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As enterprise supply chains and consumer demand chains have beome globalized, they continue to inefficiently share information “one-up/one-down”. Profound "bullwhip effects" in the chains cause managers to scramble with inventory shortages and consumers attempting to understand product recalls, especially food safety recalls. Add to this the increasing usage of personal mobile devices by managers and consumers seeking real-time information about products, materials and ingredient sources. The popularity of mobile devices with consumers is inexorably tugging at enterprise IT departments to shifting to apps and services. But both consumer and enterprise data is a proprietary asset that must be selectively shared to be efficiently shared.

About Steve Holcombe

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this company blog site is authored by Steve Holcombe as President & CEO of Pardalis, Inc. More profile information: View Steve Holcombe's profile on LinkedIn

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Entries in patent (4)


Whole Chain Traceability: A Successful Research Funding Strategy - Part II

Return to Part I


I published Part I in January 2012. Since then Oklahoma State University has announced that funding has been provided toward the formation of a National Institute for Whole Chain Traceability and Food Safety. The principal investigators are Dr. Michael Buser, Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering and Dr. Brian Adam, Agricultural Economics. This post is to correct an omission in attribution to work product provided by Pardalis Inc. which was has played (and apparently continues to play) a critical role in OSU's intended formation of the National Institute.

A Handshake Agreement

In late 2009 I approached Oklahoma State University (OSU) researchers. We (that is, the OSU researchers and Pardalis) verbally agreed to go after governmental and private "food traceability" funding which would be used to employ Pardalis' database system - engineered from Pardalis’ patents - by OSU.[1] That database system was physically taken into possession by OSU behind their firewall in January 2010. Concurrently, Pardalis introduced OSU researchers to its informal “traceability consortium” of researchers at North Dakota State University and Michigan State University, and to John Bailey at Top 10 Produce LLC, Salinas, California. Together these institutions and companies submitted a $4 million (for use over a projected 5 years) application under the USDA NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) for a coordinated agricultural project entitled A Real–Time, Item Level, Stakeholder Driven Traceability System for Fresh Produce. My work product contribution (i.e., Pardalis’ contribution) for this first funding submission is found in Objective 2: Development of a Data Repository Traceability System.[2] That work product includes a high-level, diagrammatic comparison of the product traceability initiative's one-up, one down approach to information sharing with an approach more akin to the sharing of information found within social media (using Pardalis' database system).

Prior work product of Pardalis’ that was drawn upon by me for developing Objective 2 may be found in Laying the First Plank of a Supply Chain Ownership Web in North Dakota (September 2008), International Symposium on Certification and Traceability for Food Safety and Quality (Oct 2007),  Banking on Granular Information Ownership (April 2007) and A New Information Marketplace for the Beef Industry (March 2004).

While we were waiting to hear back on the SCRI submission the opportunity to file for Oklahoma EDGE Funding arose. But what to apply for? I proposed that we assume that the SCRI funding would be successful, and that we seek additional funds for establishing a product center from the Oklahoma EDGE Fund submission. We did that and the $3.1M submission (co-authored and co-signed by me) was entitled Leveraging USDA Specialty Crops Funding to Lay the First Foundational (sic) of a Conceptual OSU Agricultural Product Traceability Center.

"The investment of EDGE funds is not necessary for the long-term success of the Pardalis/OSU collaboration; it will accelerate the success. When it comes to information technology, Oklahoma is universally regarded as a "fly-over" state. The investment of EDGE funds are essential in providing Oklahoma with the best opportunity to (a) rapidly expand the number of researchers, technicians, and support services in the area of food safety within the State of Oklahoma, (b) rapidly grow an existing, home-grown advanced technology company in Oklahoma [i.e., Pardalis Inc.], and (c) accelerate the development and deployment of an Agricultural Product Traceability Center at OSU that will be well positioned to attract $100s of millions in federal research grants and/or privately funded research."

