Mister Beacon Episode #26
Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) - BluVisionJanuary 24, 2017
Bluetooth Beacon powered Real Time Location Systems are being used to monitor and locate assets. This is an important part of the emergence of Industrial IoT. John Sailer, BluVision's COO explains RTLS, how BluVision's technology is being used in manufacturing and warehouse environments, their work with Google's Waze, and how BluVision funded growth that allowed them to sell millions of beacons, culminating in their recent acquisition by HID.
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John Sailer 00:04
We're about being a disruptive leader in what we call asset tracking after performance and asset health.
Steve Statler 00:10
And when you have that architecture, which is just a very obvious, simple setup, suddenly, the vendors collapse, and it becomes like this. Where did everyone go? I've got 377 companies in this ecosystem, right? And there are other people in this space. But I think that's to me, if I'm trying to figure out what Who should I call, then clearly, you've got to be on the list.
John Sailer 00:35
We've shipped a million beacons in the prior 12 months. And assume that we've shipped, you know, several times that.
Steve Statler 00:44
Real time view of where everything is people, tools, raw materials, finished product. And this is, I mean, for manufacturing, to me, this is just a profound, huge leap forward in being able to be more efficient, and to do a whole bunch of really interesting things.
John Sailer 01:04
So what Waze is actually doing is pulling beacons inside those tunnels to help with kind of dead reckoning so that even though you don't have access to a cell signal, you can you know, as that app goes by that, that beacon, you're directing, going, I'm here now, before you had BLE before, you had low cost sensors, before you had these gateway devices, right? There'd be no way to go monitor all 100 or 1000 motors, right.
You're listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Beacosystem with Steve Statler.
Steve Statler 01:44
Hello, and welcome to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ecosystem. My name is Steve Statler of Statler Consulting, and he joined our podcast for location aware solution designers. Please subscribe and send us any questions that you have or anyone that you want us to interview. This week, we are interviewing the Chief Operating Officer of BluVision, John Sailer. So John, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks. I am really pleased to get you guys on board. What you are doing is close to my own heart at the moment, I think you guys have really led the way in terms of beacons in the industrial internet of things for manufacturing asset tracking. So this is a hot area yes, we're seeing other great companies start to gravitate in this direction. And I think there's a good reason for it. It's it's it's an area where there's just a great ROI for customers so we can help our customers make money with this technology. And also, if you're in the business of making beacons, then it's a great way of selling lots of beacons. So it's very timely, what I would like to cover with you is let's talk about manufacturing, and industrial IoT kind of use cases, love to hear whatever you can say about what you've been doing with Google with Waze. That's kind of fascinating. And I think it's very helpful for all of us in the industry to be able to point to that, and you've recently been acquired. So we'll talk about the acquisition. But before we go into all of that, can you just explain a little bit about what you do at BluVision?
John Sailer 03:18
Sure. So So you know, my role of BluVision, I as you mentioned, I'm the Chief Operating Officer. And really, my focus is kind of threefold. One is driving revenue in the company. The second is which goes hand in hand, which is kind of the branding and the positioning within the industry. You know, the marketing Mark comm product marketing, and a third is all the fulfillment and distribution. So I kind of run the first half or I guess, the front half of the company, as we would say, and then our CTO, Matt Johnson runs the back half of the company. And then we roll up into our CTO and Founder Jimmy Bucha.
Steve Statler 03:52
Yeah, I met Jimmy, I think it was at a Bluetooth conference ages ago, in the days when the kind of the beacon vendors were hardly ever mentioned. And now we're just kind of a regular staple of that conference. In fact, I'm gonna be moderating a panel at the next Bluetooth conference coming up in March Santa Clara Convention Center, we're going to be talking about venues. And of course, you do have beacons in in venues, you've got customers that are airports. What I would like to do is kind of help people figure out where BlueVision fits versus everyone else. I was just looking at proximate before we got on 377 vendors in that database of companies in our space. And obviously, you know, what I do regularly is I kind of promote the book that beacon technologies which I wrote with a dozen other folks that specialize in this area, and BlueVision is actually listed in my list of notable vendors and we have a bunch of criteria that helps people sift through who does what. Tell us what Is it that distinguishes BlueVision from some of those other hundreds of vendors in this space?
John Sailer 05:05
Our strategy is, you know, we're about being a disruptive leader in what we call asset tracking, asset performance and asset health. And so really focusing on industrial workplace environments. Tangentially, you know, we do do some things in retail, we do do some things in healthcare, but primarily through partners, you know, because we want to be very focused, and we don't want to be this company that has a cloud that doesn't do anything or company that does everything we want to be focused on where it is that we bring value, and that we're, we're, we're differentiated. And we believe it's in, you know, the location of an asset or person, right, understanding where that person is either in a real time, very highly accurate sense, or in a proximity sense, we want to be, you know, our beacons all have sensors on them, ambient temperature, or excuse me, ambient lights, calibrated temperature, a three axis accelerometer and magnetometer. And so, you know, not only can we, you know, send out BLE signals, you know, to interact with an iPhone or an Android phone, but we're actually able to send payload type of data. And so by sending that payload type of data, you know, that's why we're able to do, you know, location, that's why we're able to do you know, health and for us, like health could be understand the vibration of a motor and understand the temperature of that motor. So if we understand the vibration at a very high hertz rate, and we understand the temperature at a very calibrated, you know, accurately calibrated rate, we can start to understand what's the help with that motor. Okay. And since we also have these, you know, sensors, we can we can track things like how many times the door opens in a cooler, whether it's an ice cream cooler, or soda cooler or anything else. So we can start to approximate how many you know, what's that? What's that? How, you know, how many times are people vent? How many times is that cooler vending product? versus how many times is that cooler being restocked? Right? So there's a lot of examples that kind of do our ecosystem that we can go support, but it still always comes back to asset location, asset performance and asset health. And again, in industrial and workplace environments.
