A global innovator of indoor location services, Kontakt.io leverages Bluetooth® beacon technology to help better connect people, locations, and things to increase customer satisfaction, save costs, and improve productivity and safety. Serving more than 2,000 customers across diverse sizes and industries, Kontakt.io is now working on solutions that will support the safe reopening of businesses around the world.

Rom Eizenberg, CRO at Kontakt.io, highlights the benefit Bluetooth location services solutions, such contact tracing, will be able to provide business as reopening initiatives continue throughout the pandemic.

“Bluetooth® technology is the go-to choice for solutions aimed at facilitating the reopening of public venues for a number of reasons. Bluetooth technology’s unique combination of capabilities helps it to deliver a value proposition unmatched by any other medium — open standards, low energy, low cost, and very wide adaptation.”
– Rom Eizenberg, Kontakt.io

Q&A with Rom Eizenberg

What challenges must large venues, such as offices, conference centers, and retail stores, face and address in order to safely reopen in a post-COVID-19 world?

I think we’re looking at three key challenges here. First, of course, is ensuring workplace safety to the greatest extent possible. Without giving everyone the confidence that everything possible is being done, it will be very difficult to really start making progress towards safe reopening. Next is the challenge of addressing business continuity and delivering a degree of flexibility that will allow businesses to continue to operate safely under changing circumstances. Last is the frustrating lack of testing kits. Without sufficient supplies in the places where they are needed, it’s difficult to get the best data possible on the extent of the problem while making it possible for those not infected by COVID-19 to feel safe in knowing those around them, especially in professional environments, have also been cleared.

For things like larger venues, there is technology that can help, but it’s important to first understand how its deployment combats the spread of COVID-19. Generally speaking, we can divide the technologies into two categories: those that help in maintaining social distancing and those that focus on contact tracing.

With social distancing, it’s obviously about helping to maintain a safe distance between people to reduce the risk of viral transmission. The common rule of thumb is six feet or two meters apart, a distance that can be monitored by location technology. Contact tracing, on the other hand, is used to identify those who have been in close contact with an infected individual and use that information to possibly quarantine them or monitor their condition. This can be fairly labor intensive, generally requiring trained personnel who can get lists of identified persons, contact those people, and work with them to establish how significant the exposure risk was.

We’re seeing that a lot of businesses are reacting to the crisis by quickly installing these technologies to help them reopen or stay open. Often, they’re combining social distancing, contact-tracing strategies, and room-occupancy monitoring for the best possible coverage. 

To help businesses reopen, what they are missing is Bluetooth® technology to help them make sense and meaning out of the environment.

What role will technology play in reopening large public venues and buildings? 

We see that IoT and location services are no longer nice-to-haves but a necessity. In many cases, corporate offices, hospitals, schools, factories, etc. already have a Wi-Fi infrastructure installed; these new ones, very often, already have Bluetooth® access built-in, which allows for quick Bluetooth solution implementation. So, we know that the technology is already there and that many businesses are already ready to introduce location services, but they are not aware of the fact that every day they are generating valuable data they don’t have access to. To help businesses reopen, what they are missing is Bluetooth technology to help them make sense and meaning out of the environment.

We know that implementing location services is crucial when it comes to creating a better experience and a safer and more efficient environment in your venue. We need to understand that location services are not a cure for COVID-19, but they strongly support the reopening phases by monitoring interactions, sanitization, and giving employees and visitors confidence to stay within a venue whether it’s a museum, school, or office space.

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“Bluetooth® LE has joined the elite group of standard technologies that we simply expect in every workspace, like free Wi-Fi or even air conditioning. Any solution that can deliver on the promise of safe reopening will inevitably be based on Bluetooth technology.”
– Rom Eizenberg, Kontakt.io

How can you use Bluetooth enabled solutions to reopen safely?

Contact tracing can be used to monitor live and historical interaction between visitors or employees and others. In some circumstances, this can substitute for daily testing, which can be very expensive. Location data can also be used to make decisions about cleaning and sanitization practices, ensuring that areas in need of attention are taken care of as quickly as possible. The same data can minimize visitor time in particular places or generate alerts when a certain number of visitors is exceeded. More help comes from the fact that contactless access can be enabled through the use of smart badges to grant access to certain areas.

We believe that Bluetooth® technology delivers a unique value proposition that makes it a choice for the majority of location and IoT services: open standards, low energy, low cost, widely adopted, etc.

Many Wi-Fi infrastructures have the capability to become Bluetooth technology aware with the simple and low-cost implementation of Bluetooth gateways that bridge the connection gap between tags, Bluetooth devices, and Wi-Fi access points. The majority of new Wi-Fi infrastructures already have built-in Bluetooth scanning technology, which allows customers to quickly and easily install location services solutions, such as devices that support contact tracing.

We believe that Bluetooth® technology delivers a unique value proposition that makes it a choice for the majority of location and IoT services: open standards, low energy, low cost, widely adopted, etc.

Can you share the other ways in which Bluetooth technology can play a role in helping public venues and buildings reopen safely?

When it comes to contact tracing it’s worth mentioning that it is not just about locating people, it’s about monitoring movement-pattern tracing in real time, understanding which areas are the most crowded, and identifying areas that pose the highest risk for becoming infected. Once you have a Bluetooth® technology compliant infrastructure, you can then install various safety-related solutions in your facility, such as sanitization tracking, indoor navigation, visitor-flow monitoring, and room-level occupancy. These tools combine to form a very effective strategy for ensuring the safest possible reopening.

What benefits will this technology bring to our ability to reopen public venues, offices, etc.?

Essentially, the benefits can be organized into a few categories: safety, visitor experience, employee experience, engagement, and productivity. Still, the important thing to understand is that the sooner these solutions are implemented, the sooner and more safely we can all get back to work. Waiting until another emergency happens is too late.

Location services, such as exposure notification and contact tracing, give us visibility into population location patterns and interactions. But, most importantly, it gives us data and insights into what’s happening within workplaces so that business owners can not only assure employees that they are working in a safe workplace but also assure customers that their business can operate effectively, even during the new normal.

Kontakt.io works with leading Wi-Fi vendors, allowing hospitals, schools, and factories to use the infrastructure they already have in place to quickly roll out Bluetooth® based solutions. This technology provides access to unlimited solutions that can be deployed within the same infrastructure for different purposes: safety, security, employee and visitor experience, and more.

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