Neither the SCRI submission nor the Oklahoma EDGE submission were successful. No reviewers' comments of any value were provided by the EDGE fund. But the USDA’s reviewers’ comments were valuable:

"The proposed project addresses a major concern of the produce industry, traceability of fresh produce. The project focuses on traceability at the item level, which is on the wish list of the industry. The proposal to explore social media systems could be used to trace items through complex supply chains .... The proposal needs to be heavily reorganized and a clear, well defined plan for the proposed research developed."[3]

Introducing and Defining "Whole Chain Traceability"

The failures of the prior funding submissions did not deter the OSU researchers and me. In the summer of 2010 we went after two significant USDA Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) submissions, both providing an opportunity for funding of up to $25M over 5 years. This is where the contributions to the funding submissions made by me became more distinct and modular. "Food traceability" needed to be more clearly defined in our funding submissions to increase the chances of the success we had so far been missing. That's when I created and contributed new work product.[4] See Pardalis’ Facilities, Equipment and Resources letter that was attached to the AFRI STEC submission entitled Stakeholder-driven food supply safety system for a real-time detection, risk assessment, and mitigation of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli [STEC] in beef products. In the letter you’ll find the work product where I for the first time introduced and defined "whole chain traceability" by extending the CTIDs envisioned by the IFT/FDA to the more granular CTIDs envisioned by Pardalis' patents. Here's an excerpt:

"A useful explanation of the benefits of a "whole chain" produce traceability system may be made with critical traceability identifiers (CTIDs), critical tracking events (CTEs) and Nodes.[5]. Critical tracking events (CTE) are those events that must be recorded in order to allow for effective traceability of products in the supply chain. A Node refers to a point in the supply chain when an item is produced, process, shipped or sold. CTE’s can be loosely defined as a transaction. Every transaction involves a process that can be separated into a beginning, middle and end.

While important and relevant data may exist in any of the phases of a CTE transaction, the entire transaction may be uniquely identified and referenced by a code referred to as a critical tracking identifier (CTID). Now, with the emergence of biosensor development for the real-time detection of foodborne contamination, one may also envision adding associated real-time environmental sampling data from each node. The challenge is in using even top of the line "one up/one down" product traceability systems (compare CTID2 in the foregoing drawing with CTID2 in the next drawing) that, notwithstanding the use of a single CTID, are inherently limiting in the data sharing options provided to both stakeholders and government regulators. With the proposed stakeholder-driven "Whole Chain" product traceability system, in which CTID2 is essentially assigned down to the datum level, transactional and environmental sampling data may in real-time be granularly placed into the hands of supply chain partners, food safety regulators, or even retail customers.

This is a vision of "whole chain" chain (sic) sharing that goes well beyond "one up/one down" information sharing, and recognizes the need for control or "data ownership" by each [of the] stakeholders."

A similar “facilities, equipment and resources” letter from Pardalis was attached to the AFRI Norovirus submission entitled Stakeholder driven food supply safety system for a real-time detection, risk assessment, and mitigation of [norovirus] food borne contamination. And the work product from both of these letters was clearly incorporated into the all important narrative for each AFRI submission, respectively. When you do your diligence, ask to see the content in each AFRI submission under Objective 5. Development of Stakeholder-driven Traceability System. In particular ask to see Phase 2 to Objective 5 entitled Technical development and deployment of “whole chain” product traceability system. Dr. Michael Buser has copies of those submissions as he was a lead principal investigator for all of the funding submissions beginning with the SCRI submission, above.

We filed the two AFRI submissions in August and September of 2010, respectively. We found out later (in 2011) that neither of these AFRI submissions would be successful. But we felt very strongly that we were on the right track. Consequently, in October 2010 this work product is also described in detail in my technology transfer proposal to Dr. Clarence Watson, then the Associate Director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, entitled Proposing a National Agricultural Product Traceability Center at Oklahoma State University.[6]

Pardalis' work product relative to "whole chain traceability" was also described in detail in The Bullwhip Effect series I authored and published beginning in January 2011.