Steve Statler 07:14
I think that's, that's a good summary. And actually, you know, I think people may still be saying, well, okay, that's just where they've decided to focus. But there are real product implications of what you just said. And it really came home to me I was doing one of our clients is a is a manufacturer, and they want to track pallets in the manufacturing floor. And I'm like, well, there's hundreds of choices, we're gonna have to spend a bunch of time sifting through these. And actually, there aren't hundreds of choices, because as soon as you take the smart, we're not going to attach a smartphone to every pallet, that would be ridiculous right to do is that is one of your beacons. And we might attach one of these. And then the receiver that we put is not going to be a phone either, which generally a lot of these algorithms that are focused on finding someone in an airport you're tracking, you're basically tracking that phone, and you're using the phone to calculate the location. And in this case, I've got one of your blue fi receipt, you're basically going to be using one of these in one of these, and there's no phone involved in it at all. And when you have that architecture, which is just a very obvious, simple setup, suddenly, the vendors collapse. And it becomes like this. Well, Where did everyone go? I thought there were 377 companies in this ecosystem. And there are other people in this space. But I think that's to me, if I'm trying to figure out well, who should I call, then clearly, you got to be on the list, because you guys have had these receivers for for some time. Tell us a little bit about the history. And I've got another one of your products here, which Jimmy gave me which is one of these stick and find things. Okay, what's what's the relationship between BlueVision and stick and find?
John Sailer 09:06
What the first step Steve, I gotta tell you that I love that you brought your own props. And I'll talk about the blue flags as well, because this is actually we call these the the eyes and the years of our solution, and I'll go into that. But to answer your question, sick and find was really kind of, you know, if you think about the ecosystem of people trying to track their keys or their pets or anything else, and there are a couple of companies out there today that do that, and it's very much of a b2c products. And blue second find was actually the first company that actually had the capability to do B b2c tracking. And basically the founder, you know, Jimmy and his partners, you know, they in 2012, I believe crowdfunded, you know, second five, and you know, basically with that context in mind, just the ability to go track you know, track keys, track your dog track, your cat track, you know, whatever you Want to go track? You know, your phone, or you know, or your remote control, and really using a smartphone app, you know, in conjunction with that beacon to be able to go find that products. And so, you know, in 2014, I think what those guys realized is, while this b2c markets interesting, there's a huge amount of applicability of using BLE to go track items in more of a b2b environment. And so really, they you know, they switched focus, and basically started, you know, a blue vision to go in and solve these very difficult, highly scalable b2b problem. So for us today, you know, simplifying really is still when we do have some customers that continue to buy that form factor. But for us today, it's really more of a form factor, a small beacon form factor, as opposed to a company focusing on b2c.
Steve Statler 10:53
Yeah, makes sense. So, basically, more margins, potentially, in enterprise solutions. And but but you were doing the first high volume, asset tracking use case, and it's still the one that we use. If you sort of meeting someone for the first time and thinks about Bluetooth and headsets, then it's a great way of getting people to kind of wrap their heads around it. So it's kind of I understand the logical progression. Can you give us a sense of how big you guys are? I know, you just got bought, we'll talk about that in a minute. But how large is the company people beacons shipped? That sort of thing? What can you say?
John Sailer 11:32
Yeah, I mean, I can certainly talk around a couple of those dimensions. I mean, first off, if you go to our corporate LinkedIn page, today, you'll see that we are we have job openings for probably 10 people. So we are, you know, you know, up until the acquisition, by HIV, which such a great fit for us in a lot of synergies. Up until that point, it was a bootstrap company that was really funded based on some of the, you know, the second fund profits, as well, as you know, some of our large customers, you know, such as Google, such as Coca Cola, you know, but we were that startup. So we, you know, get in 2030 people, very much of a development oriented company, you know, it this is, this is kind of an interesting story in the fact that, you know, Jimmy basically, again, I think, you know, retrospect, it was clearly the right way to do right way to go hired up to this a incredible staff of smart engineers around location around cloud around hardware. And that's kind of where those, you know, those a lot of those first 2025 30 People came from, you know, and then as we rolled into 2015, you know, we launched our first Oculus product, and we launched it at CES last year. And at that point, you know, we really started then to start hiring salespeople. So right now, we're still in that 20 to 30 range, we expect that, you know, given the the growth that we're expecting, will probably be double that by the end of this year, you know, so I think that, you know, it still will always be a very technology oriented company, really, to support this roadmap into the future. Because I think like, you know, if you think about where the future is going, and you think about, you know, you mentioned, you know, a Bluetooth five, I mean, we're doing things around, you know, outdoor location, we're doing things around kind of other, you know, the ability to kind of do RTLs. Without calibration, we're doing a lot of interesting things that are on our roadmap. And the way that we're going to go continue to set up people and go drive value for our company and for HIV and for our users, is to continue to lead the technology roadmap and continue to be the guys that are thought leaders. So a lot of very strong company now, a lot of growth. So that's one way to go answer your question. I think the second way to go into your question is, if you kind of look out at what the analysts are saying, you know, in in 2013, there's an analyst report that said, we've shipped a million beacons in the prior 12 months, and assume that we've shipped, you know, several times that's in that we, you know, given our kind of growth organically as well as our growth through HRV. You could probably do that our our expectations are a lot of hardware and a lot of, you know, a lot of services being delivered in 2017 and beyond.
