Kontakt.io Announces Cloud-enabled Portal Beam & Smart Badge

21 January 2021

Opening a New Era of Indoor IoT by Converging Location Services, Occupancy Analytics, and Environmental Monitoring. The Internet-of-Things in One Thing.

For the past 7 years, Kontakt.io has been on a mission to streamline and simplify the way location services and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based IoT are delivered and consumed. We started with BLE beacons and proximity use-cases and over the years we have turned into an end-to-end, cloud-first platform and solution provider. Today marks another historic milestone in Kontakt.io’s software- and machine-learning-defined product portfolio. This is the most powerful value proposition we’ve ever crafted, targeting customers and partners in healthcare, workspaces and hospitality.

I. The Cloud-enabled Portal Beam at a Glance

The Portal Beam is a wireless, BLE, cloud-based sensor platform quantifying rooms and delivering building insights in real-time. The Portal Beam uses nine different sensors: a thermal camera for occupancy and people counting, temperature, humidity, air quality, light, smoke detection, infrared beaconing, RSSI fingerprinting, and iBeacon. The Portal Beam comes with an 8-core CPU with neural network architecture and Bluetooth 5.0 readiness. Out of the box, it is compatible and seamlessly talks to any BLE-gateway. Using the 1-click, self-onboarding workflows of the Kio Cloud you can get started in minutes. Together, the Kio Cloud and Portal Beam are opening a new era of IoT services to quantify buildings converging indoor location, environmental monitoring, and occupancy analytics

Portal Beam is simple-to-deploy and there are no certifications or special skills needed to install the device. Because of its simplicity and sleekness you can either use 3M double-sided tape, use screws to mount it onto the ceiling using our mounting kit, or, in case of more challenging ceilings, we also offer an optional mounting bracket.

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II. Limited Enterprise Adoption - The Industry’s Structural Pain Points 

For Indoor IoT and location use cases, across many verticals, customers often complain about the same three things: 

  • High investments needed. 
  • Complex technical systems.
  • Missing standards and interoperability.

All three paint points share the same underlying drivers: they are time-intensive and involve complex planning, installing, calibrating, and maintaining of the systems. Professional service heavy and manual onboarding and set-up of the cloud systems. High costs in improving location or occupancy accuracy by adding gateways or switching to expensive or proprietary technologies. High costs in creating overlapping gateway/anchor or mesh networks. High costs of being locked into one vendor. High costs per sq ft or tracked asset or counted person using technologies such as Wi-Fi, 800mhz, UWB, or Mesh.     

When asking CIOs and CTOs what the perfect system should look like, we hear the following 5 points: 

  • Understand occupancy - so that we can save costs by knowing how people occupy rooms, desks or beds, without infringing on privacy.
  • Understand the environment - so that we can reduce the building’s carbon footprint, not selectively but everywhere: temperature, humidity, air quality or light. And create amazing employee experiences! 
  • Understand location - so we can increase safety and save costs by improving productivity, trace people interactions and things with room-level accuracy.
  • It needs to be affordable - so everyone can have access to it. It can’t cost double the existing IT infrastructure. 
  • That simply works - so users can unbox, attach to the ceiling and start consuming event streams in minutes, not months. It can’t require a PhD to get going. 

III. Kio Cloud & Portal Beam - Fixing Indoor IoT

The Portal Beam and the new Kio Cloud address these structural pain points and check off the boxes on each of the five items on the customer’s wishlist.  

  • One open platform and one and device to quantify rooms and buildings across use-cases.
  • Complements the WiFi network you already have in place.
  • Standard-based leveraging Bluetooth LE as the backhaul & open architecture with no vendor lock-in. 
  • Fastest time to value with simplicity designed into the cloud, deployments and devices. 
  • Most affordable solution with the lowest total cost of ownership across hardware, cloud and services. 

IV. Four Capabilities & Use-Case specific Value Propositions


1. Occupancy Monitoring

Throughout 2020, many businesses noted immense changes in their building space utilization and a need to monitor and analyze how spaces are actually used. It’s important to know if there is an underused space, if people maintain appropriate social distancing and how building floor space is utilized in real-time and historically so that you can improve facility flow planning. Equipped with a thermal camera, a ceiling-mounted Portal Beam lets you monitor how people occupy spaces and track the occupancy of buildings, floors, rooms, and desks or, in case of healthcare, even hospital beds, all without infringing on privacy. As a reference point the Portal Beam allows for 200+ sq ft coverage at 10-feet ceiling height.

2. Environmental Monitoring

Across any workspace, environmental changes are essential factors to monitor, regardless of the industry. Environmental awareness and concern with energy efficiency for the sake of more than just cost savings has led to a reevaluation of the carbon footprints of many kinds of facilities. The need to appropriately manage which areas of a building need to be heated, cooled, and lighted is greatly assisted by Portal Beam. Solutions for providing a safer and healthier workplace, reducing energy use, and improving the employee experience are becoming must-haves in 2021. Kontakt.io’s cloud-enabled Portal Beam tracks all environmental changes, temperature, light, humidity, as well as air quality in indoor environments to detect vaping or smoking and notifies you about any critical changes.