The graphical representations describing whole chain traceability (or derivatives of them) are included in a series of presentations in 2011 (made with the full knowledge and participation of OSU researchers) to companies and institutions like Syngenta [presentation], the Oklahoma State Department of Health [presentation] (with a personal introduction by Senator James Halligan), Nestle’ (when I initiated contact with Dr. Sam Saguy), Gartner (when I initiated contact with Vladimir Krasojevic, then a supply chain Research Director), GS1 (when I initiated contact with Stephen Arens, then Director of Strategic Partnerships), the OSU Food and Agricultural Products Center [presentation] (at the invitation of Director Roy Escoubas), the Association of Overseas Chinese Agricultural, Biological, and Food Engineers [presentation], the EU-funded SmartAgriFood Project (when I made contact with Dr. Sjaak Wolfert), and others.

Pardalis' work product is again described in detail in an the internal OSU provost proposal submitted in June 2011 entitled A Content-Centric Food Traceability System. While the provost proposal was unsuccessful, it is essentially a "lite" version of the USDA NIFSI proposal successfully made (finally) as described in Part I. As with the AFRI submissions, above, another Pardalis' Facilities, Resources and Equipment letter was attached to the ultimately successful USDA NIFSI submission. When you are doing your due diligence, ask to see the narrative to the USDA NIFSI submission under Objective 1. Develop a working, scalable stakeholder-driven “whole chain” agricultural commodity traceability system.[7] The work product from Pardalis' letter is clearly incorporated into the narrative of the USDA NIFSI submission. 

The same work product is included in a composite fashion in Slide 10 of my August 2011 slide presentation, A New Way of Looking at Information Sharing in Supply & Demand Chains. It was included in the technology transfer proposal I made in November 2011 to Dr. Stephen McKeever, the OSU Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer, entitled Proposing Expansion of the National Institute for Whole Chain Traceability & Food Safety Research.[8]

There's more but I'll stop there.


For two years permission was granted by me for OSU to use Pardalis’ work product on a handshake. The handshake signified that with funding the technology transfer issues would be dealt with in a win/win relationship between OSU and Pardalis. That win/win attitude was well represented in the article, Tracking and Incentivizing Data Sharing: The Whole Chain Traceability Consortium, posted by Food+Tech Connect in November 2011. But in January 2012 the hand shake agreement ended. Pardalis' database system was returned.

In April 2012 Dr. McKeever responded to an email message of mine. I followed-up with this question:

"Is work product and/or copyrighted material contributed by me and/or Pardalis continuing to be used by OSU without permission or compensation to build upon the success of the narrative of the funded NIFSI project in funding submissions made subsequent to [the termination of the handshake agreement]?"

I have to-date received no reply from Dr. McKeever. I’m not attaching that communication or linking to it here but it is time-stamped Sun, April 22, 2012 4:00 pm to Dr. McKeever’s OSU email address. In doing your due diligence, maybe Dr. McKeever will share a copy with you.

In June 2012 OSU announced that it was providing funding toward the formation of a National Institute for Whole Chain Traceability and Food Safety. This announcement included no attribution of any of the efforts or work products provided by Pardalis. Furthermore, the criticality of Pardalis’ work product to the proposed formation of the National Institute was at least in one instance in 2012 included in a promotional presentation made by one of the principal investigators of the National Institute. See the Slides 12 and 13 of the presentation by Dr. Brian Adam (entitled Whole-Chain Traceability – Information Sharing from Farm to Fork and Back Again) which was apparently shown in June 2012 to the National Value Added Conference in Traverse City, Michigan. Again, the inclusion of these slides was made without attribution to, or permission by, Pardalis. In fact those two slides used by Dr. Adam were personally prepared by me in 2011 and have been either untouched or barely retouched. The essence of Pardalis’ work product in extending the CTIDs envisioned by the IFT/FDA to the more granular CTIDs envisioned by Pardalis' patents clearly remains.


