Simon AI Provides Turnkey IoT Solution With BLE'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.
Published: March 20, 2019

Several European companies are piloting a new plug-and-play solution from Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology company that provides Internet of Things (IoT)-based management of goods or individuals at a low cost of entry. The solution, known as Simon AI, is designed to provide automated visibility into the movements of assets and people at warehouses, manufacturing sites and health-care facilities. The solution is targeted at small or midsized companies that have never used the technology, or that want to upgrade existing systems to a subscription-based solution, at a rate beginning at $1,000 per month.

The system underwent beta testing for five months before pilots began early this year at several health-care and industrial sites. Pilots are now under way in the Netherlands and Germany, with future pilots planned in Western Europe and the United States. The solution is designed to overcome some prevalent problems with IoT technologies. One challenge is the sheer complexity of installing sensors, access points and software to manage the collected data.

Traditionally, companies have faced the cost not only of acquiring the technology, but also of custom-developing solutions to meet their particular requirements, integrating systems with their existing management software and performing manual calibration and testing. All of this, says Philipp von Gilsa,’s CEO, “significantly delays the rollout and increases the cost of IoT projects.”

Von Gilsa cites a 2017 study conducted by Cisco, which found that 60 percent of IoT efforts never make it past the proof-of-concept stage, while only 26 percent of companies exploring IoT solutions considered their efforts a complete success. He blames the complexity of such systems for that low success rate. “IoT is complex,” he states, “and we’re one of the few companies who can make it simple.”

Simon AI is an end-to-end solution that, according to the company, includes the entire infrastructure required for an automated system, including BLE tags, access points (receivers) and cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS). The software comes with a core application programming interface (API) to link data to a user’s existing software, along with cloud-based middleware to capture and manage data, a connectivity layer from the sensor and a device layer to manage the sensor device.

With the solution in place, companies can track assets in real time, and provide safety and security to understand where people and objects are located and when their safety might be at risk. Finally, it can be used for condition monitoring to, for example, track temperature or humidity. The company says a Simon AI pilot can be set up within about 30 days, and since the software is hosted, it’s an affordable option for smaller or midsized companies.

Firms piloting the technology have asked to remain unnamed, but 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’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. 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’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, offers bundles of $5,000 or $10,000 for all hardware and software, priced according to a particular deployment’s scope.