3. Location, IR Beaconing & Room-Level Certainty

Portal Beam enables location-tracking use cases in which room-level certainty is required. Combining BLE with infrared, compatible BLE-devices such as the new Kontakt.io Smart Badge can be located with room-level certainty at all times. IR-Beaconing is enabling a new range of location tracking use-cases especially relevant for healthcare and hospitality including contact tracing, staff duress, visitor management, evacuation tracking and more. In addition, Portal Beam’s BLE radio in listening mode, combined with cloud AI, delivers improved room-level accuracy for tracking BLE-only devices. Allowing you to save costs and avoid the need to install additional expensive, wired gateways to improve indoor location accuracy.

4. Indoor Navigation

Delivering a better experience and increasing efficiency by providing your employees and visitors with step-by-step instructions to their destinations and helping them to navigate through large spaces have become a necessity and no longer a nice-to-have feature. With a built-in iBeacon, Portal Beams deliver seamless indoor navigation with compatible mobile applications of all kinds.

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V. The New Kio Cloud 

Today the Kontakt.io Cloud supports over 30,000 partners, customers and individuals. They have used our hardware-agnostic BLE device management solution and apps to onboard, manage, secure, provision and monitor more than 3,000,000 devices. They have subscribed to our Location Services API and deployed tens of thousands of gateways to retrieve location and telemetry data from devices to enable use-cases such as environmental monitoring, asset tracking, contact tracing. With the launch of the cloud-enabled Portal Beam, today we release three new major software modules. All three modules allow partners, legacy software applications, and end-users directly to capture value from the data insights faster than ever before. We are staying true to our principles of creating people-centric, ready-to-use products that are open and fair.   

ML-defined Location & Occupancy Engine - The new Kontakt.io location engine is the only one designed for building and rooms. It thinks in rooms and provides room-level data. It combines multiple technologies including BLE-based RSSI, automated fingerprinting, camera occupancy and Infrared and predicts, on the basis of ML models, location, contact and occupancy at room-level granularity. 

A new Policy Foundry - The new Policy Foundry is a smart tool that allows you to simply create a rule that triggers a specific notification or alert. We made it as simple as setting up a reminder in your smartphone. These rules relate to location, occupancy and telemetry data which can be linked to external or internal applications. The Policy Foundry helps you to automatically detect any abnormalities within your workspace. 

First Smart Location App - The new Smart Location app replaces the existing location typology and makes creating buildings and deploying Portal Beams and sensors faster than ever before. The Smart Location tool allows you to reflect the entire structure of your buildings and floors, so that you can visualize on a map all occupancy, location and environmental monitoring sensor data related to a specific room, floor inside your buildings. 

VI. The lowest Total Cost of Ownership of all times. 

The Kio Cloud and Portal Beam are designed for enterprise scale - both in technology and price. Installation doesn’t require any additional support providers to come on site. The solution is designed so that anybody can deploy it and get started. This is how we achieve it: 

  • No expensive cabling required which can easily cost $500-1,000 per device - Portal Beam runs on 6 batteries that allow 4 years of usage
  • No gateways, on-prem or edge-servers needed - Portal Beams communicate directly with the existing infrastructure you already have in place using a BLE-backhaul 
  • No complex installation or calibration needed - install the unit in the middle of the room in 1 minute using the Smart Location App in the Kio Cloud including the mobile workflows  
  • Transparent pricing models: Get the Portal Beam on a service model (MSRP $259 per year) or on a Hardware + SaaS model (MSRP of $239 for the Hardware, and $139/199 for the Kio Cloud). There are no hidden service costs in either scenario. 

The cloud-enabled Portal Beam comes at  ⅓ of the cost of any comparable alternative solution on the market and is the only technology that covers all relevant use-cases to quantify workspaces, hospitals and other smart buildings. 

PRE-ORDER STARTER KIT NOW

A Little Extra - Meet the Smart Badge 


To deliver an even better experience to our Portal Beam customers, we also designed the Smart Badge. We wanted to upgrade standard, legacy personnel badges and make them simpler, and better. We designed the BLE, IR-equipped Smart Badge in the form of a holder so that you don’t have to carry your standard ISO ID card and an additional BLE badge on top of that. The Smart Badge is flexible, you can carry it in a horizontal or vertical form, depending on your ID card’s look. Instead of giving you an additional device we equip you just with a Smart Badge holder where you can slip in your ID card and instantly enable contact tracing, staff duress, visitor management, evacuation tracking, access control, and other use cases.

Buy Smart Badge

You are closer than you think!

The introduction of the Kontakt.io cloud-enabled Portal Beam, Smart Badge and the Kio Cloud represents a bold change that was a year in the making, and marks a historic day for Kontakt.io’s future software-defined product portfolio as well as for the entire IoT and RTLS industry. From now on, we can deliver occupancy, environmental IoT and location use-cases end-to-end to both enterprises using our open architecture, integrations and APIs as well as to SMBs with use-case specific apps and dashboards. We made it easy, secure and at enterprise scale. Join us today as a partner and customer and build on a future-proof and open architecture. 

Pre-order Portal Beam Starter Kit today on www.kontakt.io/portal-beam and get access to free apps running on the Kio Cloud. Shipping starts at the end of March, 2021. 

Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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    [Updated for 2020]
    [Updated for 2020]