Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ # 1: For companies and other enterprises, what is the purpose of SCR’s technology ?
The SCR SupplyLense™ platform enables companies to differentiate their products – thus, adding value via price and/or volume – by providing consumers, customers and other stakeholders the true, verifiable Story of A Product™. Our enterprise-facing platform makes this possible via SCR’s patented technology, which provides companies the twin capabilities of: extracting hidden information from within their supply chain network environment; and binding that information to the discrete, granular product-item created by any supply chain. Applicable to any kind of product (including intangible products, like financial securities or complex contracts), SupplyLense™ works in tandem with our consumer-facing SCR ProductLense™ (see FAQ # 2). SCR’s technology enables companies to Prove the Positive In Your Product™.Read more
The SCR SupplyLense™ platform enables enterprises to create and tell the Story of a Product™ – for any kind of product created via any kind of value chain. Our enterprise-facing platform is built for a particular company’s or sector’s operating environment. The platform makes it possible to access and capture supply chain metrics and to bind these to discrete products. Product-specific supply chain metrics then may be sent to the central SCR ProductLense™ platform (see FAQ # 2). Here consumers, customers and other stakeholders may access, and interact with, these product stories. Put Sustainability Into Your Customers’ Hands™.
Just as this era’s physicists and other scientists are learning how our world is best understood in terms of the interactive relationships amongst objects, so too people now want to know (see FAQ # 9) more about Where & How products are created. Increasingly, people seek to look beyond just the What of a product. SCR’s technology makes this new kind of inherently deeply-relational knowledge possible.Read less
FAQ # 2: For consumers, customers, NGOs and other stakeholders, what is the purpose of SCR’s technology ?
Where the SCR SupplyLense™ platform (see FAQ # 1) enables companies to differentiate their products, theRead more
SCR ProductLense™ platform enables consumers, customers and other stakeholders to find, and learn about, true product stories. People using ProductLense™ will not only learn valuable information at the product-on-the-shelf level. They also will be empowered to communicate their interests and preferences (say, with regard to sustainability metrics) back to companies and to share those with others. The SCR Internet for Products™ represents the combined ProductLense™ and SupplyLense™ platforms.
The SCR ProductLense™ platform enables people to access and learn the Story of a Product™. One single customer-facing platform will be developed. It will receive supply chain metrics (bound to discrete products) from multiple different implementations of companies’ own SCR SupplyLense™ platforms. With this many-to-one arrangement of our two different kinds of platforms, all companies creating product stories via their own SCR platforms can feed information to the central ProductLense™ platform. Here users can access product stories for a wide range of product types. All nature of users may learn true product stories for all nature of products: from foods to fuel products; from computer components to engine parts; from composite financial securities to complex relations within a suite of interacting legal contracts. Valuable feedback loops and network effects are created, whereby users interact: with the company (C2B) that creates, distributes or markets the product; and with each other (C2C) for social sharing of their own interests and findings regarding supply chain metrics. People will be able to know: What I am voting for, when I purchase this product!Read less
FAQ # 3: What is the SCR Registry Service?
The SCR Registry Service (RS) is a core module within the enterprise-facing SCR SupplyLense™ platform. It’s where the heavy lifting is performed: building the digitized Supervised Supply Paths (SSPs) which help channel and organize deeply relational information within and around supply chains; binding that information to the products created by supply chains; and preparing that information for both deep analytics at the enterprise level and for conveyance to consumers and other stakeholders as true, verifiable product stories.Read more
A company’s SupplyLense™ platform (see FAQ # 1) includes a Registry Service (RS). Via this RS, supply chain partners collaboratively – but with high data security provided by the SCR Trust Model (see FAQ # 5) – create a digitized Supervised Supply Path (SSP) as a graph/network structure in a NoSQL data store.
By combining SCR’s patented technology with the deeply relational structure of an SSP, it becomes possible: to propagate any nature of metrics through the digitized supply chain, while always storing these metrics with their natural relations preserved amongst one another; and to connect such bundles of relatable metrics to the intermediate and end products created via the supply chain. The RS is what makes possible: the B2B communications by which SCR’s new kind of Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) is created; and the B2C communication by which SC•Kn may be forwarded to the central SCR ProductLense™ platform (see FAQ # 2).