Steve Statler 14:42
So I think when I first spoke to Jimmy, you all of the funding had been pretty much friends family and and organic growth, and he was kind of musing about whether to do a funding round. Did you guys have to do that? Did you ever go out and raise a bunch of capital?
John Sailer 14:59
No. So yeah. So, again, if you've got kind of look maybe 12 months ago, we knew that, you know, we now had a product direction with RTLs, we, you know, we had a couple of great customers. You know, and so we were kind of at that point that said, what is the right way for BlueVision to grow. And so we did talk to several of the VCs and several of them that you would probably know, we also talked to a lot of large corporations, you know, kind of a lot of the largest size and large lot of the large technology providers. And, you know, we, as a company made the decision probably in June of last year, that we thought the right way for us to go grow was not going through an a round B, round C round type of environment. But we waited to go find the right acquirer for us that they had synergies from a product perspective, be had, you know, a global sales and distribution channel and see what kind of global support. And so as we looked at our options, we clearly thought that, you know, that going down, that route of being acquired was the right one for us. Because our goal is was never to go and cash out, or the goal was never to, you know, be this niche provider. Our goal was and continues to be to be the leader in disruptive next generation RTLs solutions. And so, you know, we went through the process that most companies who are looking to be acquired go through, we got to, you know, let's say, you know, late summer, early fall last year, and kind of have all the opportunities that we had to be acquired, we just saw HIV was just such a great choice for us. Again, for the reasons I mentioned, a lot of product synergies, both from a ID technology perspective, as well as from a access control perspective, you know, great global brand, great global presence, sales, distribution, and support, and so became a no brainer for us.
Steve Statler 16:51
So they've got a big sales force. So how big is that Salesforce?
John Sailer 16:54
So, so their sales force and their sales methodology, I think a lot through channels and bars, okay. That's very much what our sales strategy as well as because if you think about what we do, when you think about our ecosystem of blue fires, and beacons and our cloud, there's a lot of different use cases, you know, in manufacturing, in, you know, workplace environments, in distribution, you know, transportation, as well as in healthcare and retail. And so, the beauty of BlueVision is our eco system, and our infrastructure can go support all of these environments. And so, you know, working I was just saying, so working with, you know, bars and channels, who might want to go do you know, kind of specific rules, specific UI specific data structures for that vertical makes a lot of sense. So we do have a direct sales team that were growing, that direct sales team that was really focusing on a handful of strategic clients. And really, we're starting to work with a lot of channels, bars, resellers, who are basically either reselling or again, kind of developing on top of bar solutions to go support a specific market need. And that's very similar to what H IDs strategy is generally, and so they're getting even a lot of synergies at that level.
Steve Statler 18:15
So what would a channel partner what the H IDs channel partners sell at the moment, it's access control. So these are the like the RFID cards and the readers and that stuff.
John Sailer 18:26
Um, you know, HIV has a lot of kind of a lot of different products. You know, but there are two main there are two main focuses are your right access control, and IV technology. So they do a lot of passive RFID tags, a lot of NFC products. But the way that people always know HIV is people ask me, Well, who is HIV? I go, Well, do you need a access card to get into your building? And people go, Oh, yeah, I do. And I go, Well, look at that access card, maybe some of the time it's HIV, right. And even in where blue business located, you know, in the building where we have space to get in our building, we need HIV access control. So that's how everybody knows HIV. HIV is doing some very interesting things, though, around I trusted that tags, you know, and just IV technologies in general.
Steve Statler 19:22
So should we expect to see a lot of product integration between what they do and what you do? I think that's the expectation. Okay. And are there Did they already have tags that have Bluetooth thing because I think you've got both you've got tags with Bluetooth and RFID.
John Sailer 19:37
You know, so if you think about it, just so you know, I brought my own props as well. Alright. you'd hope I would have some right if you think about about this card. So this card has both a little h ID logo as well as a blue a BlueVision logo. Yeah, we actually manufacture this card and this card basically for us is Very similar to one of our beacons, yeah, it does BLE, it's IP 67 waterproof, it has accelerometer, magnetometer, you know, ambient light and temperature. And what we don't have is we don't have a, you know, an NFC or an RFID chip in here. So what we actually did even before we started, even before he acquired us, is we started working with HIV so that we could put one of their iCLASS or CE OS, what they call a disc in here. And so this badge can be dual purpose, this badge can get you into the door, you know, through an access and HIV access control. But then once you're in that door, it can go do that proximity location, or that RTLs.
