By late June or early July, everyone was hoping that the pandemic would be over. The idea was that warmer weather would, if not cast it out, at least decrease the amount of transmission.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

People had high hopes that, perhaps by September, there would be a vaccine that would help make workplaces and public gatherings safer. 

That vaccine also has not yet emerged. 

COVID-19 continues to pose challenges for businesses and private individuals alike. It has changed the world as we know it: the way people do business, interact with the brands they care about, and even come to work each day. People are spending more time online and less time in actual contact with people. They do more online shopping. Many workplaces have turned to remote opportunities rather than asking their employees to come into a physical office environment.

Others, however, cannot allow their employees to work remotely. Some may need to bring their employees in to work occasionally, whether to pick up supplies or to deal with tasks that can only be completed in the office. Some may need their employees to work in a physical building to fill orders, interact with customers, or take care of production tasks. 

As the coronavirus crisis continues to impact the world and the workplace, your business needs contact tracing solutions to help it move through these uncertain times. 


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Why Do You Need Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing solutions can benefit your business, not just in the midst of the crisis, but as we move into a post-coronavirus world. Consider these critical reasons why contact tracing is, and will remain, incredibly important for your business and your employees. 

1. Help your employees and visitors feel more confident. 

The COVID-19 health crisis has created an unprecedented amount of insecurity and fear among many individuals. People are more aware than ever of the potential to spread germs and get sick when they come into contact with others. High-risk individuals, including both the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, have been forced to increase the measures they take to protect themselves.

Contact tracing, including badges and lanyards that can help prevent employees and visitors to your site from accessing potential high-risk areas, can help increase confidence and make people feel better about visiting your location. For your employees, that means decreased stress in the workplace, which can improve productivity as well as creating a better overall workplace environment. For visitors to your workplace, adequate contact tracing could be the difference between choosing to visit your site and choosing to stay away.

This need for confidence in sanitation and safety will likely remain in a post-COVID world. The coronavirus has permanently changed the way many people view health and wellness. Even with vaccines and treatments for the illness, many people will still worry about the potential to get sick and the lack of productivity it may cause in their lives--not to mention the associated risks. Contact tracing can help address that challenge and make people feel more comfortable in your business. 

2. Track the potential spread of illness (and not just COVID-19) through your workplace.

Imagine a typical flu season. An average 90% of Americans report at least "sometimes" coming to work while sick. When they have early symptoms of the flu, for example, they may come to work in spite of it. Some brush it off as allergies. Others say that they "don't feel that bad" or "can continue to work anyway." Many Americans have too few sick hours or feel that they need to save their time off as much as possible. 

As a result, the flu could spread through your workplace like wildfire. It might start in one department, with a single employee noting symptoms and then sharing it with coworkers. Contact by contact, it spreads throughout the building, decreasing productivity and leading to increased sick time. 

Contact tracing can help reduce the likelihood of that spread just as it can decrease the spread of coronavirus.

Many businesses have, as a result of COVID-19, learned just how many of their processes and procedures can be handled remotely. While being in a physical work environment can offer several advantages, including reduced distractions and better connections between employees, your business has likely implemented several workaround strategies that will allow your employees to work from anywhere.

You can continue to use many of those vital processes long after the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end. Like the flu, COVID-19 may become a seasonal malady in the United States, cropping up more often in the late fall and winter. The flu continues to present a significant hazard, not only to the health of the elderly or medically-compromised individuals in your workplace, but to overall workplace productivity. 

Contact tracing can help change that. When you identify an ill employee and trace their connections through the workplace, you can warn and isolate individuals they came into contact with. That may mean moving employees to remote work for a few days or weeks while they deal with symptoms of illness. By isolating those employees, you can prevent the spread of that illness throughout the workplace, keeping all your employees healthier. Not only is this a vitally important process when decreasing the spread of COVID-19 through workplace environments, contact tracing can help you keep your workplace healthier even after the immediate health crisis ends. 

3. Reduce the cost of unnecessary testing and isolation.

If you cannot track and trace the spread of COVID-19 through your workplace, you may have employees going through unnecessary testing. Those employees may have to quarantine until they get results in or until they can confirm for certain that they did not contract the virus. 

This can lead to a great deal of lost productivity and increased costs for your workplace, especially if you work in an environment where your employees need to be sure of their health before coming to work each day. 

Without contact tracing, you may have trouble identifying which employees have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. As a result, you may have employees unnecessarily missing work or going through expensive testing. With contact tracing, on the other hand, you can reduce the cost of expensive external tests and keep employees working when they have not actually been exposed to COVID-19. 

4. Keep business operations flowing more smoothly. 

COVID-19 has caused extreme disruption across many business environments. Businesses have faced shutdowns, employee inability to work, and employees who have needed new modifications. As a result, many businesses have struggled to remain afloat in the midst of the crisis. 

With contact tracing, you can keep your business operations flowing more smoothly. You won't have to disrupt areas of your business where employees have not faced potential exposure, nor will you have to question whether specific employees or areas were impacted by a worker who tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, you can keep your company operating more smoothly. 

How Does Contact Tracing Work?

Contact tracing is not disruptive for your employees or your business as a whole. With our contact tracing solutions, you do not have to rely on employee memory of what they did or where they went, nor do you have to question who may have been exposed or who may have been in a specific area. 

1. Employees are issued tags that track their movements. 

These tags, which are worn by employees every day, send messages to a gateway that tracks movement throughout your facility and the presence of various employees in specific areas. As a result, you can easily see what areas employees moved through and who may have faced exposure to COVID-19 if someone falls ill. 

2. Employees notify you if they have a positive test.

An employee who tests positive for COVID-19 needs to notify their workplace as soon as possible. Your organization needs to take fast steps to notify people who may have been exposed and prevent future exposure in the workplace. 

3. You can assess risk levels for other employees. 

With Kontact.io's COVID-19 contact tracing solution, you can access a display that will easily track potential exposure for other employees, including factors like:

The program allows you to collect data about who came into contact with the affected individual and respond accordingly, notifying those who may have come into contact with the affected individual without disclosing any of that person’s private health information. 

4. Take action accordingly.

By now, your business likely has a plan in place for how to respond to potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. You likely have a policy that will notify employees who may have been exposed by an infected coworker. Once notified, you may want to:

Isolate affected employees.

In some cases, you may be able to isolate a small department, keeping them out of contact with the rest of the workplace until they have had negative tests or are at least two weeks past exposure. Your business, on the other hand, may prefer to have those employees work remotely or to have them stay home until they have a negative test. 

Clean the impacted areas.

In order to decrease the potential spread of COVID-19 through your workplace, you may want to deep clean the affected areas. Our contact tracing solution will allow you to easily assess what areas of your workplace the affected individual spent the most time in and clean them accordingly. 