Whatever the reasoning or justification by OSU for the omission, the point of this blog post is to correctly attribute the proposed founding of the National Institute to Pardalis’ work product. No permission or license was given by Pardalis to OSU that would justify OSU behaving as if "whole chain traceability" had never been introduced and defined by me in 2010 for our research strategy. Moreover, there was no "work for hire" agreement. And following the termination of the handshake agreement there was no permission or license given to OSU to continue to use Pardalis' work product as if it were OSU's work product. 

Due diligence advice

It is clear that the roots of the intended National Institute run deep into Pardalis’ work product but that this contribution has so far gone without attribution. And it is clear that OSU continued to use Pardalis’ work product without attribution in 2012 to promote the founding of the National Institute. If you are a researcher or company who is involved in activities connected with the National Institute, or you are considering becoming so involved, do your own due diligence investigation as to the behavior of OSU in using Pardalis’ work product without attribution. 

What about the clear connection between Pardalis' work product and Pardalis' patents? Is OSU infringing the methods of Pardalis’ patents? Attribution doesn't solve this dilemma. The burden is on OSU to show that it is not infringing. If it is using Pardalis' patents then a direct, express license is required. If you are considering licensing or using any technologies that come out of (or are provided by) the National Institute relating to the networking of immutable informational objects then, again, do your due diligence research.


At my solicitation Dr. Sam Saguy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - along with several others[9] - graciously gave an early letter of support to the formation of the National Institute. Dr. Saguy said something that has stayed with me:

"It is worth noting that the ... founding of the Institute is truly a milestone made possible by the activities of the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium (WCTC). Unfunded, multi-institutional activities do not commonly coalesce and stay together for as long as they have with the WCTC. Keeping such a group together in advance of funding is no small challenge. The WCTC participants at Oklahoma State University, North Dakota State University, Michigan State University, the University of Arkansas, and Pardalis, Inc. have [implemented what I describe as] “sharing-is-winning” principles. Only through this open and mutual interests and sharing of resources most future hurdles will be overcome with fruitful outcome."[10]

Thank you, Dr. Saguy. I could not agree more


  1. This was the same database system that had been commercially deployed in late 2005 to a Texas livestock market. For more information see The Tipping Point Has Arrived: Market Incentives for Selective Sharing in Web Communications (July 2012).
  2. Background information. Not linked to or otherwise included here. If need be, you can ask Dr. Michael Buser at OSU for a copy of the SCRI submission.
  3. Email message to Dr. Deland J Myers, School of Food Systems, North Dakota State University, time-dated Tue, June 1, 2010 11:14 am from USDA\NIFA regarding Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Proposal Number: 2010-01167, Proposal Title: A Real-Time, Item Level, Stakeholder Driven Traceability System for Fresh Produce.
  4. It was at this time that I also personally solicited the participation of researchers at the University of Arkansas in the quest for funding by the “traceability consortium” then comprised at its core of Oklahoma State University, North Dakota State University, Michigan State University and Pardalis, Inc.
  5. The following picture was heavily influenced by Appendix I of the IFT/FDA Traceability in Food Systems Report, Vol. 1.
  6. See p. 4.
  7. You might also inquire as to whether the content in Objective 1 has been modified or updated from January 2012 forward to completely remove reference to Pardalis’ work product. See also the "due diligence" advice, below.
  8. See p. 3. By the way, proposing "expansion" of the National Institute was actually part and parcel of asking for more formal recognition of the National Institute by the OSU administration such as that given by OSU when it made its announcement in June 2012.
  9. See the updates to The Whole Chain Traceability Consortium (November 2011). Some or all of those letters - including Dr. Saguy's - may have been withdrawn or not used by OSU following the termination of the handshake between Pardalis and OSU.
  10. Letter dated 9 Oct 2011 to Dr. Brian Adam. Hyperlinked added.




The Roots of Common Point Authoring (CPA)

Common Point Authoring (CPA) is timely and relevant for amerliorating the fear factors revolving around data ownership. Those fears are multiplying from the every increasing usage of unique identification on the Internet as applied to both people (e.g., social security numbers) and products (e.g., unique electronic product numbers and RFID tags).