Steve Statler 20:42
Inside that building, okay, or a factory floor, it can be used for safety. Am I in a zone near a dangerous machine where I haven't been trained to operate and stuff? Absolutely, absolutely. So you've used RFID a few times, many people will know what that means, but many won't. Can you give us a quick definition? It's not RFID RTLs?
John Sailer 21:04
RTLs, right. It's one of those things where, you know, one of these days, you'll get that press release from, you know, Webster's Dictionary saying that they included RTLs standard definitions. I mean, you know, the literal, you know, the literal definition is real time location services, right, or real time location system, depending on who you talk to. But it's funny, because a lot of people when you talk about RTLs, a lot of people assume that RFID is our TLS, the way that we look at our TLS is the notion of understanding in real time, where a person or an asset, right, someone that either an asset that has a beacon or person that's wearing an ID card, you know where they are in real time. And for us, that translates into latitude longitude, what's the true latitude and longitude of that thing? And for us, we can get down to a meter or sub one meter of RTLs. That's how we look at it. But again, a lot of people groups are, you know, RFID has an RTLs product where for me, I know, that's really not our TLS. What RFID does is it will, it will let you know, if someone passes, you know, through a choke point, passed by an antenna, you know, on a, you know, a reader etc.
Steve Statler 22:19
Yeah, that's a good explanation. And I think, I think it's actually what we're offering in the industrial manufacturing area is quite profound. Because up until now, I mean, there's obviously a lot of different technologies. So I'm going to generalize, but generally speaking, if you wanted to know where the pallets were, you know, in a warehouse, you'd have to have someone going around with a scanner, or you'd have to have choke points that would measure the movement of people. And if you are asking people to scan something, sometimes they don't, so stuff gets lost. Whereas what we can do with Bluetooth beacon enabled RFID is give people real time view of where everything is people tools, raw materials, finished product. And this is I mean for manufacturing, to me, this is just a profound, huge leap forward in being able to be more efficient, and to do a whole bunch of really interesting things, this regulatory compliance safety. And so I think we're starting to see some early adopters that I, anyway, I'm are all here, I want to just go back and confirm, you know, what your view is? What is it that's driving your business? So so the original counterpart of the bootstrap was sticking fine. What's the revenue for you guys? And what will what do you expect to change over the next year?
John Sailer 23:46
Sure. So good question. I mean, you know, it's interesting, right, because our, you know, our, we have three main business lines, if you will, are three main SAS services that we, that we deploy, one is our is our TLS. One is what we call pls to approximately location services. And the third is condition monitoring, which is, as I mentioned it putting a a central beacon on a piece of equipment and being able to tell the health of that equipment. So we've been rolling those things out, we're starting to get a lot of traction across all three of them with some, you know, large global 100 and fortune 100 companies. I will tell you, though, even we're just kind of interesting company in the fact that we are very much around our our RTLs, pls and condition monitoring technologies. We just happen to be saddled with the fact that we're probably also the best beacon manufacturer out there. And the reason I say that is, again, we have onboard sensors, the same as Ip 67. You know, it supports a very long battery life. We're the guys that know both, you know, iBeacon and Eddystone. Very well, right. So there's just a lot of reasons, you know, we control our manufacturers Train, right, and we control our supply chain. So so we are generally acknowledged. And again, we've been acknowledged a couple of years in a row by a by an by various analysts as being kind of one of the leaders in, in hardware. And so we will continue to go sell hardware as a standalone solution, because people are buying hardware, you know, across industries, whether it's retail, healthcare, you know, industrial, you know, a telecom, etc. So that will always be a revenue stream for us. Because we have the best product out there, that's probably driven our our revenue historically. But obviously, as we continue to go grow RTLs pls and condition monitoring business, you know, those are obviously SAS based business on a, you know, kind of a reoccurring revenue stream, you know, SAS base sale. So I think, you know, as you see us continuing to grow our Grow email given, we'll always have some hardware sales, and we'd like that, because getting we are leaders there. But, you know, I think the majority of our growth will be growth to solving these really hard business problems around, you know, location, performance and health of an asset are first up.
Steve Statler 26:13
So what where do you draw the line, so it's going to be in the SAS and the services space, not that the hardware is going away, it's the foundation for that. But that's a huge space. And one of the things that I think is a challenge for companies that are pursuing that strategy is clearly demarcating what they're going to do versus what their partners are going to do. Because if you don't do that, then you scare off the potential partners, and you end up being at a siloed vendor, and you can't solve every problem. So I think there's other vendors, I can think of that just have a minimal amount of cloud stuff. And they've done very well, because partners now these guys aren't going to compete with me. So what can you say to draw the lines between what you do and what you don't intend to do? And where are you looking for partners? And where have you decided no, this is part of the bundle, it's just going to be simpler if we are a one stop shop for for these requirements.