COVID-19 isn't going away any time soon, nor is the need for contact tracing. By installing an effective contact tracing solution in your workplace, you can increase your ability to protect your workers and keep them safe. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how our solutions can improve safety in your workplace.

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Clinical engineers are problem solvers. Whether they are in hospitals, private practices, or industry settings, they work with complex human and technological systems. These hard-working individuals tend to wear a lot of hats, including technology managers for medical equipment systems. 


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Hospital-based clinical engineers are responsible for making sure medical devices are effective, safe, and accounted for. They handle service contract management, the data processing systems necessary for the management of medical equipment, and coordinate not only service agreements but internal operations too. On top of all that, they're responsible for ensuring complete compliance with all laws and regulations governing medical devices with the Joint Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and more.

Medical Device Maintenance

Maintaining medical devices relates to all activities needed to keep them operating at an adequate level and minimizing any downtime in their use. The responsibility involves both corrective and preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance (PM) for medical devices are handled as scheduled events. The devices need to be evaluated for the frequency of relative maintenance and the impact on patient care if the device fails.

There are also required inspections to coordinate. Every piece of equipment entering a hospital or other medical facility requires an inspection before it can be used. They must ensure each device operates safely and performs as promised.  

If this sounds like a tall order, it is. For a hospital or medical facility to offer quality patient care, the equipment used must be regularly monitored, serviced, and if necessary, repaired or replaced while maintaining complete compliance. 

The Challenges of Asset Tracking

To be able to coordinate a successful medical device maintenance program, clinical engineers use a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) as a tool in documenting regulatory compliance. These systems are constantly improving and a great help in keeping up with the latest laws and regulations governing compliance. But there's another problem to solve: knowing where every single device is at any given time.

Tracking assets is a vital part of medical device maintenance. By knowing exactly where equipment is when you need it, you save time, better manage your staff, and, most importantly, place the focus on patient care where it belongs.

In a hospital with a high volume of medical devices, a thorough inventory with no visibility can take as long as eight to ten weeks each year without a guaranteed 100% search rate. Up to four to seven hours can be spent each day and as many as 1,200 to 2,000 hours can be lost annually for just one preventive maintenance event.

Frequently used devices like portable ultrasound devices, infusion pumps, and even wheelchairs can move several times in a single day throughout a facility. Time spent looking for these devices is time that could be spent providing the best possible care to the patient who needs them. 

One solution would be to invest in additional pieces of equipment but that just increases the workload and hurts your bottom line. If you can't track wheelchairs, you may not realize you don't need to order more. There may be a surplus in one area of the facility and a constant shortage in another. 

With proper asset tracking, there’s a quick and easy fix. Without it, you may end up ordering more and overstocking. And wheelchairs are just one example of medical devices that could be underestimated and stocked improperly.

Another solution is one that can be used to easily locate and track medical devices in real-time using established wireless access points combined with Bluetooth-enabled tags and a convenient app on a mobile device or phone.

Asset Tracking using BLE 

To help with asset tracking, many innovative new methods have come along including Barcode, IoT, NFC, QR code, RFID, and Bluetooth Low Technology (BLE). While each of these methods has grown and adapted with use, the best solutions for asset tracking are the ones that provide real-time information.

Fast Device Location

Kontakt.io uses tracking tags with BLE devices inside them to pinpoint locations relative to access points placed strategically through a hospital or medical facility. The location is sent to the CMMS used and anyone authorized to access that software. Unlike RFID tags that have to be scanned by a human or checkpoint scanner, BLE tracking tags provide continuous updates on items the software it's integrated with. 

Setting Minimum and Maximum PAR Levels

A periodic automatic replenishment (PAR) level is an inventory of all items and devices you have on hand at any given time. Along with this, it's important to understand how many units you need of any particular medical device in your department. Many use their best estimate of how many items they need daily. BLE trackers feed information into the software used to provide you with exact numbers on the minimum and maximum levels you need of any device in a given department based on average daily usage. 

This also helps immensely when it comes to managing inventory. Using the data from BLE trackers, you can set PAR levels to lower and upper ranges of usage during a normal working day. This will give you a highly accurate account of how many devices you need.

Maintaining Inventory PAR Levels

Clinical engineers can use Kontakt.io solutions to review available device locations, including those closest to the seeker if badges are also distributed to staff. PAR levels can be monitored and recommendations made based on current conditions in the hospital or facility. 

If any inventory item is above the maximum needed for an area, the staff knows which department they can grab an infusion pump from to replenish their own inventory. The retrieval is noted within the system for efficiency. If another department has less than what they need for wheelchairs, they are notified so they can replenish their stock before needs become urgent.

Loss Prevention

Not only can BLE trackers send information on minimum and maximum PAR levels, they can also let you know if any item has been removed from an authorized area. If someone leaves a facility with a wheelchair, you'll be notified immediately. This will help cut down on shrinkage due to theft. That improves your budget and keeps you from being short a vital item until a replacement can be ordered.

Hospital buildings have significant foot traffic at entrances and exits with multiple team members and vendors transporting various materials needed for patient care; and processing laundry and trash. Such high-volume activities result in involuntary negligence leading to unintentional loss of expensive medical devices and wheelchairs. 

The problem is greater with small medical devices that tend to get wrapped up without notice in soiled linens or in trash bags that leave the hospital; and are never recovered again. A conservative estimate of 2% loss of devices in a typical 300 bed hospital results in an annual impact of about $200,000. This does not account for indirect losses related to absence of a medical device at the point of care when needed. Delayed treatment results in dissatisfied patients and lower reimbursements. Not knowing exactly if the device is in the building or lost may also cause accounting implications and unnecessary maintenance support costs adding strain to the clinical engineering department. 

BLE trackers are available in extremely small form factors and can be attached on small devices that tend to get lost often. Beacons strategically placed in rooms capture restricted movement before it is too late. Notifications can be provided in the form of local audiovisual alarms as well as via mobile devices to alert well intentioned staff to recover items on time. BLE trackers are also read via mobile devices to isolate trash and laundry bags where the device may be hidden for rapid and safe recovery. 

Maintain Compliance

Every 36 months, surveyors from the Joint Commission visit accredited health care facilities to ensure compliance. These unannounced visits are called surveys. The Joint Commission sends health care professionals, experts in their fields, to conduct the survey.

The surveyors randomly select patients and review their medical records to make sure any and all applicable compliance standards were met. Not only will they talk to any doctors or nurses who provided care, they'll speak with the patients too. 

In order for proper care to be given as soon as possible, equipment for diagnostic tests and other needs must be ready and available. Any inability to locate a medical device can cause a delay in providing patient care and potentially have a negative impact on facility compliance. The result can be fines or even loss of accreditation.

Solving Problems

Using BLE technology from Kontakt.io, medical device maintenance and management is greatly improved for the clinical engineers responsible for them. Asset tracking helps clinical engineering staff to optimize their responsibilities and operate more efficiently. They spend less time tracking down devices, managing inventory, and monitoring PAR levels. They can devote their time to providing excellent patient care.