Q&A: What is an informational object?

Consider the electronic form of this document (the one you are reading right now) as an example of a informational object. Imagine that you are the author and owner of this informational object. Imagine that each paragraph of this object has a granular on/off switch that you control. Imagine being able to granularly control who sees which paragraph even as your informational object is electronically shared one-step, two-steps, three-steps, etc., down a supply chain with people or businesses you have never even heard of. Now further imagine being able to control the access to individual data elements within each of those paragraphs.

The methods for CPA were first envisioned in regards to transforming the authoring of paper-based material safety data sheets (MSDSs) in the chemical industry into a market-driven, electronic service provided by chemical manufacturers for their supply chain customers. You may think of MSDSs as a type of chemical pedigree document authored by chemical manufacturers and then handed down a multi-party supply chain as it follows the trading of the chemical.

At the time, we crunched some numbers and found that MSDSs offered as a globally accessible software service could be provided to downstream users for significantly less than what it cost them to handle paper MSDSs. But we further recognized that our business model for global software services wouldn’t work very well unless the fear factors revolving around MSDSs offered as a service were technologically addressed.

That is, we asked the question, “How can electronic information be granularly controlled by the original author (i.e., creator) as it is shared down a supply chain?”

When it comes to information sharing in multi-tenancies, the prior art (i.e., the prior patents and other published materials) to CPA at best refers to collaborative document editing systems where multiple parties share in the authoring of a single document. A good example of the prior art is found in a 1993 Xerox patent entitled 'Updating local copy of shared data in a collaborative system' (US Patent 5,220,657 - Xerox) covering:

“A multi-user collaborative system in which the contents as well as the current status of other user activity of a shared structured data object representing one or more related structured data objects in the form of data entries can be concurrently accessed by different users respectively at different workstations connected to a common link.”

By contrast, CPA's methods provide for the selective sharing of informational objects (and their respective data elements) without the necessity of any collaboration. More specifically, CPA provides the foundational methods for the creation and versioning of immutable data elements at a single location by an end-user (or a machine). Those data elements are accessible, linkable and otherwise usable with meta-data authorizations. This is especially important when it comes to overcoming the fear factors to the sharing of enterprise data, or allowing for the semantic search of enterprise data. To the right is a representation from Pardalis' parent patent, "Informational object authoring and distribution system" (US Patent 6,671,696), of a granular, author-controlled, structured informational object around which CPA's methods revolve.

That is, the critical means and functions of the Common Point Authoring™ system provide for user-centric authoring and registration of radically identified, immutable objects for further granular publication, by the choice of each author, among networked systems. The benefits of CPA include minimal, precise disclosures of personal and product identity data to networks fragmented by information silos and concerns over 'data ownership'.

When it comes to "electronic rights and transaction management", CPA's methods have further been distinguished from a significant patent held by Intertrust Technologies. See Methods for matching, selecting, narrowcasting, and/or classifying based on rights management and/or other information (US Patent 7,092,914 - Intertrust Technologies). By the way, in a 2004 announcement Microsoft Corp. agreed to take a comprehensive license to InterTrust's patent portfolio for a one-time payment of $440 million.

CPA's methods have been further distinguished worldwide from object-oriented, runtime efficiency IP held by these leaders in back-end, enterprise application integration: Method and system for network marshalling of interface pointers for remote procedure calls (US Patent 5,511,197 - Microsoft), Reuse of immutable objects during object creation (US Patent 6,438,560 - IBM), Method and software for processing data objects in business applications (US Patent 7,225,302 - SAP), and Method and system to protect electronic data objects from unauthorized access (US Patent 7,761,382 - Siemens).

For more information, see Pardalis' Global IP.