John Sailer 27:12
So again, I go back to it's the specific requirements of an industry. It's a specific requirements that accompany how does that company go and deploy it? What are the business rules? What's the UI? What's the big data solution? Right? Those are things that we really don't do, we can do that we do do them for some smaller customers. But fundamentally, you know, our cloud, which is called Blue Zone, you can access it at Blue zone.io. It's API driven, meaning that, you know, we expose all of our API's to developers to partners, right, because what we want them to do is, again, really understand the business problem that they're trying to solve, it's very easy to go say, well, it's it's real time location, or, or approximate location, or it's, you know, condition monitoring. But that still doesn't necessarily take into account the processes, the specific business rules that a individual company may have. And so what our partners are really good at is understanding that environments, right, being able to take our technology and being able to go build, again, whether it's a UI, right, whether it's integration into an ERP system, like SAP or Oracle, whether its integration into an MES system, whether it's integration to big data, like Splunk, whether it's again, it's all of those types of things, that, you know, we see our partners doing very well, as well as, you know, the the project management as well as the implementation of those things. So we so if you if you kind of fast forward a couple years, where I really see BlueVision playing is, you know, kind of this, this, this company that's really building out the capabilities from a feature function of the solution, but not building out the specific rules for specific industry or a UI for a specific company, or kind of a big data schema.
Steve Statler 29:08
That's great. That answer your question. Did I want to just ask you a question about this condition monitoring thing, because the certain verticals that just appealed to me, I find them interesting airports are one just because of the massive volume. But breweries are another for reasons that may be obvious to you. And I've been, I can either confirm or deny that. So I want to figure out is there an opportunity for beacons and breweries because this kind of gets to a serious point, which is, I think they've got condition monitoring pretty well wrapped up. You look at that. Some of the I mean, San Diego has got 100 breweries, and I was at Al Smith last week, and they are just a it's one of the world's best beers Speedway stout. And they've invested in this incredible facility, and they've got this like German thing, and it's instrumented. They know exactly the state of every temperature variation and flow and everything. So I couldn't find any opportunities to stick a beacon on the industrial equipment. Where are you seeing this condition monitoring opportunity? And do you see any opportunities in?
John Sailer 30:22
Yeah, so I would disagree with you in the fact that it and we're in, obviously, you know, CPG companies, we're, we're also in industrial manufacturing companies with our condition monitoring solution today. And fundamentally, what you see happening is, and let's, let's say your brewery example. 90% of those motors, are running the conveyors, right, they're running, you have specific pieces of equipment, what what most condition monitoring, and they're one horsepower, they're five horsepower, they're 20 horsepower motors, right? They're what, what most companies think of condition monitoring is the ability to go monitor those 10 or 15, you know, very critical motors, you know, might be 500 horsepower, 1000 horsepower, and they're typically wired solutions. Meanwhile, most of those locations, including your breweries, have hundreds if not 1000s, of one 510 20 horsepower motors, that basically they've had for 20 years that been amortized down to no value, right? That they want to keep running. But there's no way to monitor those things have fixed efficiently cost up in a cost effective manner. Right. So what we're able to do is you're gonna, we're solving a problem, that's been a big problem, but technology has enabled us to go solve it. So before you had BLE, Before, you had low cost sensors, before you had these gateway devices, right, there'd be no way to go monitor all 100 or 1000 motors, right, because while the you know, the the motor manufacturers are all building in diagnostic tools into their motors, that's not what most plant manufacturers, plant managers wants, right? They don't want to be tied down to one brand, they don't want to have to spend, you know, $5,000 on a motor, they want to be able to go in and take an off the shelf motor, that is that they can go use any any five horsepower motor component. So we're hardware agnostic, we're very easy to implement, you know, you basically go to take this, this beacon use literally stick it on the motor, that beacon then is is already, you know, that's that that vibration and temperature information basically is, is being transmitted through to our cloud through our blue fires. So very little infrastructure, literally, within a matter of, you know, one to two days, you can have an entire factory, you know, set up to to monitor those one 510 20 horsepower motors.
Steve Statler 33:01
Okay, that makes sense. So especially if you've got a legacy, if you've got commodity kits there, then that's a sweet spot. And I think there's a powerful message in terms of being cost effective, get allowing people to be independent of the established independence and not get sucked into buying an overpriced motor, because it's all a bunch of proprietary monitoring.
John Sailer 33:23
So real quick, just add to that. And this is not our customer. But you know, kind of a short anecdotal story, one of the large transport, you know, freight transportation companies, again, has 510 1000 motors, he buys his motors off Amazon, he buys his motors off eBay, right, because again, his thing is that I don't want the fanciest thing out there, I want the lowest cost motor out there, that is going to go solve my problem. Right? Because, you know, they're everybody's trying to go and reduce, you know, reduce their capital costs, right? I mean, you know, if you went to the capital budgeting committee and said, Hey, this month, I gotta go buy 1000 motors, and they're going to cost $1,000 apiece because they have all these onboard diagnostics You know, chances are that's not going to that chances are that is even a procurement guys the contract guys are gonna go have a hard look as to whether that's what he really needs. Right? Right. What they you know, because again, what they really want is lowest price motor, you know, and the ability to go Understand, understand, you know, how to go and monitor the condition of that motor, and that typically is going to be you know, the type of solution.
Steve Statler 34:49
Pretty good. Well, real quick is that we've got so many questions I want to ask you and we're running short on time, but tell us what you name drop Coke, which is fantastic. What generally soft drink manufacturers using beacons for?