Productivity is increased and that leaves more time for clinical engineers to solve other problems, like cybersecurity threats, repairs, and required service swiftly. Kontakt.io solutions provide the information clinical engineers need to meet any and all applicable compliance laws and regulations. 

Using BLE technology is highly accurate and less expensive than either WiFi, passive or UWB tag solutions. Kontakt.io provides comprehensive Asset Tracking and Management applications that not only enable clinical engineers to rapidly search devices but complement CMMS in providing data analytics driving financial decisions related equipment purchase, maintenance contract negotiations, rentals and balancing useful life of assets with depreciation. Application can also be used to track staff, patients, and more for a more efficient, safer environment.

Reducing Costs

Asset tracking solutions using BLE technology are gaining in popularity. Bluetooth offers a quality alternative to active RFID tags. Advantages BLE offers over RFID open source, interoperability, scalability and lower total cost of ownership. BLE data backhaul is over existing WiFi access points eliminating the need for an alternative network, a significant cost burden for traditional active RFID. Location detection is driven by plug-and-play beacons that are one-tenth the cost of traditional active RFID location detectors. Since BLE radio is designed to consume low power, batteries can be off-the-shelf and last longer than active RFID. BLE is also extremely effective compared to passive tag solutions which require a large number of POE connected readers throughout the hospital to provide real-time location updates and have a significant installation burden that requires skilled labor. 

The open source nature of BLE streaming protocol allows various applications to consume the data stream for solving specific problems giving the customer an option to choose a solution that fits their needs effectively. 

Conclusion

Kontakt.io BLE tracking tags can easily be implemented and used by clinical engineering staff to help them manage the maintenance, location, and inventory of vital medical devices needed for daily patient care. They provide the information you need to know where each device is and ensure it's maintained and serviced on a regular basis to provide safe and effective patient use. The information can also be used to ensure compliance with all governing laws and regulations.

Contact us today to learn what we can do to improve your hospital or medical care facility with affordable, effective location services. Asset tracking can be handled by our solutions so you can have peace of mind knowing that your inventory of medical devices is well-managed. You can spend less time trying to find what you need and more time providing excellent patient care.

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Medical Bluetooth LE tracking tags

As stay-at-home orders and business closures extend, a lot of us are starting to think about what happens after the various lockdowns end. A rapid return to the prior normal is impossible, at least until we have a vaccine. Employers and building managers need to start thinking now about what they can do to control infection and reduce spread.
Smart building technology may provide part of the answer. Real time location services can track the movement of people and objects, monitor entry and exit and improve both bio control and convenience.


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Contact Tracing

A key aspect of controlling the pandemic as we move forward is contact tracing. When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracers have to track down everyone who was in close, extended proximity to them for the previous two weeks and arrange for those people to be quarantined or tested.
For employers, who can place a higher level of control on people, contact tracing within the workplace is vital. Using Bluetooth-based access badges, when an employee informs you they have tested positive for COVID-19, you can easily trace their contacts and send those people home. You can establish where in the building they were and arrange for deep cleaning of not just their office but other places (such as conference and break rooms) where they spent extended time. This prevents spread of the virus through your workforce. An AI-based algorithm can calculate individual exposure risk so you and they can make reasonable decisions. The algorithms can be updated as we learn more about the virus and specific risk factors.

Enforcing Social Distancing

If you have ongoing rules to enforce social distancing, real time tracking of employees can be used to warn violators. For example, if you have asked people not to linger in the kitchen but rather to heat up their lunch and immediately return to their desk to eat it, real time tracking can notify you if anyone is breaking the rules. You should consider closing break rooms and kitchens altogether, but this may not be practical depending on your location and what options employees have e.g. for storing and heating up their lunch.
The same goes for closed conference rooms and other areas where people may tend to gather.
Bluetooth access badges can also be re-coded to deny access to certain areas of the building, separating your workforce into groups of people who routinely interact and compartmentalizing infection risks.

Reducing Lines

The last thing you need right now is lines to get through a security checkpoint. Smart buildings allow for employees to walk right through checkpoints. You can even have visitors click on a link or download an app to their smartphone to allow for seamless access. This means that there are fewer lines at entrances and at elevators, and people are not going to be milling around in close proximity.

Contactless Access

COVID-19 can survive on hard surfaces such as doorknobs for hours. This means that door handles, pin pads, and any other "high touch" surfaces may be a risk. We do not know how infectious the virus remains in these circumstances, but there may well be risk from touching a handle right after an infected person.
Contactless access and automatic doors reduce these risks. If somebody can simply walk through an access point and have the door open for them as it recognizes their badge, then there is no need for them to touch anything, reducing or even eliminating this particular risk. Smartphone-based contactless access also has the advantage of not having to give out visitor badges, reducing the contact between visitors and security or the receptionist. Everything can be handled with no need for face-to-face contact, including any payment needed to obtain access to the building.

Asset Tracking

At first glance, asset tracking does not appear to have much to do with infection control, but remember that the virus can survive on surfaces. Asset tracking allows you to track down and sanitize equipment that was borrowed or used by a person now known to be sick.
Asset tracking can also be used to enforce temporary rules about borrowing equipment or using other people's phones and computers. In general, workers should not be sharing equipment and hot desking should be monitored for the duration.

Smart Restrooms

Restrooms are an obvious concern for infection control, and traditional room-to-room checks don't take actual usage into account, resulting in a restroom running out of soap. Restroom sensors can detect actual usage and real time tracking of inventory will ensure there is always soap (and toilet paper) available. While one probably doesn't want to go as far as to monitor how long employees spend washing their hands, making sure they have what they need to do so goes a long way.
Touchless restroom facilities including soap dispensers make a huge difference; consider retrofitting to install these if you don't already have them. Many people prefer them (as long as they work), and they will also help reduce absenteeism in future flu seasons.

Minimizing Visitor Time

Real time tracking can also minimize the amount of time a visitor spends in the building, and their contact with people not directly involved with the purpose for their visit. The system can send directions to their phone, allowing them to take the shortest route to their destination. This kind of technology is already being used by hospitals to help keep visitors out of dangerous areas, but can be used in offices to send a visitor to the office of the person they are there to meet with.
This also has the effect of improving the visitor experience, as nobody wants to get lost in an unfamiliar building. Office buildings in particular can end up looking very much like a labyrinth of similar corridors and rooms. Meanwhile, security can track the visitor and ensure they don't go too far off course.
If that person ends up being infected, contact tracing can be done, but the primary point is to get visitors in and out as quickly as possible. Staff will also not have to be in contact with visitors in order to give them directions.