The Tipping Point Has Arrived: Market Incentives for Selective Sharing in Web Communications

By Steve Holcombe (@steve_holcombe) and Clive Boulton (@iC)

A Glimmer of Market Validation for Selective Sharing

In late 2005 Pardalis deployed a multi-tenant, enterprise-class SaaS to a Texas livestock market. The web-connected service provided for the selective sharing of data assets in the U.S. beef livestock supply chain.  Promising revenues were generated from a backdrop of industry incentives being provided for sourced livestock. The industry incentives themselves were driven by the specter of mandatory livestock identification promised by the USDA in the wake of the 2003 "mad cow" case.

At the livestock market thousands of calves were processed over several sessions. Small livestock producers brought their calves into the auction for weekly sales where they were RFID tagged. An affordable fee per calf was charged to the producers which included the cost of a RFID tag. The tags identifiers were automatically captured, a seller code was entered, and affidavit information was also entered as to the country of origin (USA) of each calf. Buyers paid premium prices for the tagged calves over and above untagged calves. The buyers made money over and above the affordable fee per calf.  After each sale, and at the speed of commerce, all seller, buyer and sales information was uploaded into an information tenancy in the SaaS that was controlled by the livestock market. For the first time ever in the industry, the livestock auction selectively authorized access to this information to the buyers via their own individual tenancies in the SaaS.

That any calves were processed at all was not possible without directly addressing the fear of information sharing that was held by both the calf sellers and the livestock market. The calf sellers liked that their respective identities were selectively withheld from the calf buyers. And they liked that a commercial entity they trusted – the livestock market – could stand as a kind of trustee between them and governmental regulators in case an auctioned calf later turned out to be the next ‘mad cow’. In turn the livestock market liked the selectiveness in information sharing because it did not have to share its confidential client list in an “all or nothing” manner to potential competitors on down the supply chain. At that moment in time, the immediate future of selective sharing with the SaaS looked very bright. The selective sharing design deployed by Pardalis in its SaaS fixed data elements at a single location with authorizations controlled by the tenants. Unfortunately, the model could not be continued and scaled at that time to other livestock markets. In 2006 the USDA bowed to political realities and terminated its efforts to introduce national mandatory livestock identification.

And so, too, went the regulatory-driven industry incentives. But … hold that thought.

Talking in Circles: Selective Sharing in Google+

Google+ is now 1 year old. In conjunction with Google, researchers Sanjay Kairam, Michael J. Brzozowski, David Huffaker, and Ed H. Chi have published Talking in Circles: Selective Sharing in Google+, the first empirical study of behavior in a network designed to facilitate selective sharing:

"Online social networks have become indispensable tools for information sharing, but existing ‘all-or-nothing’ models for sharing have made it difficult for users to target information to specific parts of their networks. In this paper, we study Google+, which enables users to selectively share content with specific ‘Circles’ of people. Through a combination of log analysis with surveys and interviews, we investigate how active users organize and select audiences for shared content. We find that these users frequently engaged in selective sharing, creating circles to manage content across particular life facets, ties of varying strength, and interest-based groups. Motivations to share spanned personal and informational reasons, and users frequently weighed ‘limiting’ factors (e.g. privacy, relevance, and social norms) against the desire to reach a large audience. Our work identifies implications for the design of selective sharing mechanisms in social networks."

While selective sharing may be characterized as being available on other networks (e.g. ‘Lists’ on Facebook), Google is sending signals that making the design of selective sharing controls central to the sharing model offers a great opportunity to help users manage their self-presentations to multiple audiences in the multi-tenancies we call online social networks. Or, put more simply, selective sharing multiplies opportunities for online engagement.

For the purposes of this blog post, we adopt Google’s definition of "selective sharing" to mean providing information producers with controls for overcoming both over-sharing and fear of sharing. Furthermore, we agree with Google that that the design of tools for such selective sharing controls must allow users to balance sender and receiver needs, and to adapt these controls to different types of content. So defined, we believe that almost seven years since the Texas livestock market project, a tipping point has been reached that militates in favor of selective sharing from within supply chains and on to consumers. Now, there have been a lot of things happen over the last seven years that bring us to this point (e.g., the rise of social media, CRM in the Cloud, the explosion of mobile technologies, etc.). But the tipping point we are referencing "follows the money", as they say. We believe that the tipping point toward selective sharing is to be found in the incentives provided by affiliate networks like Google Affiliate Networks.