John Sailer 35:04
Yes, so, um, I mean, when you think about soft drink manufacturers, you know what you're really talking about as a global supply chain. Right? You're talking about the the notion of the manufacturing, you're talking about the notion of the distribution, you're talking about, you know, the consumer facing capabilities, right, all of those things, there's hundreds of use cases. And so what we're seeing, and it's not just from Coke, it's from kind of all of those CPG. Guys, it's the notion of being able to understand, are their manufacturing lines working? You know, are they do they have problems with their motors? You know, where's the product? Is it you know, is in the warehouse? Is it not in a warehouse? You know, you know, what's the transportation look like from a cold chain perspective, right? Again, if you think about what we do, you know, since this does accurate temperature to two tenths of a degree Celsius, if you think about the United States, you've got the safe food Transportation Act, meaning that cold food manufacturers need to be able to go have an audit trail of the temperature of that food throughout the supply chain, you can go put what it is on a pallet. And you can understand you can monitor that temperature all the way through that supply chain, then when you think about the distribution, whether it's through a cooler, whether it's retail, you can start thinking about things like what's the health of that cooler, you can start to think about the classic retail use case of proximity marketing and consumer engagement. So I look at, at, you know, the CPG as just being one very complex supply chain with a lot of different use cases. And I think if you talk to four or five of those CPG, guys, they may all have different starting points. But I think, you know, like manufacturing, and whole, they're all very interested in how they can go deploy this very low cost technology, right to go solve some of these very expensive problems.
Steve Statler 37:04
You mentioned proximity, we've been talking about location, help us draw a distinction between the his two things presence, proximity versus location, and how is your business addressing those? Are you seeing people? Is there a big demand for location? Or is basically presence and proximity? Good enough?
John Sailer 37:27
Yeah, good question. Um, I think I think the market itself is trying to figure that out. And companies themselves are trying to figure it out. We often get companies coming in and we go, what type of backers are you looking for? And fundamentally, everybody says, I want one meter accuracy. Yeah. Right. And the reality is, most you know, in most environments, you don't need one meter. Actually, there clearly, are some that you do. But for instance, you know, if you work with a, you know, a airline or, you know, airplane manufacturer, right, they have maybe a dozen, repairing their back to back to back to back. And each one of those hangars may go and be able to support, you know, different airframes, right? You know, whether it's different airframes within the same family or different friends from different manufacturers, each of those airframes takes different scaffoldings take different ladders take different, you know, torque converters, torque wrenches, what have you. And the problem is when you're thinking about and, you know, a situation where you got all of these hangers, you know, over a, you know, let's say, you know, 20 to 40 acre property, it's not about understanding, is that ladder, you know, here, or is it you know, here, like, from one to two meter difference, it's about where's that ladder? Right, between these hangars? Yeah, so in that case, you know, you're actually talking about maybe 510 meter accuracy is good enough? Because once I know where it is, chances are because it's a ladder or scaffolding, I guess, there's that ladder. Yeah. So I think that that's the first thing is within RTLs itself, I don't necessarily know that when people need one meter accuracy, even though we can go supply that in most, you know, I don't know if that need that in most use cases, even though we can supply that. So that's the number one kind of the accuracy of RTLs thing number two, which was your question RTLs versus pls. And you know, if I think about PLS, I think about you know, historically RFID right again, the notion of walking through a door right and having a kind of that the infrastructure for RTLs around that door, you know, the the readers and the antennas etc.
Steve Statler 39:42
PLS. What does PLS stem from?
John Sailer 39:44
Proximity location services. So what we do and kind of get back to our hardware is, this thing is bluefly does a couple of things if I just put one in to an outlet and by the way, this is also gonna be He powered over Ethernet. And also we also have battery powered versions. But for this example, let's say I plugged this into an outlet, just this alone, I think it would create a bubble around that. And I can then understand it a beacon or badge get within that bubble. So enter that bubble or leave that bubble. Right. And so you know, and I can go the trigger alert that says, This badge came in that bubble, and that's okay. Or, you know, let's say see, you mentioned the whole notion of, you know, safety and security. Well, let's say that you aren't, let's say you aren't certified to do some operation. So you shouldn't be in that bubble. If your badge gets get into that bubble alert that says Steve Dotto supposed to be in that bubble, you know, ego alert him or alert or, you know, alert something that season that bubble. And so for us, if I just put one of these in, I don't have to calibrate it, I can go create a bet bubble, I can then create that bubble near the door, I can create that bubble. So I can kind of that if someone comes in or out of that door, I'll know it, I can go create that bubble at the inside of a, you know, let's say a, a high value inventory room. So if you know some I haven't had high value leaves that room, I'll know it right point being that I don't have to have, you know, these set up to go and understand with one or two or five meter accuracy, I don't have to do that to understand that something entered or exited an area. So what we're starting to see is a lot of the manufacturers that we're working with, really just want to know did something enter or leave an area as opposed to where exactly they are, right. So you're gonna see a lot of that PLS, that approximate location from revision, maybe other vendors, because that's actually kind of the better, faster, cheaper version of active RFID, right. And we talked to a lot of companies lot of manufacturers out there to go, Well, we have RFID, we like it, but just not very flexible, right? Because you have to go run wires, because you have to have a server because you have to have antennas etc. And they want flexibility. And for us the flexibility as just as easy as plugging this in. And all of a sudden you have a PLS zone.
Steve Statler 42:11
Yeah. And to me, I mean, one of the things that we're actually going to talk later offline is kind of a roadmap for for a customer. And it seems like you can start off with proximity pretty easily. I mean, proximity is not going to give you the x&y of where someone is, but it will tell you is worker number seven ATM machine B. And you can do that without doing a whole bunch of if you don't know where machine B is you just know that the workers name machine B and that's all you care about. You don't need to know exactly the X and Y coordinate. So so it seems like it's a great step towards this kind of nirvana of knowing the exact coordinate where everything is your RSSI, right, you're using signal strength as the core of this, is that correct?
