Member Spotlight: Entrepreneur, Ultra-runner, CEO Scott White’s Vision: A Trillion Smart Objects with PragmatIC Technology by 2030
What’s more important? Setting a goal to strive after? Or achieving the goal?
You can’t have one without the other for sure, but PragmatIC CEO Scott White might respond to the above question by saying “Both”.
Trained as a mathematics and information technology scientist he has led six technology companies while also finding the time to train for and complete a 66-mile mountain running challenge across 42 peaks in the UK’s Lake District.
His ambitious goal for PragmatIC to strive after — embed PragmatIC technology in a trillion items within the next decade.
PragmatIC, headquartered in Cambridge, UK, is a world leader in ultra-low-cost flexible electronics, enabling the potential for trillions of smart objects that can engage with consumers and their environments.
We had a chance to speak with White recently about NFC, the industry and get his recommendation for an excellent book to read. Here’s what he had to say:
Q. Scott, when did you first come across NFC and what was your “a-ha!” moment about the technology?
I think we first started looking at NFC around five years ago, but it was really when contactless payments started to take off that it became clear it was going to be a game-changing technology rather than just one of many features in a smartphone. Our discussions with large fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands emphasised their excitement about our NFC-enabled electronics and the opportunity for direct engagement with their customers.
Q. What is your long-term vision for PragmatIC and NFC?
The mission at PragmatIC is to allow everyone to create more exciting applications for electronics by taking advantage of our ultra-low-cost, flexible integrated circuits. In the context of NFC, just as with other forms of RFID, this means extending use cases to everyday items where silicon-based tags may not be viable. By making everything uniquely identifiable and traceable, we can enable significant operational improvements and “big data” analytics for businesses and brands, as well as enhancing the consumer experience via simple and real-time engagement with products. The opportunity for this is huge, and we aim to embed our technology in a trillion items within the next decade.
Q. PragmatIC is actively involved in the NFC Forum. What is the value to PragmatIC of this investment of time in the NFC Forum?
While we have a broad technology platform that encompasses a wide range of potential applications, we see NFC as one of the most critical growth markets over the next decade. It offers a sweet spot for our technology where the performance requirements are achievable, and there is room for much more growth. Participation in the NFC Forum is therefore highly valuable to us from a number of perspectives, including networking with others in the ecosystem, sharing insights about exciting applications and use cases, and of course collaborative standards development to facilitate rapid and widespread adoption in the market.
Q. Any book you’ve read recently that made a significant impact on you that you’d like to share?
Most of my “reading” is actually in the form of audiobooks while travelling – and much less of this recently! But one fairly recent listen that has influenced my thinking is Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. This book was an excellent analysis of how statistics and experimental design are often misinterpreted or misused for commercial ends. While the book focuses mainly on medical research, it nevertheless offers some useful insights into ensuring that our own research is sufficiently rigorous, and that our promotion of both technical benefits and shortcomings is clear and honest.