Tracking Cleaning and Sanitization

Asset tracking and personnel tracking can be used to ensure that cleaning happens as needed. In general, normal cleaning protocols should be followed, with deep cleaning of areas used extensively by a person who tested positive or showed symptoms. (E.g., if you have to send somebody home because of symptoms that might be COVID-related, you should deep clean their office using appropriate cleaning chemicals).
Real time tracking systems can allow cleaning staff to tag that they have cleaned the area, ensure that supplies are where they need to be, and track whether equipment has been sanitized as needed. Similar tactics are used in healthcare settings to ensure that equipment such as IVs is properly sanitized between patients. For equipment that must be shared the same tracking can be used to make absolutely sure that it is cleaned between users.
If you have pin pads, doors that must be opened, etc, frequent cleaning is required and should also be tracked.

Monitoring Employee Symptoms

One suggestion that has been made for controlling the spread of COVID-19 is to take people's temperature at the start of the work day. This is only a partial solution, as people can be contagious before having symptoms and some people have no symptoms at all. However, thermal imaging systems may be used to flag people with high body temperature. This can then be verified and the employee sent home right away if needed.
While extensive behavior monitoring tends to be negative to morale, cameras can also detect whether employees are, for example, wearing masks for their commute, and flag them for a reminder. (It is particularly important for people who commute on public transport to wear face coverings). Smart building systems can also monitor for loud coughs and other disruptive symptoms, but it's important to balance this with your employees' privacy.
Real time tracking systems can be helpful as we move out of the "quarantine" phase and into a temporary mitigation phase, likely to last until we have a vaccine or extremely reliable treatments for COVID-19. Bluetooth-based systems are often superior because of their low cost, but systems can also use your existing Wi-Fi network, helpful for scaling up. Now, before offices and other buildings reopen, is the time to plan for how you are going to protect your employees going forward.
If you are looking into adding Bluetooth-based or other real time tracking systems to your building as part of your protocols for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, contact Kontakt.io today.
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IoT, or Internet of Things, devices are wireless devices that connect via a network to communicate with one another. Companies are increasingly reporting that they consider IoT solutions to be beneficial to increasing the productivity of their employees. However, many of these companies, despite the expressed confidence in the technology, are not investing in implementing IoT in their processes.
Converting everything over to data-integrated manufacturing with IoT devices driving the change is expensive and will radically alter the way a manufacturing company operates. These can be difficult things to get shareholders or major stakeholders on board with.
In this post, we'd like to talk about what IoT is, how it is used in manufacturing, and how you can maximize your ROI while minimizing your risk while you make the switch over to a more automated workflow.

A Closer Look at IoT

If you found the definition at the beginning of the post a little vague, allow us to clarify what IoT devices are. They are very commonplace, so you've probably seen them before even if you didn't know what they are called.
A common example of an IoT device is a smart bulb in your home. When you tell Alexa or Google to turn on your smart bulb, two IoT devices are communicating with each other to automate a task in your daily life. Light bulbs and smart speakers are universally useful, but IoT devices can get very specific as well. So specific, in fact, that there is likely a wide variety of IoT devices on the market specific to your particular industry.

How is IoT Used in Manufacturing?

While there are likely devices specific to your industry that will allow your various processes to communicate with one another and more effectively automate your workflow, there are also more general-purpose solutions that apply to manufacturing processes more broadly. These solutions allow you to streamline your workflow, reduce human error, and seek out inefficiencies through the machine-learning analysis of the data that they collect.
Let's take a look at some of the ways that IoT technologies can aid in your company's digital transformation as you embrace the move to industry 4.0.

Tracking with BLE

Bluetooth low-energy is similar to the Bluetooth technology that you use in your home, except that it uses significantly less battery power. This makes BLE ideal for manufacturing solutions because you can have a large number of devices without having to worry about constantly charging them or swapping out batteries.
As a tracking technology, BLE is more advanced than RFID, which cannot be tracked unless it is scanned. BLE is an IoT device—it will send its tracking information wirelessly to your software so that it is available in real-time without the need for human intervention or chokepoint-creating scanning stations.

Search and Find 

One of the big advantages of IoT-based tracking is that any item that is tagged cannot be lost. Finding the item will always be as simple as opening a computer and searching for it. The uses of such technology are endless. You will be able to more accurately keep track of all your work-in-progress parts as they move through the various stages of manufacturing and storage.
If you have costly equipment that must be shared across a large facility by an equally large number of employees, then checking that equipment in and out, and ensuring that it doesn't get lost, becomes a lot easier. BLE powered tracking devices can even alert you if a piece of your equipment is leaving a designated area so theft and unauthorized use can be prevented.

Employee Visibility and Safety

IoT tracking can also be used on people. One of the biggest benefits of this is that IoT-enabled badges can completely replace your current time management solution. Your employees will no longer need to clock in or out because the platform will know that they are on the job as soon as they step into their designated work area with a badge on.
The use of the technology that we hope never has to be used is in regard to employee safety. Should an accident occur, it can be difficult to know where any employees that are not accounted for are located. They could be trapped and in danger and finding them may be difficult. If those employees are wearing IoT tracking badges, then finding them is easy and rescue efforts can begin promptly.

Asset Tracking and Inventory

Tracking your assets as they move through the manufacturing process, or equipment loaned out to employees, isn't the only way that tracking can be beneficial. When materials need to be stored away, you need a reliable way to know exactly how many of which materials you have. Inventory management done manually is a time sink and prone to errors. But leveraging the power of IoT trackers allows you to automate your inventory workflow and get more reliable results that are always updated in real-time. You'll never again have to worry about over or under purchasing because of a bad inventory count.

Order and Material Flow Management

IoT tracking devices allow you to mark where a device is in the manufacturing process. This will provide you with the greatest transparency about how your workflow is performing. By having a more granular look at how your manufacturing process is organized, you will get a quick heads up when problems occur, allowing you to more accurately convey to customers how long their orders should take before completion.

Big Data and Machine Learning

IoT devices are constantly recording data. In the case of IoT tracking, you will not only know the current location of a given asset, but its historic locations as well. Feeding all of this data into machine learning algorithms can provide you with some key insights about how your operation is running. The machine can learn (or be taught) which anomalies represent a problem and automatically alert someone so the problem is taken care of quickly. These algorithms can spot chokepoints that slow your productivity and give you a heads up so that you can make the changes necessary to resolve the problem. Perhaps a commonly used path takes a significantly longer time than a less commonly used one. Switching your flow up could lead to a significant boost in performance thanks to insights that otherwise would not have been available. 
Click here to download our ‘What Lean Manufacturing Means in the Age of IoT’ white paper >

Aspects of IoT Solutions

A functioning IoT implementation brings together several different aspects that will all work together to ensure that your productivity and user experience is maximized. These different parts should not be viewed in isolation, but rather as parts of a whole. The performance of one aspect can have profound impacts on the performance of the others.
- Hardware - The hardware in an IoT implementation is the 'things' part in the 'Internet of Things.' These are the actual devices that will be communicating with your software to provide data about their operation and about the data that they are supposed to be monitoring. The hardware is the heart and soul of the implementation.
Software - The software that powers your IoT installation will provide the brains that the hardware needs in order to make your automation efforts worthwhile. This is the part of the installation that allows all of the devices to be accessed from a central location and that processes the data that they are all sending in order to make meaningful use of it.
- Consulting - Digital transformation and the move to industry 4.0 is complicated. So is the move to an IoT-based manufacturing process. It is vital that you have someone on your side who can evaluate the needs of your business and give you useful advice about the best way to proceed with a new installation or any upgrades that you may be considering. Having knowledgeable consultants on board is an important step to maximizing your ROI in the move to IoT.

