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Simon AI Provides Turnkey IoT Solution With BLE

Kontakt.io's new offering is being piloted by companies in the Netherlands and Germany to track the movements of goods and people, as well as temperature conditions, employing cloud-based software.
By Claire Swedberg

Firms piloting the technology have asked to remain unnamed, but Kontakt.io shared some general details about their applications. One company, for instance, manufactures and sells thermal containers and insulation panels that are used to maintain proper temperatures for such products as pharmaceuticals, biotech products and food. In this case, the company is testing how it can track conditions in and around the containers in which its customers ship products. The firm has a BLE sensor tag deployed inside each container, with a second sensor tag located outside the box. The sensors collect temperature data during shipments.

Once the containers come within range of a BLE beacon, such as at a receiving warehouse, data is captured and the company can view the conditions during transportation. An alert is issued if a temperature was too warm or cold at any given time. This data allows the firm to provide transparency for its customers, while speeding up the process of reporting information to regulatory agencies. The company can also leverage the data collected from the sensors for its own analytics, in order to better understand and improve the quality of its products—namely, the thermal containers.

Another business piloting the technology is tracking employees for productivity and safety purposes. In this case, 100 warehouse workers are carrying or wearing Kontakt.io's CT18-3 Card Tag. As each worker moves around the warehouse, his or her badge can be detected by 20 gateways installed in three zones. The beacon data is forwarded to the cloud-based server so that management can view the locations of individuals in real time, enabling them to better understand zonal occupancy, productivity and the amount of time required to complete a task.

The technology is expected to provide the company with a better understanding of worker efficiency, and to thereby improve processes and adjust its service pricing to reflect the work needed for each service. Kontakt.io is presently in the process of adding additional sensors to its beacon tags, and is already collecting temperature data with the existing tags. The beacon data, captured via Kontakt.io's own proprietary BLE gateways or third-party access points, is typically forwarded to the cloud via a Wi-Fi connection. "We're integrated with Mist Systems, Ruckus Networks, Cisco and Cisco Meraki," von Gilsa reports.

In general, the Simon AI system saves its users the time workers would otherwise spend searching for assets, undertaking compliance reporting or manually recording data about the status of products. It also provides a digitized overview of physical workflows, von Gilsa notes, "enabling them to notice bottlenecks, inefficient processes or underperforming areas of their business—things they were not able to understand and fix before."

Some companies that are already familiar with IoT technology can benefit from a system that is simple to deploy and provided by a single vendor, von Gilsa says, "without all the complexity of maintaining different infrastructures, doing custom development, and going through multi-step and never-ending sales and setup processes." For three-month proofs-of-concept, Kontakt.io offers bundles of $5,000 or $10,000 for all hardware and software, priced according to a particular deployment's scope.

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