Thus, an SCR Registry Service is both: the hub to which all supply chain partners may first connect (e.g. as may be required via the normal RFP process) and then further connect to one another; and the interface between each particular SCR SupplyLense™ implementation and the central SCR ProductLense™ platform.Read less
FAQ # 4: What is the core of SCR’s technology – the inventions that make all this work?
SCR has invented the Document String Identifier (DSI) and the Object Analytic Record (OAR) as novel digital objects. Combining the DSI and OAR objects with the Supervised Supply Path (SSP) element (see FAQ # 3) as our digitized form for a supply chain – and then including the multiple different sources of information that is targeted for capture – we end up with a distinct information-transfer mechanism: Sources ⇒ Channel (SSP) ⇒ Receiver (OAR). It’s all about the reliable transfer of desired information into a useful endpoint from the many different, and widely distributed, places where the information exists.Read more
SCR has invented, and holds patents or pending patents for, several novel data objects. Our patented Document String Identifier (DSI) is like a digital form of a molecular RFID. It enables continuous tracking of materials through all components of a supply chain, including when batches or lots are merged or split apart.
The all-digital DSI travels where other extant forms of object unique identifiers – like barcodes, QR codes and RFIDs – are unable to go: Places like high temperature or high pressure processes and environments with highly caustic or acidic conditions. Our patent-pending Object Analytic Record (OAR) is a structured data container that holds all captured data and preserves that data in a deeply-relational arrangement.
The OAR and DSI objects work together, enabling: tracking in a forward direction, as products are created; and tracing in a backward direction, as a SupplyLense™ implementation is queried via the central ProductLense™ service. To be clear: the DSI and OAR are both novel forms of digital objects; the DSI is unlike other forms of object unique identifiers; the DSI and OAR operate with one another to assist companies in creating their own, true Story of A Product™; and the DSI further acts as the identifying-bridge between a company’s product stories and the customers (and other stakeholders) of the company, all happening at the deep product-item level.Read less
FAQ # 5: How does the SCR Trust Model work for a company’s (or entire industry’s) SCR SupplyLense™ platform?
Because of the extreme sensitivity and competitive value of the information ‘surrounding’ an entire supply chain in any setting, trust in the data and information security of any sector’s SupplyLense™ platform is of utmost importance. The SCR Trust Model incorporates state-of-the-art security mechanisms designed to ensure that information about all two-party transactions, of whatever nature, is confined strictly to the transacting parties. An optional blockchain module is available for SupplyLense™ users who prefer the added level of privacy that blockchain technology offers.Read more
All supply chain management systems handle information that is important and sensitive for any enterprise. The SCR Trust Model includes mechanisms that preserve levels of already existing privacy, while also allowing each company to share whatever information they wish to share with whichever stakeholders they choose to share that information (i.e. so long as such disclosure does not conflict with the information-control parameters set by other participants in the same supply chain).
Our baseline trust model affords semi-anonymity for any enterprise participant and ensures non-disclosure of each participant’s participation in any Supervised Supply Path (SSP). At the same time, the trust model affords SSP participants the flexibility to disclose their participation in particular SSPs, or groups of SSPs, for instance, for the purpose of informing stakeholders of their company’s engagement with supply chains that hold an SCR rating or certification. Such supply chain ratings and certifications represent another feature of SCR’s intellectual property.Read less
FAQ # 5a: What is the role of SCR’s patented form of object unique identifier – your Document String ID (DSI) – including with respect to the SCR Trust Model?
Our patented Document String ID (DSI) is like a digital form of molecular RFID (though it’s not actually “put into” any materials or products). An instance of DSI is created (via the SCR Registry Service) to act as a digital binding agent that helps preserve all the other relations, i.e. information linkages, across the elements that comprise a Supervised Supply Path (SSP) and across the materials that transit the SSP, eventually being transformed into one or more end products. The DSI’s role with respect to the SCR Trust Model is best understood in context of SCR’s patent-pending object, our Object Analytic Record (OAR); and that role is best explained with aid of some teachings from the mathematical theory of information.Read more
As explained in other FAQ responses, the OAR (digital) object may be viewed as an information receiver, which receives information from various information sources (e.g. from systems controlled by entities engaged with a particular SSP) via a particular SSP (collaboratively created via the entities), which acts as an information channel. Thus: source(s) -> channel ->receiver. The Document String ID (DSI) object is like a game’s referee or score-keeper, helping to keep track of all the information-players for each bit of information that passes through the SSP-channel and into the OAR-receiver, where all targeted information is relationally organized and stored. Significantly, the interactions of the DSI object (as an information-binding agent) with the information contained in the OAR object are such as to result in a Markov (information) chain. Pragmatically, this means that, in effect, ‘everything can be related to everything else.’