Google Affiliate Networks

Google Affiliate networks provide a means for affiliates to monetize websites. Here’s a recent video presentation by Google, Automating the Use of Google Affiliate Links to Monetize Your Web Site:

Presented by Ali Pasha & Shaun Cox | Published 2 July 2012 | 47m 11s

The Google Affiliate Network provides incentives for affiliates to monetize their websites based upon actual sales conversions instead of indirectly based upon the number of ad clicks. These are web sites (e.g., where ads are the raison d'etre of the web site. High value consumers are increasingly scouring promotional, comparison, and customer loyalty sites like for deals and generally more information about products. Compare that with websites where ads are peripheral to other content (e.g., and where ad clicks are measured using Web 2.0 identity and privacy sharing models.

In our opinion the incentives of affiliate networks have huge potential for matching up with an unmet need in the Cloud for all participants - large and small - of enterprise supply chains to selectively monetize their data assets. For example, data assets pertaining to product traceability, source, sustainability, identity, authenticity, process verification and even compliance with human rights laws, among others, are there to be monetized.

Want to avoid buying blood diamonds? Go to a website that promotes human rights and click on a diamond product link that has been approved by that site. Want to purchase only “Made in USA” products? There’s not a chamber of commerce in the U.S. that won’t want to provide a link to their members’ websites who are also affiliates of an incentive network. Etc.

Unfortunately, these data assets are commonly not shared because of the complete lack of tools for selective sharing, and the fear of sharing (or understandable apathy) engendered under “all or nothing” sharing models. As published back in 1993 by the MIT Sloan School in Why Not One Big Database? Ownership Principles for Database Design: "When it is impossible to provide an explicit contract that rewards those who create and maintain data, ‘ownership’ will be the best way to provide incentives." Data ownership matters. And selective sharing – appropriately designed for enterprises – will match data ownership up with available incentives.

Remember that thought we asked you to hold?

In our opinion the Google Affiliate Network is already providing incentives that are a sustainable, market-driven substitute for what turned out to be unsustainable, USDA-driven incentives. We presume that Google is well aware of potential synergies between Google+ and the Google Affiliate Network. We also presume that Google is well aware that "[w]hile business-critical information is often already gathered in integrated information systems, such as ERP, CRM and SCM systems, the integration of these systems itself (as well as the integration with the abundance of other information sources) is still a major challenge."

We know this is a "big idea" but in our opinion the dynamic blending of Google+ and the Google Affiliate Network could over time bring within reach a holy grail in web communications – the cracking of the data silos of enterprise class supply chains for increased sharing with consumers of what to-date has been "off limits" proprietary product information.

A glimpse of the future may be found for example in the adoption of Google+ by Cadbury UK, but the design for selective sharing of Google+ is currently far from what it needs to attract broad enterprise usage. Sharing in Circles brings to mind Eve Maler’s blog post, Venn and the Art of Data Sharing.  That’s really cool for personal sharing (or empowering consumers as is the intent of VRM) but for enterprises Google+ will need to evolve its selective sharing functionalities. Sure, data silos of commercial supply chains are holding personal identities close to their chest (e.g., CRM customer lists) but they’re also walling off product identities with every bit as much zeal, if not more. That creates a different dynamic that, again, typical Web 2.0 "all or nothing" sharing (designed, by the way, around personal identities) does not address.

It should be specially noted, however, that Eve Maler and the User-Managed Access (UMA) group at the Kantara Initiative are providing selective sharing web protocols that place "the emphasis on user visibility into and control over access by others".  And Eve in her capacity at Forrester has more recently provided a wonderful update of her earlier blog post, this one entitled A New Venn of Access Control for the API Economy.

