In ‘Kontext’ with Smarter Solutions — In Conversation with the Team of Kontext
In most of the cases even if one is physically present in a location, the website or apps remains the primary interface for interaction. This has enabled unique usability challenges. In many cases when one needs to access contextual digital information or services inside the physical location, the first step is to find the nearest computer — possibly in our pocket — and navigate to that location website or find and download the app for it. Once there, the person navigates through a likely complex information architecture concerned with our need only as one among very many other potential needs. This navigation can be rather disruptive to the task at hand.
Learning the structure of a new website or an app is usually not a problem for long. But if we agree that the website or app is the primary interface for getting things done, we’ll probably also agree that if it were practical to put usable information on actual objects or areas that provide fluid access to their virtual equivalents, the endeavor would be worthwhile.
Imagine moving around in the space and always having easy access to the corresponding space in your hand on demand.
With this vision of bridging gap between physical and digital world and making information flow seamlessly between them they had started Kontext in late December 2015.
Tell us briefly about your startup?
Kontext is an IoT platform and we make mobile engagement easy with or without apps. We enable very small interactions with things that you never consider using an app for. A dog collar can let you find its owner, a bus stop could tell you when the next bus is coming, renting a bike or getting a mall map. Using our solution your smart devices understands its proximity to nearby locations and identifies objects. Our vision is to build real-world operating system , making the world around us a richer and more informative place by simply putting information — ‘ where you need it, when you need it’ .
What is your strategy on achieving this?
Our focus would entirely be on selling to B2B enterprises. We aim to partner with mobile marketing firms , enterprises with physical presence as well as mobile apps and with media agencies .
Key features of your product?
We’ve curated the product with multiple features .These vary from full stack location intelligence platform, bringing together hardware, cloud software, device SDKs to data science . Our product is perfectly timed with personalized interactions to drive engagement. Google Analytics tell you what’s happening on your app, Kontext tells you who is doing it . Not only that , it also helps you engage with them. We’vee brought in cost effective and robust Beacons and locators . We believe in ‘Offline first’. So , our proximity experience works offline too. We aim to craft and publish in-apps without writing a single line of code and support for app-less notifications . Our intention is to better the user experience and we also enable Eddystone and ibeacon protocol support on the same beacon . All in all we’re building complete integrated IoT proximity solutions for industries .
What inspired you to create this product?
It started with a personal experience. Continuous research helped us to learn that not only does our smartphone lacks real world context and micro-location awareness , but it also lacks of contextual triggers in physical world i.e. Interaction on demand and a medium to interact with small little things around us and makes us depend on apps for each and every interaction in physical world irrespective of whether it is small or big. Also, we found that business owners lack quantitative location data and the way to engage with their customers in real time.
How is this product going to bring a change?
Possibly, creating real-word operating systems: a mesh of devices, smart objects, and beacons with the ability to talk to each other with contextual intelligence. This real-world operating system with connected objects , communication can capture huge amounts of data about users and our actions while also putting that data into context. It’ll change the way we and our devices interact with the physical world, bridging the online and offline world in order to create a seamless interactive experience and gain behavioural insides. Enabling those small interactions in physical world which we never thought could be possible until now and making them simple and fast too. A step towards going app-less and making possible to discover the physical world by responding to the objects or products that are raising their hands as one are walking. For marketers, it’ll allow them to target customers in a locale, more precisely .
Who are your competitors and what do they do ?
Our mission and vision is completely unique. However , Kontext indirectly competes with companies like Gimbal, Estimote and Kontakt. However, most other beacon providers need customers to develop their own app. They are approaching from the hardware side only, focusing on the chip, battery life and pretty much limited to beacons only. We come from the both software and hardware(beacon along other peripheral hardwares) angle, providing end-to-end ready-to-use proximity solution.
How is your product better than that of the competitors ?
Unlike most of our competitors we think the promise of beacons is not simply in pushing coupons to nearby shoppers. If this technology was just to be used for pushing notifications and coupons, we would have never started this company . That’s because our competitors are already doing it. Instead of simply pushing offers to shoppers, our vision for beacon technology involves blurring the lines between online and offline worlds. We’re a full stack location intelligence platform , bringing together hardware, cloud software, device SDKs and data science — to create a developer-friendly platform for location intelligence and context. Also combining it with other techs like Wifi, GPS, inaudible sound and locators to establish proximity and deliver even better experience. The goal, ultimately, is to hide beacon technology in almost everything from enterprise to retail.
Personal statement that defines you as an entrepreneur?
“Watch, listen, and learn”, because we believe one can’t know it all . One should be patient with oneself because there is no greater investment .
How has AIM SmartCity Accelerator Program helped you till date ?
AIM Smart City accelerator is a great place to be, especially if you are anywhere between prototype and launch stage like us. But the best of all has been — “Stakeholder development” . During this we were supposed to reach out to at least 80–100 customers(based on one’s model) and take their opinion/feedback about the product which actually helped us to build faith in our product . We could differentiate between what were we making and what exactly we had planned and what is needed.
We were exposed to various sessions and opportunities to interact and talk with industry leaders and not just share our elevator pitch of 30 seconds. The fun bit included parties and offsites. Right from Stakeholder Development to pitch sessions, from peer learning to mentor access there have been a lot of lessons . We are sure that AIM SmartCity Accelerator Program has lot more in store for us.
But in the end, all this boils down to 3 things here at AIM:
a)Solving real world problem, focus on one your core bet
b)Talking to your customers about your product
c) Being practical
To summarise, 3 simple reasons to join AIM SmartCity Accelerator are :
1.Prasanna and Naveen from Microsoft Ventures
2.Priyank and Arihant from Ashoka University
3.Microsoft Venture team (PR, Marketing, PR,Azure team and mentor access)
What message do you have for other startup people?
Be open to adjusting your idea though it doesn’t sound an obvious thing to do and counter intuitive too, but most good ideas evolve. The most famous example of this sort is probably Airbnb. Your users are your guidepost. And the way you stay on the right path in the early stages of a startup is to build stuff, talk to users and stay focused. And nothing else.
Lastly, keep your expense low, be very conservative about how you spend it.