An instance of DSI is formed by use of multiple different (transmitted/received) document identifiers, where such identifiers (e.g. in form of the GS1 GDTI object) link to some nature of known ‘transaction’ – e.g. a unique document identifier linked to a buy/sell transaction (as recorded, say, via a company’s invoicing system) or to a ship/receive transaction (as recorded, say, via a company’s container-measurement system). Any number of such ‘transaction’ document identifiers may be used in constructing a particular DSI. In turn, the DSI object, as constructed, acts to record the existence of (but not details about the) many different transactions entailed across a particular SSP (as a digitized supply chain). In conjunction with the OAR object (as receiver), then, we have a mechanism both: for identifying (by the DSI) and preserving (by the OAR) many relevant linkages (as graph edges between nodal pairs); and for always tying these linkages (contained in the OAR) back to other existing corporate systems (e.g. to invoicing, payables, SCM and other kinds of extant systems). It is with this latter kind of linkage – i.e. the link between real-world, extant enterprise systems (with their own kinds of transaction documents, each with their own nature of document identifiers) and the SCR-internal form of identifier (the DSI) – where the mathematical theory of information highlights the novelty and importance of the role of SCR’s DSI object within the SCR Trust Model.
The mathematical theory of information teaches that, in general, the value of information decreases with the time-lag in obtaining the information. (Example: it’s well known and proven that eye-witness accounts of events, where the accounts are recorded, say, a week or month after the event, hold less information value than accounts recorded, say, one minute or one hour after the event.) The mathematical expression of the rule for complete information may be understood simply as: the greater the time-lag, the smaller the information value. The significance of SCR’s DSI and OAR objects – as each individually operates and as together they interact – is that, via the DSI’s explicit linkages back to extant corporate transaction documents, we have a mechanism that functions AS IF there were never any time-lags between the time when particular information is recorded in particular corporate documents (most importantly, the information simply that a transaction occurred within the supply chain domain) and when the DSI object itself is being created (via the SCR SupplyLense™ system). This de facto “no time-lag” outcome means that the information value associated with other systems’ information is not degraded – most importantly, for our purposes, that the linked transactions across a supply chain really did occur – regardless of how fast (or slowly) the DSI and OAR objects themselves are created. This set of capabilities is central to the SCR Trust Model, then, because the requisite Markov (information) chain is created AS IF there were no information-dissipating time-lags in creating the deeply-chained information that becomes our Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) while, across some span of time, multiple different supply chain actors may collaborate to preserve particular targeted information and linkages between that information – but, doing so without ever compromising the information-sharing limitations required by any one supply chain actor. Also, see FAQs #5, #12 and #15.Read less
FAQ # 6: If my company invests in our own SCR SupplyLense™ platform, must we participate in your central SCR ProductLense™ platform?
No! SCR SupplyLense™ operates independently of, but also can feed information into, the consumer-facing SCR ProductLense™ platform. The pricing of each of these services is independently specified (see FAQ # 8). SupplyLense™ is where companies create their true, verifiable product stories – at the granular product-item level. When companies are ready to convey those stories – as the Story of A Product™ – to consumers and other stakeholders, that is the time when ProductLense™ enters the picture. Value through product differentiation is created within SupplyLense™ and is realized via ProductLense™.Read more
The two kinds of platform may, but need not, operate in synchrony: With an enterprise’s own SupplyLense™ platform communicating information to the central customer-facing ProductLense™ platform. For instance, a company may wish to run its own SupplyLense™ system for a year or more in order to ‘information-optimize’ its supply chain network before communicating selected metrics to ProductLense™ for public consumption. (Think of information-optimizing as akin to the more classic-logistics form of supply chain cost- and route-optimization, performed with tools like linear programming; SCR SupplyLense™ plays a role for information rather like linear programming plays for cost.) With the new kind of Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) enabled via SupplyLense™, a company will be able to perform deep network analytics on new kinds of vast datasets containing deeply relational information – a kind of business knowledge simply unavailable until the advent of SCR’s novel technology. We definitely anticipate that some companies will want to perform such new kinds of analytics and information-optimization before tying into the ProductLense™ system, where eventually companies’ rich, true product stories will be communicated to stakeholders. There is much for all of us still to learn about the intrinsic interactions of captured knowledge about cross-enterprise value chains and the things created via such chains. In fact, for this very reason as well as for our own targeted pace of funding, SCR is deferring build-out of a strong MVP of the ProductLense™ system.Read less
FAQ # 7: Today, my company ‘owns the data.’ Who will own the data when I use SCR SupplyLense™?
