Kontakt.io empowers businesses by bridging the gap between real and digital.
This is how the company summarizes what it does. It might sound like yet another startup trying to change the world, but Kontakt.io has managed to become the leading company in the field of bluetooth proximity technologies worldwide with clients including the city of London and the FC Porto football club. Yet why would such a successful company partner up with IOTA?
– Founded in 2013
– A leading global provider of proximity technologies
– Main product line: beacons
– More than 10,000 customers worldwide
The company’s main focus is on so-called beacons: these tiny devices “transmit a unique signal multiple times every second which can be received by phones within a few meter radius. Phones can accurately position themselves by receiving signals from all nearby beacons. The mechanism is very similar to how ships used to use lighthouses – the lighthouse would emit light which was picked up by passing by ships.
Unlike GPS, beacons can be used for accurate positioning indoors. Numerous applications have emerged – including indoor navigation, location based marketing, location based customer service, clienteling, and personalized assistance. Since the beacons use standard Bluetooth LE, it is supported well on both Android and iOS. (source)”
What started out as a service for the visually impaired has grown into a possibility for all kinds of companies to reduces costs and increase efficiency. Let us have a look at some of Kontakt.io’s customers:
Carrefour is a $20bn+ multinational retailer. Each of the Carrefour stores is equipped with lots of beacons which help customers , for example, via their mobile phone…
… find products based on their purchase history.
ELLE is the world’s best-selling fashion magazine. They outfitted a total of 803 locations with beacons that went live with the launch of ELLE’s September 2015 edition. The magazine partnered with ShopAdvisor to send deals to app users based on their location. So, for instance, you might have seen this great handbag in the magazine; you would scan the code and add it to your wishlist. Once you are close to one of those 803 shops, you would receive a message that “your” bag is there (maybe at a discount price!) and you would have a look at it. 21,000 people were attracted by this service to nearby shops. Thanks to carefully crafted messaging, Elle brought 8.5% of their shoppers in store. That’s 10,000% better than the average mobile advertising campaign.
The UBH is the biggest healthcare facility in northwest Switzerland, and includes 50 clinics. Since wayfinding has become a problem, 2,500 beacons were installed which resulted in an “indoor-GPS” which helped customers find their treatment rooms and facilities. On top of that, internal processes have been improved as well.
One could add many more examples ranging from event tracking (where were the people? What did they do?) to museums (relevant information pops up in the right moment, even on GoogleGlass!) and supply chains – it all boils down to collected data which can be used for various purposes.
In their 2018 whitepaper Kontakt.io describes the following upcoming use cases:
Supply Chain Management
This brings us back to the initial question: where does IOTA come into play here?
As stated in their industry report:
The IoT will enable infinitely more devices to communicate, creating a network of items that are all connected, and Industry 4.0 will rely on the communication between these thousands
of moving parts. This communication must be seamless from beginning to end. In order to make that happen, beacon technology must be leveraged to build a bridge between the physical and digital.
While looking for solutions they must have found out about IOTA. The company’s CTO explains their reasoning:
[…] blockchain has been too expensive and energy-consuming to succeed. We have decided to work with IOTA because it removes the cost barrier, and it needs little computing powerto confirm transactions. Moreover, IOTA, unlike blockchain or Ethereum, is capable of processing a lot of operations in almost real time. In fact, the more transactions it has queued, the faster it scales. For all these reasons, IOTA makes Proof of Work possible and efficient in the IoT environment and is likely to become the next security standard for IoT.
He just forgot to mention that in addition to IOTA being the perfect solution for their technical bottleneck, it has another major advantage over Ethereum and the others: it is free of charge! With Ethereum, for example, each beacon would have to have a positive ETH balance to send out the data (which doesn’t make sense if you think about supply chains with thousands of beacons keeping track of the products and monitoring all sorts of data like temperature, etc.). The data itself is sent via Bluetooth through a secure MAM-channel to a relay station (e.g. a mobile phone which in turn stores the data on the tangle) – watch this video for more technical information.
If you read the success stories of the 17,000+ customers (including McDonalds!), you get the idea that this partnership will be big – for both sides!