How Kontakt.io Can Help

Awareness that IoT-based manufacturing can improve your productivity is one thing, but the confidence that you can implement it seamlessly and affordably with your current workflow is another. This disconnect could be why businesses that are aware of the benefits haven't taken the step towards implementation yet. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, though, and soon you'll need to begin your digital transformation in order to remain competitive. Here are 3 ways Kontakt.io can help give you the confidence you need to make that step.
- Single Source Provider - Kontakt.io provides hardware, software, and consulting for the adoption of IoT in your manufacturing processes. This reduces the expense and ensures that your adoption process will be as painless as possible. 
- Technology Agnostic - We talked a lot about BLE devices in this post, but our Simon AI platform is technology agnostic. It will work with BLE, but also with UWB, WiFi, RFID, and more. This helps to maximize the compatibility with your existing workflow.
- Multiple Integrations - Speaking of your existing workflow, you'll want an IoT partner that is able to integrate with the tools that you want to use. At Kontakt.io, we already have integrations with Cisco Meraki, Ruckus, Juniper, Rigado, Quuppa and more. By integrating with the tools you want to use, we can help reduce the cost of your installation.
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The form factor of badge beacons make them a favorite in offices, warehouses and other facilities across a number of industries. They’re wearable, they don’t get in the way and they deliver the full functionality of proximity-based solutions—what’s not to like?


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Our very own Card Tag CT18-3 has proven to be a big hit because of its versatility and convenience. Adopting the familiar form of a card and fitting into wallets and accessories like lanyards lets it go where employees go without interfering with, well, anything. Being small, mobile and unobtrusive has led to card tags being used in a number of useful and creative ways. 
You might even say that card beacons open a lot of doors to a long list of business applications, including literally opening doors. A bit of beacon humor there...
Anyway, our month-long celebration here on our blog of Kontakt.io’s sixth anniversary comes to a close with this list of six things Card Tags can do to make businesses more productive, efficient and secure.  
 

1 - Grant and control access 

We’ll start with an easy one here. Badges can be programmed to authorize the holder to enter different areas of a workplace or other facility by disabling electronic door locks. This is commonly used as a way to grant access to all employees to the main entrance of a workplace but the same principle can be reconfigured to work with internal doors as well. For example, the cards can be used in a way that only grants certain people access to certain areas, which can be very useful for security purposes in sensitive environments. 
This has particular relevance to facilities that welcome large numbers of visitors, vendors or others who will be on site temporarily. With Card Tags, they can be issued a card that will only give them access to limited, approved areas and keep them in areas where they are meant to be. As with anyone using a Card Tag CT18-3, their exact movements are tracked and recorded, along with the precise times when the card they were given was used. And speaking of recording times…
 

2 - Use the most accurate and reliable time clock possible

When card holders open doors and move from area to area, those actions are recorded and that data is easily stored and managed. In addition to everything else they can do, badges make the perfect mobile time card to electronically punch in and out at work. Doing so doesn’t even have to be tied to completing an action, like opening a door. Simply being within range of a sensor is enough to register that card holder as being on site. 
This function alone is the basis for many customer use cases since it eliminates the inefficient and often inaccurate conventional way of managing employee attendance records. With cards, there’s no more forgetting to clock in or out and hours worked by a particular employee, shift or department can be precisely calculated at any time. This is not only useful for calculating costs and guarding against excessive overtime, but also as documentation for compliance measures regarding workplace and employee safety. 
 

3 - Restrict access, enhance safety and security

This is more than just the inverse of the first item in this list. Using cards to regulate which areas of a facility can be accessed by whom and under what conditions is fundamental to a number of workplace safety and security considerations. 
Let’s cover safety first. Factories, hospitals or other operations with potentially hazardous environments can use Card Tag to restrict access to those areas to employees on an approved list. Only those who are trained, equipped or otherwise permitted to enter a room or area can do so. There’s no need to worry about unauthorized access unless someone’s card is used improperly. As with other operations, every entrance and exit is recorded and time-stamped. In the event of an accident, full documentation of who was where and when will be available. 
Security is another concern for facilities with, for example, sensitive data, expensive inventory or other assets requiring an additional layer of safekeeping. The same principle of restricting access applies here as well. Cards allow you to control who can enter areas where security is a concern. Again, full documentation is always available should it be necessary to reconstruct the flow of employees into and out of a particular room or point in the building. 
In both cases, safety and security, access can be granted or revoked remotely and instantly, without the need to physically handle a particular card. 
 

4 - Panic buttons

We’ve written before about tools that you hope you never need but are still “musts” in large facilities. One of them is a feature that can be added to Card Tag—a button that sends out a signal, which effectively acts as a “panic” button in many contexts. 
This use case has obvious utility in many settings but the healthcare and hospitality industries in particular have recognized the value of being able to call for help from often remote or isolated locations. Panic buttons can save valuable time when every second counts and other forms of communication aren’t available or accessible. With panic buttons, there’s no need to find, for example, some internal telecommunications device, call the right number and explain the situation and location of the issue. 
When a panic button is activated, the identity of the card holder and his or her location is recognized immediately. An alert is sent to the appropriate authority and the rescue/help mission is set in motion. The button’s utility lies in the speed and ease with which people in distress, or people helping someone in distress, can call for help—just press the button and that’s it. 
Again, it’s a feature that you hope you don’t need but you absolutely want it in the kind of desperate moments that you just can’t plan for. 
 

5 - Real-time visitor/people management flow

Try looking down on a factory floor or museum space and count the number of people there. Now, follow their movements and keep an eye on new people who join them. How many can you track? Can you even make it to double digits? 
RTLS (Real-time locating systems) using Card Tags can. In fact, they can handle a lot more than double digits. The total number of people in an area, their movements and concentrations—information that can be relevant and useful to many use cases and contexts. 
Managing visitor or people flow can be an important part of the customer experience or, more importantly, employee safety. It can also help in the full utilization of spatial capacity and, in turn, more efficient use of resources. 
Let’s say that, for safety reasons, you can only have a certain number of people in a given area at once. Card tags are the solution—they can alert you when that maximum is reached. Or maybe you want to remotely check the level of crowding in part of a facility that you can’t see from where you are. Again, card tags deliver answers. 
Historical data can be analyzed to tell you which parts of a facility are over- or under-utilized and identify bottlenecks in the flow of people, visitors or employees. When you can see a digital representation of real-world traffic, it’s easier to make the often minor adjustments that help to even out the flow. 
 

