Fathom, a new business unit of Rx Networks, is looking to redefine the beacon and IoT space with the launch of its Fathom suite of products, which comprise a hardware and software system designed to address the challenges of managing large-scale beacon deployments. The products were on show at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
The Fathom Hub transforms existing, stand-alone Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons into a managed proximity network, reporting on the location and status of all beacons in the coverage area. If beacons are moved, lost, or if the battery runs low, an alert is triggered and updates are displayed in the cloud-based Fathom Control panel in real-time.
Additionally, Fathom renders valuable location data, derived from nearby BLE devices, such as wearables and smartphones, to further improve customer engagement, resource monitoring and analytics.
ABI Research is predicting that, by 2020, shipments of BLE beacons will exceed 400 million. These battery-operated Bluetooth devices are typically used to trigger an event on a mobile device, such as sending a notification to a user when they are within the beacon’s range. However, the challenge with current beacons is being able to reliably locate and manage them, a problem compounded when you have hundreds or even thousands deployed.
Guylain Roy-MacHabée, president and CEO, Rx Networks, said: “With ten years’ experience and a billion mobile devices relying on our core positioning technologies, we understand location. And after three years of research and development, we are proud to launch our new business unit, Fathom.
“We are confident Fathom will solve a very real and very painful problem for a lot of companies deploying beacons: ease of operation and location-context integrity. These are the very same challenges facing the IoT industry at large, albeit potentially dealing with billions rather than millions of devices.”
Fathom can locate, monitor and manage any BLE beacon and thus preserves investments in existing beacon deployments. Fathom is also extensible through its data and service Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), enabling custom data analytics and integration with other software applications.
The insights derived from Fathom data are of interest in several markets where locating assets or understanding customer behaviour is desired. For example, hospitals can quickly locate essential equipment and staff and marketing teams can identify popular aisles in retail environments to understand how consumers are interacting with a bricks and mortar store – revealing the ‘Intelligence of Things’.
Preliminary trials were conducted in the retail and transportation industries last year, with further trials now scheduled in the healthcare and entertainment sectors.
Fathom’s family of products will be available for purchase worldwide in Q2 2016.