/internet-of-clothing
 Avery Dennison and EVRYTHNG switch on the Apparel industry with 10 billion products in world’s largest IoT deployment – EVRYTHNG IoT Smart Products Platform. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from https://evrythng.com/pressrelease/avery-dennison-and-evrythng-switch-on-the-apparel-industry-with-10-billion-products-in-worlds-largest-iot-deployment/
 Nordrum, A. (2016). Wanted: Smart Public Policy for Internet of Things Security. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/security/wanted-smart-public-policy-for-internet-of-things-security