6 - Employee / visitor / asset location

This one might be obvious after everything else we’ve covered here but this basic application of tracking abilities made possible by wearable tags and badges is still, by itself, enough to make them worthwhile. Isn’t the ability to instantly locate anyone with a badge one of the clearest business benefits imaginable? In large facilities especially, it’s a huge time and resource saver. No need to tie up Person A with the task of finding Person B when Person C can just check the RTLS interface and get an instant answer. 
But here’s where this last entry on the list goes beyond the previous five. Until now, we’ve focused on tracking and managing people, but the same wearable badges that make that possible can also be affixed to assets, like machines, tools and other elements in a manufacturing process or inventory. 
Think of the downtime avoided by being able to instantly locate an asset that has been misplaced or not returned to its proper station. No need to manually search for it when you can access its location as easily as looking something up online. The digital twin of individual units of product, pallets in shipment or anything else with a tag attached to it can be seen in virtual space and its physical world counterpart located in seconds. 
Imagine the impact on your bottom line when you spend a tiny fraction of the time usually required to locate all the moving parts of a complex manufacturing, warehousing or production facility. 
Now you can see how something the size of your driver’s license can play a key role in so many aspects of the operation of a huge range of business environments. If you think card tags might be something than can transform some aspect of your own operations but you’re not sure how to get started, contact use here. 
 
click here to check our Card Tag CT18-3

This month we’re celebrating Kontakt.io’s sixth birthday and that number is the inspiration behind all of our blog posts in July. So, with that in mind, let’s dive into our first list of six things that will help you to plan, deploy, use and benefit from your own location-based application.
This week, we’re talking about the six most important things to double and triple check in the planning stages of any beacon-based proximity solution. A title that long must be full of important information, right? Well, yes, it is, and following the advice here will save you a lot of headaches and inconvenience in the future. 


Are you struggling to decide which beacon is the right one for your project?
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After all, just like any technical undertaking, there are some important boxes to tick in the early stages of designing and planning a deployment. Making the right decisions before everything goes live avoids problems later, when changes come at a high cost in time and money. 
So let’s jump in to our list of boxes you definitely need to tick in order to make your deployment a success. 

1 - Can you clearly identify what you want your beacon solution to do?

Sounds pretty obvious, right? Perhaps it is, but misalignment between the purpose of a proximity application and its design, hardware and management software it uses is one of the main causes of problems in managing any project. Beacon-based applications are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Different use cases demand different adaptations to their unique circumstances and a mismatch between the physical setup they require on one hand and the results they’re supposed to deliver on the other is a recipe for trouble. 
Wayfinding, customer experience-enhancing applications, asset tracking, employee timeclock functionalities—all this and more can be accomplished with small tweaks to the same basic setup, but they still need different approaches that begin right at the start of the planning stage. This means getting input from all stakeholders and precisely defining the main goal of the deployment before any conversation about hardware begins. 
If you’re coming from an industrial or manufacturing background, you’re familiar with the idea of an asset that is designed to do a very specific task very well. You don’t just decide that you want a machine to do something completely different one day and expect great results. The same applies to beacons—getting the right tools for the job starts with knowing exactly what the job is. 

2 - Do you have high-quality, up-to-date maps of all deployment areas?

Another obvious but overlooked point, the details of the physical area where your proximity solution is to be deployed are very important to its success. The shape, dimensions and unique features of the space directly influence the size and configuration of the infrastructure needed to cover it. This is not something to figure out after you’ve ordered your hardware and are looking for what you think is a good place to put a beacon. The number, type and location of the beacons to be used should be determined long before they are unboxed, and that means creating a virtual deployment based on a map of the space where they will be used. 
Start by taking precise measurements of the area and creating a properly-scaled visual representation of the floor plan. Be sure to include interior walls, ceiling heights and objects large enough to influence beacon signals, like machinery or furniture. 
When ready, place beacons on the plan along with their signal ranges. This will make it easier to identify problematic areas where signal coverage may be compromised by awkward layouts, walls or other physical obstacles. These spaces will likely require additional coverage to ensure steady signal availability, especially for applications like wayfinding and asset tracking. 

3 - Do you know what kind of hardware you need?

Now let’s switch from the big picture down to instrument-level issues. As mentioned before, different use cases have different requirements and in the context of beacons, that means choosing the right one for the relevant environment, with the appropriate features for the job involved. 
This starts with making sure that the hardware you choose can withstand temperature extremes, moisture or possible impact in the space where it’s deployed if these factors are applicable. There’s a difference between, say, the still, climate-controlled calm of an airport wall and the sometimes-hot, sometimes-cold surroundings of pallet in a warehouse, with its bumps and frequent movement. Picking the wrong hardware in applications with environmental pressures can quickly result in problems. 
Different beacons have different battery capacities and options for changing their batteries, too. It could be that you’ll need to compromise between one factor and another when choosing hardware. For example, do you need a beacon that’s waterproof? That’s not a problem, but the seal that makes it waterproof will not allow you to change the battery, which in turn has an impact on the costs of fleet management. The form factor of a beacon, which is important in some use cases, also has an influence on battery capacity, with the same implications for overall cost of ownership. 


Beacon Buyers Guide

Selecting the right beacon for your deployment is one of the early steps in the process and has a significant effect on future performance and possibilities of the network you create. Download our ultimate Beacon Buyer’s Guide and discover which Bluetooth beacon or tag is the right one for your project.


4 - Do you know what settings to use? (And did you know beacons have settings?)

Speaking of batteries, mistakes are often made when it comes to battery-related challenges and matching the needs of the use case to the capabilities and settings of the hardware. 
The energy demands of different use cases have an impact not only on the choice of hardware, but on the settings they use. In larger deployments with a high number of beacons, getting the settings right from the start can prevent troublesome recalibration later. The strength of the signal and the frequency with which it is broadcast (called the “interval”) have a major influence on battery life. If they’re not matched to the requirements of your use case, it will result in replacing batteries or entire beacons much earlier than otherwise necessary. 
Depending on the particulars of your use case, you may not need your beacons to broadcast at maximum strength or frequency. In fact, it’s likely that you don’t. But determining what you need before full-scale rollout will make fleet management easier and reduce costs of ownership. 

5 - Have you considered security concerns related to your beacons?

Can we just assume that you don’t want anyone besides yourself or someone in your organization to control your beacons? Right, we thought so. This means checking to be sure that all information handled by beacons is encrypted and no passwords are sent over the air. Also, look for the ability to program your beacons to “shuffle”, or change the identifying addresses and codes they use on a daily basis to prevent anyone from piggybacking or spoofing your device. 
For an extra measure of security, you should have beacons with a built-in software lock, to prevent anyone from directly accessing its memory. 
Security also means getting alerts when something goes wrong. If a beacon is low on power or has dropped off the grid altogether, you should have the ability to generate automated alerts to let you know that something needs your attention now. 