John Sailer 42:57
Generally RSSI is kind of the baseline of this. But whether we're doing RTLs, or PLS, we do a lot of things in the cloud, right to deal with things like reflection in RF reflection to deal with things like probability curves to deal with, you know, kind of what we call, you know, fingerprinting of various devices, you know, so we do a lot of logic in the cloud, to actually become very, you know, much more accurate than just RSSI alone, right? Because they think of RSSI alone. If you think about when you look at your cell phone, you know, I look at my cell phone right now, and it would show me four bars. I could walk three feet away, and it'll show me one bar. Right? If I'm your metal objects, our society does not do really well get around them logics. RSSI doesn't do well around people. Right? So so people, so companies that say, Well, we're doing email location based services using RSSI, there's a high degree of accuracy, right? So if we go back to an to an example of, you know, being in a in a hangar hangar has typically a large metal tube, and then right in an airplane, hangar could be open and closed. RSSI just does it right, because you're dealing with RF and you're dealing with, you know, all that reflection, RF reflection just doesn't do well in those environments. So there has to be something more, right. Kind of, you know, a lot of our secret sauce. So that's why fundamentally, we don't use you know, off the shelf firmware to go power beacons to go power or blue flies. We wrote our own our own firmware, you know, we do a lot of things. And you know, that typically, you know, ble does not support from a pure standard perspective. So, well RSSI is kind of the baseline. There's got to be a lot more if you want to have any level of accuracy when you're doing pls or RTLs.
Steve Statler 44:45
Okay, so it sounds like you've added an extra layers to look at the signals and maybe filter out stuff that spurious and that sort of thing, but you're clearly you're not using angle of arrival and doesn't It sounds like you're using round trip time because that, you know, there's a bunch of infrastructure there that would be more expensive and cumbersome, you're kind of taking the baseline of RSS, and you're doing smart things that maybe the physical level and higher.
John Sailer 45:18
Well, when you say that, I mean, we are the guys that own, you know, the would be, you know, differential time of flight over BLE. So we own that patent. Right. So we are doing a lot of complex things. You know, we do we are very familiar with Innova rival, what I would tell you is, it's not a one size fits all, by people that say, Well, I do just this, right, just do that, just that we look at these things into totality, because it's not just one solution that's gonna go solve those problems. Right, it's kind of the totality. And so we we run literally up to 20 algorithms, you know, in our Blue Zone cloud, you know, and this, this gets more into RTLs and PLS, because, again, MPLS is more about proximity, or RTLs. It's clearly more about specific location, but we do just a lot of calculations. You know, in the guys that do just one may work well in one environment or one situation, but probably don't work very well, when you have a lot of different, you know, characteristics in an environment.
Steve Statler 46:22
Okay, so maybe some time of flight stuff and in?
John Sailer 46:27
Yeah, yeah, and other stuff. Okay.
Steve Statler 46:31
Very good. So, um, what can you tell us about what you're doing with waves? I mean, waves have actually said quite a lot about it. So maybe, for people that haven't heard that, tell us tell us the scoop.
John Sailer 46:41
Sure. So waves, you know, I mean, waves, by the way is amazing, right? If you if you use the Waze app, I mean, it's amazing. You know, everything from, you know, understanding, you know, traffic reports to understanding, you know, points of interest, etc. I mean, it's funny, because when we talked to the Waze guys, they're saying that in some municipalities, you know, the first responders monitor ways, and ways is kind of the most accurate tool that they use to go understand if there's an accident or fatality, you know, so I mean, it's, it's truly a brilliant solution. Where Waze has a problem, right, is when you know, you're using the app, and you go into a tunnel, right, because all of a sudden, you don't have access to, you know, a cell signal. And so if you're in an environment where there's a lot of tunnels, you know, if you think about like Boston, right, you come out of out of the airport, and you're going through the tunnels, you know, ways kind of goes blank, and but then all of a sudden, you come out of that tunnel, and there's three different choices of where you could go turn, right, and so that's, you know, that's a safety hazard, right? That's, you know, that's inconvenient. So what Waze is actually doing is deploying beacons inside those tunnels to help with kind of dead reckoning so that even though you don't have, you know, access to a cell signal, you can, you know, as that app goes by that, that beacon, you're directing, going, I'm here now, right, and so you now can start to show the progression of where you are in that tunnel, which then allows you to understand kind of what's coming up.
Steve Statler 48:23
So that's very useful. And what are you seeing in terms of uptake, I imagine you're selling to like port authorities and governments, I mean, it's, that's gonna be it's gonna take a while I'm guessing the full people, you get a bunch of orders for beacons that are gonna go into tunnels.
John Sailer 48:39
I would just tell you that you know, anything. Um, you know, with Waze, I would never underestimate their ability to standardize, right, and their abilities to continue to change the game and to get, you know, to get solution and deploy, whether it's, you know, part of a BlueVision solution, or just what they're doing. I mean, if you think about how fast they've grown, and you think about their market share, and you think about just the amazing things that those guys are doing, I would never underestimate how fast they get things to market.