Your company’s own data will always be owned by your company. Within a particular SCR SupplyLense™ implementation – whether company- or sector- or industry-wide – the various supply chain actors (as SCR Registry Service registrants) will seek, and reach, agreement amongst themselves regarding the extent and kind of information-sharing (see FAQ # 5 on Trust Model). Click ‘More’ to read about data ownership related to SCR’s central ProductLense™ service.Read more
Your company will still own the data that you own today. The ownership of newly created, collaborative data – as supply chain partners collectively work together, both to build digitized Supervised Supply Paths (SSPs) and to create the Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) afforded by these SSPs – is a matter to be worked out within each operating environment in which a SupplyLense™ platform is deployed. Related to this point are the matters of SCR’s Trust Model (see FAQ # 5) and of how each SupplyLense™-sponsoring enterprise wishes to permit its participating supply chain partners to access both the as-captured data as well as the deeply-relational information created from those data. These are data-governance principles, concerning the B2B-created information. They will need to be sorted through, and agreed, within each operating environment where an SCR SupplyLense™ product is deployed.
On a related point, concerning data ownership within the central SCR ProductLense™ platform: As described elsewhere in our site, ProductLense™ treats with data and information that goes beyond the B2B-created information enabled by SupplyLense™. For companies that choose also to engage with SCR ProductLense™ – by pushing particular SC•Kn from their own SupplyLense™ to the central ProductLense™ (i.e. converting the B2B information to B2C-ready data) – there then arises the matter of data ownership within the central SCR ProductLense™ system. Insofar as multiple different SupplyLense™ platforms will interact with our central ProductLense™, and recognizing that people (users) will interact with ProductLense™ (but not with SupplyLense™), SCR Technologies will own the data created from the interaction of ProductLense™-users as they explore SC•Kn. Company-users of SupplyLense™ will have paid access to the C2C and C2B interaction information for all products within ProductLense™ on an: anonymized basis for all products; and on an identified-product basis for their own products.Read less
(Please also click for More Information, and view page-3 of this content, concerning SCR’s Dual Revenue Model.)
FAQ # 8: What is SCR’s revenue model?
SCR SupplyLense™ has a 2-sided pricing arrangement, with participating enterprises paying a periodic unit Node Fee for each Supply Chain Component (SCC) registered with their industry’s or sector’sRead more
SCR Registry Service. The main supply chain controller, or other system sponsor of the SupplyLense™ implementation, also pays an Annual License Payment. SCR ProductLense™ has a 3-sided fee arrangement, whereby enterprises pay in relation to the recorded clickstream activity, e.g. as consumers scan a barcode or QR code on the container of a particular product-item. (Such 3rd party code, in turn, links via ProductLense™ to the corresponding Document String Identifier (DSI) (see FAQ # 4).
The SCR SupplyLense™ system will be made available to enterprises on a non-exclusive license basis pursuant to an Annual License Payment plus a unit Node Fee (payable annually or monthly) for each supply chain node registered into the Registry Service of the system. We anticipate that the principal licensor of a SupplyLense™ platform with be the main supply chain controller in a particular commercial environment. That principal licensor may defray some of its licensing costs by sub-licensing to its supply chain partners, e.g. by requiring its partners (via the normal RFP process) both to participate in its SupplyLense™ system and to pay, say, part or all of their own Node Fees. The bargain here is that supply chain partners who participate in a SupplyLense™ system – with one or multiple principal licensors – will gain access to the SCR secret sauce that unlocks hidden supply chain information (subject, of course, to agreed data access privileges). Supply chain partners will also be entitled to claim participation in supply chains that receive an SCR-generated Supply Chain Integrity Rating™ (like a ‘Moody’s for Supply Chains‘), which is another patent-pending SCR invention (as also is the SCR-generated Supply Chain Certification™).