6 - How are you going to monitor and manage your beacons?

If you are planning a deployment consisting of hundred beacons or more, you need to make sure that your beacon infrastructure can be managed as easily as conditions allow. Being able to monitor their condition and manage them in bulk, rather than one device at a time, is a major time and money-saving convenience. 
For example, if one of the beacons is running low on battery power, or it hasn’t been seen for some time, or if you need to apply different configurations at once, you need to have a tool for this. Which would you rather do, physically make the rounds and inspect each beacon or bring everything up on a screen? 
Device and fleet management is very often overlooked as part of the cost of ownership for proximity solutions. You can imagine the investment in time involved in manually managing potentially hundreds of Bluetooth devices spread over a large area. The same idea applies to the matter of being able to update or change beacon settings remotely over-the-air. 
An infrastructure management tool solves a lot of these problems at a low cost. With the Kontakt.io Infrastructure Management subscription you can easily apply configurations, and update your beacons remotely, regardless of the physical setup of your deployment. Getting everything done at the touch of a button as opposed to going out and touching hundreds of beacons? The choice is up to you but it should be an easy one. 
The issue of a management tool is important—you can’t not have one. Without an infrastructure management service, you will need to develop your own. Depending on the scale of your operation, this may be impractical for a number of reasons. For reasons of cost and convenience, going with an all-in-one, full-service provider is typically your best bet. 
That should be enough to get you thinking about your own beacon deployment for now. Again, the point is to carefully consider the basics that shape the basic mission of your project, its design and the functionalities it needs to have. 
Learn more about Kontakt.io Infrastructure Management offering or Contact Sales.
Don’t forget to come back next week for another dose of six tips to enhance your location-based experience!


Click here to download a complete Beacon Buyer’s Guide.



We’ve covered the entry-level basics of what beacons are all about
in a previous post. This time, we’re diving a little deeper and focusing on the subject of how to choose the right hardware for your project. Specifically, we’re going to look at how the details of a given use case has a strong influence on what you need to consider when dealing with the huge amount of hardware choices.  
Making the right choice is easier when you can do a little preparation in the form of answering a few basic questions about what your beacon deployment is for and the environment where it will function. There are other factors that can influence your choice, like cost, but it often helps to work backwards from a simple idea—What do I need the beacons to do?
If you’re just starting the process of gathering information about setting up your own beacon deployment, don’t be intimidated by the surplus of information and technical details available. It may not seem so simple at the beginning, but taking it step by step and considering the basic elements of your own use case will help the hardware choices you have to make become much easier. Defining what you want your beacon network to do and understanding the factors that can influence how it functions will both help you select the right hardware and put you in a better position to manage the deployment once it goes live.

There is no one-size-fits-all

Your hardware choices are directly dependent on the requirements of your use case. It’s important to recognize that part of the reason there are so many choices when it comes to beacon hardware is the incredible number of applications for Bluetooth technology. Our goal here is to go over the most common factors that determine which hardware is best for which deployments and explain why one beacon is a better fit than another.
Before we dive in, though, let’s cover the difference between two terms that are sometimes confused. “Beacons” and “tags” are often used interchangeably, which is sometimes okay because they do the same thing. Other times, however, it’s important to distinguish between them because they fulfill their roles in different ways. 
The difference is that beacons don’t move and tags do. That’s it. They’re both Bluetooth low energy devices and they both emit a signal that is picked up and interpreted by other devices and applications. The distinction comes down to HOW they’re used. Beacons are typically placed on a wall or ceiling and used for applications like wayfinding or customer experience-oriented purposes. They stay in one place and interact with people or things that move around them. Tags, on the other hand, have a different form factor designed to move with people, like a card or wristband. They move around and interact with a device that stays in one place. The technology is the same, but they’re used in different ways and the separate names help to clarify the situation when one device is more appropriate for a particular use case.

What do you want to do?

As mentioned already, different use cases call for different hardware. Here are some of the most common use cases for beacon deployments and the most important features you need to consider for each one:
 
-Asset tracking

-People visibility

-Condition monitoring

-Customer experience

-Wayfinding / indoor navigation

Remember that once you’ve selected the Bluetooth hardware for your project, you can always buy a dev kit (usually a couple of units) and run a POC to make sure it delivers on what was promised before you purchase bigger quantities. A perfect fit with your requirements on the technical specifications doesn’t automatically mean that the real-world deployment will meet your expectations. Pay particular attention to the performance of the features you’re especially interested in. Test signal stability and battery consumption. See if the hardware can live up to your expectations in a real-world environment before you heading for the full deployment.

Want to know more?

If you would like to get into more of the specifics of how different types of beacons and tags are best suited for a variety of use cases and environments, you can read more in our new white paper, The Beacon Buyer’s Guide. It’s a great resource if you’re trying to decide what kind of beacon hardware to buy or just want to know more about the technology that makes them tick (even though beacons don’t tick…). Download it and learn everything from the basics of how beacons work to how different types are best for different jobs and everything in between. There’s also a handy chart showing which beacons in the Kontakt.io portfolio are best for different applications.
Click here to download a complete Beacon Buyer’s Guide

Backed by industry leading hardware, WiFi and Bluetooth LE are working together to drive mass adoption of IoT enterprise solutions.
 
When it comes to the future of wireless communication protocols, like WiFi and Bluetooth LE, the list of articles written on the topic appear in every major consumer tech site on the net. But for a CTO or CIO investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade an IT infrastructure, product roadmaps aren’t telling of the real-world obstacles involved in deploying location-based services and deciding which technologies should be used.
This article will focus on the relationship between WiFi and Bluetooth LE at present and how they’re being used in cooperation, rather than competition, to simplify enterprise IoT solutions.
 

WiFi and Bluetooth LE are allies not enemies

There was a time when it was useful to compare WiFi and Bluetooth LE for similar use cases, like asset tracking. Both technologies offer tags and access points. Similar installation. But where the difference between them became ever more visible was in two critical factors: cost and performance. At this stage, the industry has spoken and the future of asset tracking and condition monitoring is Bluetooth LE.
In this future scenario, it is useful to remember that WiFi and Bluetooth LE are not enemies but allies, playing distinct and important roles in the rollout of enterprise-grade solutions across industries. As the IoT matures, these protocols will be working closer than ever to enable more efficient, cost-effective, and interoperable location-based services at scale.
 
Every CTO should know the key ways WiFi and Bluetooth LE are simplifying the IoT before beginning their next location-based project.
 