But in our opinion before Google+, UMA or any other companies or groups working on selective sharing can have any reasonable chance of addressing "data ownership" in enterprises and their supply chains, they will need to take a careful look at incorporating fixed data elements at a single location with authorizations. It is in regard to this point that we seek to augment the current status of selective sharing. More about that line of thinking (and activities within the WikiData Project) in our earlier “tipping point” blog post, The Tipping Has Arrived: Trust and Provenance in Web Communications.

What do you think? Share your conclusions and opinions by joining us at @WholeChainCom on LinkedIn at


Pardalis announces issuance of third U.S. patent

STILLWATER, Oklahoma, May 24, 2011 - Pardalis, Inc. announced today the award of a significant continuation patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is the third patent issued by the USPTO that is relevant to the company’s key intellectual property, Common Point Authoring.

"There is a question commonly asked by information producers who participate in complex supply chains," said CEO and co-inventor Steve Holcombe. "That question is Who owns my data? The every increasing usage of unique identification as applied to both products and people is raising the level of consciousness of information producers about privacy and confidentiality. When the question is not answered to their satisfaction the result is missing or incomplete supply chain information. This has broad implications to the safety of products emanating from supply chains, supply chain efficiencies, value chain economics, supply chain risk analysis, etc. Frankly, this has broad implications to a global economy that is increasingly reliant upon the Internet for conveying trustworthy information."

"A significant reason for these deficiencies has been, as Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said that, "[t]he Web was originally conceived as a tool for researchers who trusted one another implicitly ...." That is, those collegial researchers didn’t concern themselves with data ownership and, consequently, trust mechanisms were not built into the Internet’s protocols."

"Over a decade ago Dr. Marvin Stone and I began creating a global patent portfolio for revealing the means and functions of immutable informational objects containing uniquely identified content. Our reason for doing so was that without immutable content there is really no way to efficiently begin to build trust into the Internet as we know it. Immutable objects had previously been used for networking efficiencies but not for introducing informational trust between content producers, particularly between supply chains participants and consumers."

"While our patents were initially distinguished – and rightly so - from networking efficiency patents held by companies like IBM and Microsoft it wasn’t until distinguishment from a seminal 1993 Xerox patent that the patent examiners really began to understand that Pardalis’ patents were part of a paradigm shift. Now with the fantastic work of Van Jacobson in Project CCNx at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a division of Xerox, we have a wonderful comparable in parallel. What Jacobson calls Content Centric Networking complimentarily overlaps with what we call Common Point Authoring."

Here’s an apropos quotation from Jacobson’s 2006 video, A New Way to Look at Networking (sponsored by Google):

"The biggest things is that you want all of your [uniquely identified] content to be immutable [because] once it's created, it goes out in the world, and you've lost control over it ….That means that if you want to update something, what you do is supersede it with a newer version, and that newer version should reference back to the old version, say hi, I'm the newer version of the [immutable content]. What you've got is probably obsolete. That means that wherever the data is, you can use it. You may have to do some work to find out that you've got the most recent copy of the most recent copy that's accessible to you ….. So, to do that, you want to be able to put sequence and time information, version number information and names. That's easy but something that you need to do and tie into the verification, authentication machinery."

"Earlier this year the World Economic Forum confirmed that content produced by companies and people represents a new economic asset but that the barriers restricting the movement of content through the Internet needs to be resolved. It’s very gratifying to know that Pardalis’ global patent portfolio is on the cusp of a paradigm shift in how the Internet will be used in the networking of trustworthy content."

The issued patent is entitled the Common Point Authoring System for the Complex Sharing of Hierarchically Authored Data Objects in a Distribution Chain, US Patent 7,949,668. Foreign filings relevant to the newly issued patent are being globally pursued and issued in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Mexico.

About Pardalis, Inc.

Pardalis' mission is to promote the granular sharing of confidential, trustworthy and traceable information along complex supply chains, and within the emerging data web, by empowering information owners and producers with innovative Common Point AuthoringTM methods. For more information, see A New Way of Looking at Information Sharing in Supply & Demand Chains.