SCR has a 3-sided revenue model for our central ProductLense™ service. A per-scan marketing fee will be charged (to the company, not to the consumer), based on consumers’ interactions, via ProductLense™, with companies’ products, as they explore true product stories at the product-item level (for instance, whilst shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store or online). A relatively low Scan-Only Fee will be payable by the product vendor/marketer (not by the consumer) when the scan does not result in purchase of the scanned product. A higher Scan-and-Purchase Fee will be payable (again, by the vendor) when the scanned product is purchased.Read less
FAQ # 9: Who cares?
In the earlier years of enterprises putting SCR SupplyLense™ implementations in place, distinctly evident drivers will include: regulatory and compliance pressures; demands for higher degree of product authentication; society’s increasing desire to know products’ real sustainability metrics; and related factors. Longer term – we project as little as three years and up to a decade, depending on product sector and pace of system rollouts – the overarching, singular driver will be network effects, coupled with positive information feedback loops. Network effects (‘the more, the more’) will be the rising tide that lifts all boats. Feedback loops will inform companies what people really want to see, and know about, in their products: both people and companies will be able to Prove the Positive In Your Product™.Read more
We see many drivers for the new kind of Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) that SCR’s novel systems make possible. These drivers include:
Regulatory and Compliance pressures, both mandatory and voluntary.
Demands, or preferences, for truly authenticated products.
Society’s increasing demands for more, and better, Transparency within the global economy.
Society’s increasing demands for Sustainable products – and for trustworthy Sustainability Metrics about those products.
Society’s increasing comprehension of how improved sustainability can improve life quality for the Bottom Billion persons in global society.
Increasing competitive, investor, lender, insurer and regulatory pressures for better Supply Chain Resiliency and Supply Chain Risk Management.
Aware-Consumers’ growing interest in knowing, What Am I Voting For When I Buy This Product? (Note: companies with poor Supply Chain Metrics will either not wish to participate in an SCR SupplyLense™ system, or they will in time ‘clean up their act’ and then join into a SupplyLense™ system.)
Many other kinds of Stakeholders’ Demands for this new kind of knowledge.
Many Forward-Leaning Companies’ Desire and Aim to create and provide this new kind of knowledge, as an enlightened, responsible and competitive strategic advantage.
Our own Leap-of-Faith Belief that SCR-enabled SC•Kn, at the granular product-item level, will create positive value for companies, for people and for all of society.
The power of Networks and the power of positive Feedback Loops, once people have access to SC•Kn ⇒ ‘The More, the More.’
The sensible desire of both companies (selling), and people (buying), products to wish to Prove the Positive in Your Product™.
FAQ # 10: What does SCR do that others like Elementum, Resilinc, GoodGuide, Sourcemap – don’t do?
What differentiates SCR’s granular, product-item level of metrics – actual supply chain metrics, bound to the actual products created via the supply chain – is the consequential product differentiation that is created. Once your company has accessed deeply-distributed data and created Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) – via its SCR SupplyLense™ system – your products will each then have a true, verifiable Story of A Product™. Consumers and other stakeholders, then, will access your products’ true stories via the central SCR ProductLense™ service. People will literally see the difference in your products by knowing Where & How they were created via your supply chain network.Read more
From our market knowledge, these (and other) firms either: treat with the various elements of a supply chain (our ‘supply chain components’ or SCCs) from a systemic risk standpoint ; offer information about quality features of products, such as sustainability metrics, at the level of product-kind or category, but not at the product-item level; provide visual supply chain mapping features; or offer various combinations of such features. For more on the competitive landscape, please also view content at this link, page no. 10.
SCR’s patented technology offers the capability for deep-tier supply chain tracking at the product-item level: ‘This product on this shelf, now.’ With this functionality, companies can offer to their customers true, verifiable product stories – using any metrics – at the level of what the customer buys, i.e. the product at the point of consumer choice. For companies looking for a competitive edge via product differentiation, SCR-enabled Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn), at the deep product-item level, offers such opportunity. This capability lies at the heart of the SCR Value Proposition.Read less
FAQ # 11: What is the nature of the exact problem(s) that SCR solves?
On the technical side, we first solved a Hidden Information Problem, having to do with both information-theoretic considerations and with pragmatic factors regarding the (relatively minimal level of) interaction needed between the SCR SupplyLense™ platform and a company’s other enterprise systems. With a solution for this technical problem, we then addressed two motivational issues: one, concerning how to encourage collaborative effort in order to solve, what amounts to, a form of Collective Action Problem; the other, dealing with providing information firewalls, via our Trust Model, to solve what we call the A-B-C Problem concerning commercial knowledge limitations.Read more
Through our novel technology, we tackle three fundamental kinds of problems – one dealing with the geospatially-distributed information environment in which our systems must operate; the other two, dealing with how companies can motivate their supply chain partners to participate in, and be part of, the solution to the first problem.