Uniting Bluetooth LE Tags and WiFi Access Points

The rate of technological progress has created substantial cause for concern across industries, communities and everyday life. CTOs and business models are no exception. If we narrow in on the growing market of location-based services for a moment, like asset tracking, condition monitoring or personal safety, there are two general hardware components required for sending data and calculating location: transmitters and receivers.
The relationship between transmitters and receivers, often referred to as tags and access points, has naturally evolved overtime. I won’t delve into how we got where we are today in this article, but understand that WiFi and Bluetooth LE tags and access points have operated independent and often exclusive from one another until quite recently.
The trouble with this is that WiFi access points are ubiquitous. BLE access points are not. In order to deploy a BLE solution using BLE tags, it’s been necessary to install and maintain BLE access points alongside an existing WiFi infrastructure in a somewhat painful and redundant way. Thankfully the gradual production of WiFi access points that can also scan BLE by the likes of Meraki and Ruckus for example, has represented a noteworthy step towards eliminating this inconvenience altogether.
To put it in perspective, the transmitter becomes the only piece of hardware required to deploy an asset tracking solution. That’s pretty sweet!
 

The Great Expanse of location-based services

Now with recent news of an integration between Ruckus WiFi / BLE access points and Kontakt.io BLE tags, the door has been opened to a vast market of existing access point infrastructures that will soon begin supporting low-cost, high-performance BLE tags for myriad location-based services. Unsure if your WiFi infrastructure can support BLE? Ask us here.
WiFi and BLE scanning access points will soon become the norm, creating an enormous market for location-based services powered by Bluetooth LE. I’ll discuss this further in an upcoming post, but this means that the race to digitalize your business model has become easier and your industry more competitive.
So when you consider an update or expansion to your IT infrastructure, ensure your access points are capable of scanning for WiFi and BLE devices. This is an easy way to future-proof your organization for the coming of a more modern and connected world. Location data is and will continue to be an extremely valuable source of information in this world as it helps organizations improve processes and save money.
 

Agnostic platforms are the future of IoT

Open, device agnostic platforms are what the IoT is being built on. With the potential for billions of devices being brought online in the coming years, it’s only reasonable that access points and the software supporting them are dynamic and capable of supporting a range of wireless protocols in the process. WiFi and BLE in particular. That time is finally here.


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Due to their high reliability, user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness, Beacon-based technologies for Indoor Positioning and Navigation have emerged as the most popular among the vast variety of methods currently on the market.
Putting up Beacons at the venue is one of the key processes of an Indoor Positioning project. However, “putting up Beacons” may sound simple, though, there is more to it than just that and you will have to consider one thing or the other. The way you go about your Beacon infrastructure setup can either make or break your project’s success.
Therefore, we’d like to share our top 10 most important tips for your Beacon installation.
1. Beacon calculation
As a first step, before ordering Beacons, you should calculate the amount you will need for your installation. Ordering excess hardware is an unnecessary strain on your expenses. Installing more Beacons than are needed may even cause disruptions in your accuracy.
On the other hand, less isn’t always more either. Insufficient coverage of Beacons will also lead to inaccurate positioning results.
One of our latest developments, AGENT, allows you to simulate your installation, providing you with an accurate assessment of the number of Beacons you require.
2. Secure permission
In order to be able to install the Beacons inside the respective building, you will need a permit as well as IDs for all your on-site engineers. Make sure you get permission from the facility management or the security department well before the actual installation to avoid any potential security issues or being denied access to critical areas, causing delays of your project.
3. Safety first
Installing Beacons may not sound like risky work. Nevertheless, it is important to take precautions and be prepared, should anything go wrong or an emergency situation occurs.
Especially when doing the installation in buildings that are still under construction, you always have to wear gear such as safety vests and helmets. Also don’t forget to organize a ladder beforehand to reach high enough to mount the Beacons and wear comfortable footwear to ensure stable footing.
4. Location determination
When mounting the Beacons on the walls inside the building, you should carefully consider where to put them. In general, Beacons should be placed in the field of vision of mobile devices. Here are some simple rules you should follow:
Don’t put the Beacons on objects that could potentially block their signal
Leave enough space between the Beacons, approximately one every 8-10 meters
Place the Beacons in close proximity to the smartphone users. Don’t put them up too high on the wall, ideally 3-4 meters from the ground.
5. Adjust installation according to building type
On top of that, you will also have to take, what kind of building you are working with, into consideration. The one-size-fits-all approach, unfortunately, won’t work here.
Bigger, open spaces (e.g. exhibition halls or the central square of a shopping mall) often require more adjustments and fine tuning when it comes to Beacon positioning and signal strength. On the other hand, venues with clearly differentiated pathways (e.g. hospitals or office spaces) will usually be more straightforward. Therefore, keep in mind you need to plan your on-site activities accordingly.
6. Avoid signal disturbances
Certain materials and objects should be avoided in your Beacon installation, as they may cause a Bluetooth signal interference. Some of these signal-blocking materials are metal, concrete, but also objects such as microwaves or poorly shielded cables. Apple has created a list of potential sources of Bluetooth interferences for you to check.
7. Surface check
Always make sure the surface you are going to mount the Beacons on is clean, so they will stick to it well. If there’s dust or dirt on the wall, they won’t adhere properly and sooner or later the Beacons will come off, causing the whole Indoor Positioning System to fail. Therefore, simply use a towel to wipe the dust off before placing the Beacon. Also, definitely use high quality adhesive tape for the same reason.
8. Beacon Maintenance
Beacon batteries usually last around three years, before they need to be replaced. Depending on your industry and use case, the amount of Beacons installed may range from 50 for smaller installations to 1,500 Beacons for large event exhibitions.
Especially in the latter case, you will wish for a system to inform you exactly which Beacon needs to be replaced.
In order to avoid a situation where too many Beacons fail at once, risking a system crash, you should always keep track of your Beacons and know which ones are low on battery beforehand to make according arrangements proactively, i.e. order new Beacons.
Both indoo.rs and Kontakt.io provide Beacon Infrastructure Management systems, which allows you to keep track of each Beacon, including battery status and location inside the building, making it easy to maintain the setup.
9. Communication is key
From start to finish, one of the most essential aspects of a successful Beacon installation is communication. Continued consultation and feedback both internally and with external partners involved in the project is important to keep everyone up to date and avoid any potential unpleasant surprises upon arriving on site.
10. Let a professional help you
Setting up Beacons in and of itself may not be considered dangerous or difficult work. However, getting the setup right is crucial for the output quality you will get, e.g. for your Indoor Positioning solution, afterwards. So if you are new to this technology and don’t feel confident enough doing it on your own, you might want to consider having a professional do the complete setup for you efficiently and with top quality results.

Silvia Pichler is a Marketing Manager at indoo.rs, a leading provider of Indoor Positioning and Mobile Wayfinding solutions. Among their clients are big players such as San Francisco Airport, Amtrak and Kaleida Health. The company is also providing professional services that include the installation of Beacons and the full implementation of an Indoor Positioning System.
[Updated for 2020]
[Updated for 2020]