Steve Statler 49:08
Well, that's great. Sounds like more beacons out there and tunnels. And I was looking at the spec, and it looks like this is Eddystone UID. So we're not broadcasting URLs. We're broadcasting numbers we're not, they're not ephemeral. It's not being locked down. So anyone can use them. Right? Correct. So that's cool. So that's a platform for other entrepreneurs to figure out other things to do in tunnels and, and it's an example of Eddystone actually being deployed, which I'd love to get. As we wrap up, just give me your thoughts on what you're saying in terms of the split between people using iBeacon. And people using the different the many different Eddystone protocols?
John Sailer 49:52
Sure. Well, I mean, I think, and I'm not, I'm clearly not the kind of the expert on Last, but you know, what I will tell you is I think, you know, both Apple and Google will continue to evolve their standards, I will tell you that with what we know about Eddystone, and nearby, we think it has a chance to really change the game. We're excited about what we see and what we hear from Google around it. You know, and we kind of, you know, just just think that it's going to help continue to push, you know, the industry and, you know, a rising tide, you know, or was it a rising tide lifts all boats. And so we think that's good, you know, we continue to believe that Apple will continue to evolve iBeacon, we think that's good. I will tell you that a lot of our business is not necessarily focused on either, you know, either of those standards, right, because a lot of our businesses focused on industrial and industrial payloads. You know, so, you know, while we like what those guys are doing, we think that just there's amazing innovation coming out of, of Google and Alibaba is and, you know, potential innovation coming out of Apple. You know, for us, we just, we just like the fact that BLE continues to, you know, the use continues to grow. And, you know, the speed of innovation continues to grow, which is good for us.
Steve Statler 51:12
So you touched on, and I wasn't sure whether it's kind of a flourish of figure of speech about the future evolution of iBeacon. I mean, we've seen not. So far, it's got one Dotto standard. And from a personal perspective, you know, why would Apple do anything more with it? I mean, I can for Google Eddystone is potentially something that could drive 10s of billions of dollars every year because it makes search better, it makes advertising better. And those are massive businesses. I already see what iBeacon does for Apple's business, and I don't see why they would do anything more than what they've done already. I don't know whether they need to do anything more.
John Sailer 51:50
What would you say to that? You know, I would just tell you that I would be surprised if if we don't continue to see innovation on them. And I agree with you, right. You know, they made waves when they first came out with with the standard, you know, but I would tell you I'd be surprised if they don't continue to innovate.
Steve Statler 52:09
Well that's food for thought John Cena this has been fascinating. We got to wrap it up completely failed at making this a 20 minute interview. But for for those of you who are still watching and listening, thanks so much. And send us your comments, questions. And John, once again, thank you.
John Sailer 52:27
Thank you appreciate you having me.
Steve Statler 52:39
Are you very musical?
John Sailer 52:41
Yeah, I'm acutely a musical guy. I probably have 150,000 songs on my iPod sit in my car. And when you put it on random, you know, you might get you know the Dead Kennedys right next to Gloria step on right next to what I'm used to. Right. So so it's, you're always putting your trust that whatever song comes up next isn't going to be so embarrassing if you've got people in the car. Because I have a few of those embarrassing songs right next to some of those really classic song but, you know, fundamentally I would have to think it's one something from Led Zeppelin. Gotta gotta gotta pull out Led Zeppelin is and I you know, I probably have 30 Led Zeppelin songs that all can be in that in that mix, but to walk will say kind of non controversial and we'll just say something by Led Zeppelin.
Steve Statler 53:42
I need one because I like to study overlaying them on the soundtrack.
John Sailer 53:48
Yeah, I mean, I would probably say then when I say backup up, we'll go with black dog. Okay, very good. I think my second song is probably going to be really old you too, like something from boy or war? And we're gonna go with actor we're gonna go with the song October which you know, very moody song. So we're gonna go with October is my second song. And you know what, I'm gonna go with something light. For my third song. I'm gonna go with something from like, you know, I lived down in South Florida and we listened to you know, there's a lot of, you know, Latin music. I would probably go with something from you know what, we're gonna go with a great summer song we deal with the Girl from Ipanema.
Steve Statler 54:41
Oh, love that song.
John Sailer 54:44
So, so you've got YouTube, you've got a few Led Zeppelin and you then you've got like, depending on the version, you know, like Sergio Mendes.
Steve Statler 54:53
Very eclectic level. So you're in Florida, which is just very vibrant with Cuban influence. Susan, probably lots of other things. But did you did you move to Florida to work for BlueVision or were you already there?
John Sailer 55:09
Though I'm the guy that I moved down to Florida, you know, right out of school in the early 90s, early mid 90s. To work I was a manufacturing guy at Motorola and Motorola Motorola paging. If you're for those who are, you know, old enough to remember the days when the pagers Yeah. Mid 90s Every pager like generally every pager around the world came out of Boise, Florida. And so I ultimately ran distribution for Motorola paging, left. And, you know, kind of became a technology guy and then a startup turnaround guy. So I've been I've had the opportunity to move to Singapore to move to Germany, to move to Silicon Valley, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. And I never thought I'd be the guy 20 years 20 plus years later, who's still in Florida.
Steve Statler 55:58
It's great place to be. Well, thanks for that.