We call our first problem, the Hidden Information Problem. Also, please see content at this link, (page no. 4). Simply put, the H.I.P. is that our globalized economy means that most of the world’s products are created via complex, geospatially distributed systems, commonly known as supply chains (which, actually, are abstract things that don’t exist!). This means, in turn, that information about Where & How products are created – this being the essence of Transparency and Sustainability – is also widely distributed across the globe. Not only distributed, but also hidden across many different companies’ (intentionally) non-communicating and siloed supply chain management systems. This is our Hidden Information Problem, which the SCR technology helps to solve.
Solving this technical H.I.P. requires collaboration amongst the various supply chain actors in a company’s supply chain network. SCR has designed several motivational approaches to help nurture the needed collaboration. First, we recognize that the solution to our technical Hidden Information Problem requires viewing that problem, not just technically but, also as a prima facia example of the economists’ classic Collective Action Problem, or C.A.P. From an ease-of-use standpoint, we have designed the SCR Registry Service to help solve exactly the C.A.P. – by offering one place, as a hub, wherein actors in an industry or sector may become SCR-registered (thus, becoming capable of connecting with other such registrants, when creating a digitized Supervised Supply Path).
Hence, a ‘LinkedIn for Supply Chains´. Second, via the SCR Trust Model (please see FAQ # 5) – including our optional blockchain module – we seek to alleviate supply chain actors’ pervasive concern with yet another issue, that which we name the A-B-C Problem. Via our Trust Model, we ensure that actor-B can transact with actor-C without C knowing that actor-A is transacting with B. We believe this de facto fire-walling of transactional partners will remove a barrier that has caused otherwise willing supply chain partners not to enter into even the very limited level of cooperation needed to enable the minimum necessary level of information-sharing. With SCR’s A-B-C firewall, for example, Walmart (as C) won’t know the identity of its supplier’s (as B) supplier (as A), which we believe is one of today’s big impediments dissuading many actors-B from sharing supply chain information. (Note: Furthermore, we believe that, in many SupplyLense™ implementations, many of the middlemen actors-B will often only be required to share a bare minimum of their own knowledge, where that minimum often will be little, if anything, more that the information that, ‘I am connected in this Supervised Supply Path as a node.’).
With our solution-approach to this set of fundamental problems, the SCR SupplyLense™, thus, is able to propagate metrics through even complex supply chains and to bind such information to the products created by the supply chains: which is what FAQ no. 1, 3, 4 and 5 are all about.Read less
FAQ # 12: What part(s) of the underlying Information and/or Communications Theory can you set out to help me comprehend why your systems work as SCR claims they work?
Of our various FAQs, this one takes us most deeply into the weeds! If you prefer not to dig into the several long paragraphs in the ‘Read More’ section, below, let’s just go with this: The mathematical theories for both communications and for information teach that, ‘There is no communication without transmission.’ The theories also both teach that the central elements involved are always: Source ⇒ Channel ⇒ Receiver. Whereas the participating supply chain actors mutually engaged both in their own business and with their SCR SupplyLense™ platform provide the Source, it is SCR’s technology that affords the clean information Channel (via our Supervised Supply Path object) and the Receiver (via the mechanics, and the interactions, of our patented Document String Identifier and our patent-pending Object Analytic Record). (The remainder of this story only gets worse from here! Fair warning.)Read more
Well, in addition to having had top-flight PhD computer scientists – from all of MIT’s Geospatial Data Center, Linkurious, Top Quadrant and Mammoth Data – working with us in architecting, building or reviewing various elements of our proof-of-concept and our SCR Demo System, we can add the following central point from the relevant (and well-accepted) theory. While quite technical, the following is also very fundamental to the SCR Value Proposition.
With our supply chain-derived nature of information, clearly we are dealing in an environment of dynamic systems, hence with Infodynamics. We have architected our Supervised Supply Path (SSP) object to operate as a kind of Information Transfer Function (ITF). Using our SSP object as our ITF – in linked operation with both our patented Document String Identifier (DSI) form of object identifier and our patent-pending Object Analytic Record (OAR) element – we enable something quite fundamental to happen, explained as follows.
