Last month we have dedicated most of our posts/analysis to Apple’s new product: the AirTag. More specifically, we have discussed the underlying concept of the Digital Twin, the use cases beyond lost & found and the limitations of current technologies. If you are unfamiliar with the Digital Twin concept and technology those articles are definitely worth a read. Forkbeard’s expertise in Indoor Positioning Systems using ultrasonic and Bluetooth Low Energy signals gives the company an edge when it comes to developing Digital Twin solutions. Below is a brief overview of the problem, the solution and Forkbeard’s secret.
With the increasing pace and complexity of workplace and production processes, companies require tools to cut through the jungle of interactions between humans and devices across locations and time. Digital Twin technologies can help lift companies to the birds-eye perspective. They help to create a real-time overview or a historic replay of physical interactions between humans and objects across time and location using mobile phones and tags. However, the majority of the technologies are still maturing, trying to solve some fundamental challenges. These include improving the performance of the hardware (tags), creating operating system independent solutions and enabling in background/locked screen capabilities.
Forkbeard has been able to solve 3 limitations current Digital Twin solutions struggle with, allowing us to deliver a unique value proposition.
- Operating system independence
At the core of Forkbeard’s solution are phones that record and report any interaction that they had with other phones, tags and beacons (locations). Most companies allow their employees to choose their work phone. To create a powerful Digital Twin which captures all possible devices, the solution must work across operating systems. This is equivalent to Apple’s AirTags being able to detect Tile’s tags in the ‘Find My’ application. While this might be unimaginable for any Apple solution due to the walled gardens (setup by design to strengthen its ecosystem play), it is not for Forkbeard. Forkbeard’s Digital Twin works across Android and iOS covering approximately 99% of the operating systems out in the market.
- In-background and locked screen capability
Smartphones with the ForkbeardP2P enabled App are continuously looking for other Bluetooth devices in proximity. It is therefore essential that they must be constantly active. The Digital Twin solution should be invisible. The phone should be able to record data while being in the user’s pocket allowing him to simply focus on his/her task without having to manually scan for interactions. Such functionality might seem basic at first but has forced governments to stop their own contact tracing apps in favour of the Apple & Google solution. Citing privacy concerns, Android and iOS limit such functionality for app developers. With deep understanding of Bluetooth and operating systems, Forkbeard has managed to develop a solution that works in the background as well as with a locked screen in the user’s pocket.
- Connectivity independence
Many Digital Twin solutions can only report interactions that are currently occurring. This means that if the interactions are not offloaded immediately to the cloud, they are lost. Forkbeard’s solution has memory in the nodes, meaning that the devices that comprise the Digital Twin (phones, tags, beacons, etc.) can save interactions in the absence of connectivity. The interactions can then be offloaded at a later point in time when connectivity is established through a gateway or a phone. This means that Forkbeard’s solution does not require constant connectivity. This connectivity independence is more in line with the nature of work and production processes, as well as reduces costs for the customers.
To prevent traceability and minimize cybersecurity threats we use secure and randomized IDs. This allows Forkbeard to safely record human/object interactions and their distances across locations over time.
The Secret / The Team
What is our secret? Well, we just spent longer than most others working on an adjacent problem, indoor positioning. Forkbeard is the brainchild of Sonitor engineers who have spent 20+ years developing indoor positioning technology based on ultrasound and Bluetooth Low Energy technology. We have some great people relentlessly working on a problem they are truly passionate about.
Seems too good to be true? Contact us and we’ll make sure to demo you the capabilities of our Digital Twin solution. Or connect with us on Medium to discuss with us in the comments section.