In space-and-time chains (which 4-D supply chains are), the information associated with the initial (and other early) state(s) tends to evaporate over time. In fact, this early-information-evaporates problem is precisely why, absent SCR’s technology, consumers today cannot access trustworthy, verifiable knowledge (at the product-item level) to answer questions like: Does this article of clothing contain any slave labor-produced cotton? or, Does this metallic sub-assembly comply with Berry Amendment regulations concerning specialty metals? or, Is this Kimberley-certified diamond really conflict-free? or, Does this body care product or food product really contain RSPO-certified palm oil? or, For this portfolio of 50 different composite securities (like CDOs), what is the aggregated exposure of the underlying companies to supply chain actors that operate in countries with poor Corruption Perception Index ratings as compiled by Transparency International? In space-time chains, like supply chains, present-state information (i.e. for intermediate- and end-products) tells us less and less about initial-state information (i.e. regarding point-of-origin conditions, such as conditions relevant to every one of the preceding kinds of questions). This is exactly the problem that SCR has tackled and solved.We solve this fundamental information-diminution problem by:
1) employing our SSP object (which an SCR Registry Service enables to be dynamically created) as an integral whole, as one single, clean information channel;
2) to funnel information from each Supply Chain Component (SCC) comprising the SSP;
3) into an instance of our OAR object at a time as close as possible to the time when the information is known to exist in relation to the geo-location of the SCC with which it is known to co-exist;
4) and, using our DSI object, combined with timestamps and, optionally, with our SCR Blockchain Module, to enable;
5) the bundling-together of an information set, containing many Supply Chain Metrics telling about the supply chain, such that;
6) all this bound-together information, as our Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn), finally, then, is further bound to the product(s) created by the supply chain, which has been digitally represented by the SSP object.
Thus, by taking this abstract, non-existent thing called a supply chain and representing such as our digitized SSP (making it the clean information channel) and, then, using our OAR digital object as a single information container (making it the information receiver), we solve the supply chain world’s information-diminution problem (inherent to all space-time chains) by enabling information from each SCC object (making each an information source) to be cleanly transmitted to the OAR-receiver. SCR’s patented technology affords an Information Transfer Function that solves the technical problem, to read in FAQ # 11, via a series of inventions, which together are consistent with the theoretical considerations outlined here. SCR helps companies, collaboratively, to build this edifice to solve the defined information problem, resulting in: Source ⇒ Channel ⇒ Receiver.
FAQ # 13: I represent a large company with a complex supply chain network. How do we get started with SCR?
Please complete and submit the Contact Form, which is available at the Contact page of this site.
FAQ # 14: Can you answer other questions for me?
Yes! Please submit your question to us by going to the More Questions link at bottom of this page.
FAQ # 15: Some companies and consulting firms, we hear, are building, or aiming to build, a deep-tier supply chain tracking system, but by doing it all with Blockchain technology. How is SCR using its optional Blockchain Module in tandem with your baseline SCR SupplyLense™ system? What’s the difference between SCR and Blockchain technologies?
SCR’s patented technology enables tightly-controlled supply chain Transparency – enough to enable your company to build the true, verifiable Story of A Product™ – while affording rock-solid Trust amongst transacting entities. The equally incredible (and open source) blockchain technology is targeted toward transactional Obscurity within its ‘distributed ledger’ environment, wherein the presumption is, ‘No one trusts anyone,’ with outcome that older-blocks’ information becomes de facto inaccessible. Vastly different outcomes, by design in both instances, and very different technologies underneath those outcomes. Where blockchain relies on a chain-of-channels structure (leading to information dissipation through time), SCR builds a very different kind of chain-of-information structure (leading to utmost retention of deeply-relational information → the Story of A Product™, whereby such stories are both true and verifiable.)Read more
This is an important question, one that SCR’s most tech-savvy investor (not on our Board) asked our tech team a year ago. It’s important for two reasons. First, as we all know, a great lot is being done with blockchain (BC) technology (some things more constructive than others), and a significant, valuable market has developed in this space in recent years. Second, in certain respects, we believe, SCR’s patented technology is more fit-for-purpose than is BC technology. One such domain – again, our belief – is in deep-tier supply chain track-and-trace operations: which is what SCR is all about. In the supply chain space and for what SCR is preparing to roll out to enterprises, in fact, we judge that our technology subsumes the BC technology. That said, our baseline SCR SupplyLense™ platform includes the SCR Trust Model, which optionally may be extended by inclusion of an inter-operating BC instance – for companies that seek the nature of pseudo-anonymity afforded by BC technology. This topic gets really technical, really fast. So, just several key points, as follows.
The BC and SCR protocols both entail their own particular (mathematical) chaining features. SCR’s underlying implementation model (e.g. in our SCR Demo System), includes a complex Markov chain form. (For those questioning, ‘What is SCR inferring via its use of a Markov model…?’, the answer lies in the point-of-reference matter. From the a posteriori viewpoint, once the supply chain topology is known, we may not be inferring much; from the a priori viewpoint, when the topology is not known, everything is being inferred. SCR forces its model to function by setting key transition probabilities all to exactly 1.000. For the Hidden Information Problem that SCR addresses and solves – see FAQ # 11 – it’s entirely about a priori!) Both BC and SCR protocols are considered structured systems, whereby their respective structures represent additional conditions placed on the information chain (relative to a simpler A→B→C information-chain model). Both protocols result in an Information Transfer Function (ITF). The two respective ITFs, however, operate in different manner, each function having its own nature of structural, or intrinsic, information. A central focus of BC is its proof-of-work construct, which has deep implications both for the information-chain structure of BC and for transaction validity (e.g. for transfer of bitcoin units). A central BC objective is to afford users the combined outcome of transaction-integrity plus pseudonymous (never truly anonymous) identity for transacting actors.
SCR’s technology objectives are different from those of blockchain. We enable our SCR SupplyLense™ users to do the two central things outlined in FAQ # 4 – i.e. to propagate metrics through (even very complex) supply chains and to bind those propagated metrics to the materials and, eventually, to the end-products that transit a supply chain. Our use of a complex Markov chain structure – with the patented SCR Document String Identifier (DSI) and the patent-pending SCR Object Analytic Record (OAR) acting, respectively, as the information-glue and the information-container – takes ‘as given’ both the transaction-integrity and the transacting parties’ identity. These latter two points are central objectives for BC; they are ‘givens’ for SCR-system users. This also goes to the heart of why our patented form of object unique identifier, the DSI, was built as a live-link from (but not to) a company’s existing supply chain management (SCM), invoicing and/or other enterprise systems. The integrity of SCR-enabled Supply Chain Knowledge (SC•Kn) is only as good, or as bad, as that of the enterprise systems from which the SupplyLense™ Registry System pulls extant document identifiers. (Hence, we don’t anticipate that black market operators will have an early and initially good appetite for SCR!)
Without going further now into the BC-SCR technology differences, let’s just identify here the upshot of all the underlying mathematical information theory (and, some communication theory). The crucial distinctions are:
1) Blockchain operates via a chain of information channels (which are the linkages between discrete, temporally-defined ‘blocks’) whereas SCR operates via a single information channel, its Supervised Supply Path (SSP) element. Hence: chain-of-channels versus chained-information.
2) This difference in information channel structure – BC’s chained channels; SCR’s single channel – means that the information receivers for the two protocols are also significantly different. For blockchain, the BC receiver is an individual ‘block,’ which contains information about a smallish subset of validated-via-mining transactions. For SCR, the receiver is our (patent-pending) OAR object (created in tandem with our patented DSI object). The fundamental difference: SCR’s OAR object ‘receives’ all of the targeted information, by design; BC’s individual block ‘receives’ a tiny fraction of the larger chain’s information, again, by design.
3) With the two protocols’ very different kinds of information receivers (single block for BC and complete, deeply-chained OAR for SCR), one’s ability to access the information in the two respective fundamental information-containers is vastly different. By design, nobody and no system are intended to access very much chained information in a blockchain implementation (whether for bitcoin or for BC-2 or BC-3 applications). By design, the opposite is true for the SCR SupplyLense™ platform: given defined user-access privileges, the entire contents (or, limited subsets) of the OAR information-container may be made available, thereby enabling companies to create, tell and share the Story of a Product™. SCR’s technology enables (controlled) supply chain transparency, where blockchain seeks to ensure (guaranteed) transactional obscurity.
For these and related reasons, SCR would not advise trying to force a supply chain model onto (only) a blockchain implementation. However, as discussed elsewhere in our site, we have fully architected an ‘add-on’ blockchain module, which can interoperate with the SCR SupplyLense™ platform ⇒ the best of both worlds.