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Technology

Soho start-up puts British technology on the map in Thailand

Original article

A London tech start-up has secured a six-figure contract to supply its technology for smart indoors to six major airports in Thailand, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Pointr, headquartered in Soho, was founded by a team of computer scientists in 2014 after they spotted a gap in the market forguiding people around large public areas such as hospitals, shopping centres and airports.

The patented technology works by leveraging Bluetooth sensors around a venue which can be used by smartphones to navigate in places where GPS is unreliable. In the UK it is already used in locations such as Harrods and Gatwick Airport.

The company’s most recent supply to Airports in Thailand will see Pointr’s technology installed at six major airports across the country including Bangkok and Phuket International Airports. The technology aims to enhance the passenger experience at each airport by reducing wait time for travellers and directing people to the correct queue and gate.

DIT commercial officers based in Thailand helped Pointr break into the Southeast Asian market by conducting in-depth market research, facilitating introductions to local contacts and accompanying the business to meetings with potential clients.

The six-figure deal is the tech company’s first contract in Thailand and will see its technology installed at the airports for 10 years. The deal is set to increase Pointr’s presence in Asia, with the firm set to hire an additional 10 staff internationally to meet the increase in demand.

Pointr currently employs 40 people across its offices in London, Istanbul and Dubai. The business exports to 14 countries across Europe, Asia and North America and is setting up a local presence in the US to service its growing global customer base the country.

Trevayne O’Brien, Commercial Manager at Pointr, said: “Building a rapport through face-to-face meetings is an important aspect of Southeast Asian business culture. We are a small team, so this was challenging for us at first as we were regularly required to travel half-way across the world.

“Working alongside the advisers at DIT has been hugely helpful in this respect. They’ve introduced us to local contacts in the country who can accompany us to meetings and even attend on our behalf when necessary.

“Exporting has been transformational for us as a business and, strengthened by support of DIT, we’ve secured major international contract during 2018. We’d recommend any business interested in exporting get in touch with DIT to see what possibilities are out there – simply put, there’s no reason why other British start-ups can’t tap similar benefits.”

Parveen Thornhill, Head of London Region at DIT, said: “Innovative British brands like Pointr are at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence and augmented reality, a technology with growing international demand. Just last year the UK government announced a multibillion-pound investment in the technology sector, part of which will support businesses find export success through trade missions. That’s why now is the right time for businesses like Pointr to consider international opportunities.

“I’d encourage any London businesses interested in taking their business global to get in touch. We have a network of expert International Trade Advisers who can offer a range of support including practical advice, training sessions and introductions to valuable business contacts overseas.”

Firms looking for support should call 020 7234 3000 or email export@tradelondon.org.uk. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.

ENDS

Location services startup gives directions to big customers through Microsoft marketing programs – Microsoft Customer Stories

Read the content of our Microsoft Customer Suceess story.

“A customer might need the location technology we offer that Microsoft doesn’t have with its existing solutions or channels. We work in parallel, and it generates more revenue for both of us.”

Ege Akpinar: CEO

Pointr Labs

People rely on GPS for everything from food delivery and booking a taxi to meeting up with friends and finding a coffee shop. But what about indoors? There is no established widespread indoor location technology that works in large places where it can be easy to take a wrong turn, like stadiums, conference centers, hospitals, shopping malls, and airports, to name a few. Pointr is helping fix that problem. We show organizations how to better achieve digital transformation by combining indoor location intelligence with machine learning. Our Deep Location cloud platform solution provides actionable business intelligence by harnessing large amounts of data and continuous learning.

Other providers in our market space provide location solutions that often omit critical functionality. It’s not a matter of, “Hey, Pointr is a little bit better than the others.” It’s a matter of, “Hey, Pointr works.” If you’re building a ship, the one that floats isn’t just a little bit better than the one that sinks. Location solutions are hard to develop because obstacles such as high ceilings, metal construction, and never-ending changes in floorplans wreak havoc on traditional solutions. We believe that the Pointr Deep Location platform is the only truly scalable option in these difficult situations. Pointr is not a beacon or sensor company, and unlike competitors’ offerings, Pointr is hardware-agnostic. It was developed top-down for business intelligence and analytics.

There’s no getting lost in this cloud

Deep Location combines cloud resources—Microsoft Azure in our case—with the utility of iOS and Android smartphones, apps, software development kits, and augmented reality (AR) technology into a topological hierarchy. The platform can be overlaid on any indoor location sensing technology (including beacons) while increasing their positional and directional accuracy through our patented technology. Deep Location also collects sensor information without an app using our Pointr of Presence module.

We used the open-source ASP.NET framework to develop our backend systems, so taking advantage of Azure was the natural next step. We tried other cloud services on past projects, but Azure stands out as offering high performance and a great development experience. Our decision to go with Azure was purely technical. Our team already liked the Microsoft stack and wanted to continue using the technology they trust. Also, our customers have confidence in Microsoft enterprise-quality software, which increases their confidence in us.

Intelligent decisions about locations

The founders of Pointr have expertise in AI, machine learning, and technologies related to sensors, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth and have worked with Microsoft Research on AI projects. Our development team is computer-science driven, and we use a variety of AI techniques for data analytics in Deep Location. The platform takes advantage of native AI technology in Azure, but we worked with AI before it was part of Azure, so our core software is internally developed and platform-neutral.

We also have expertise in AR, and the AR capabilities of Deep Location are popular with our customers. Early on, we worked on ways to make interfaces that are more user-intuitive. It’s one thing to know your location but another to find your friends in a large concert venue, for example, or see the shortest path to your gate at the airport. The result is that Deep Location offers accurate location in part because it has accurate orientation (the direction you’re facing). Even if our competitors had comparable accuracy, they likely wouldn’t be able to combine it with the correct orientation. From our perspective, Pointr offers the only solution that makes sense in an AR context.

A smoother path to success

Early on, Pointr became part of Microsoft Accelerator London (now Microsoft Scale Up), which was extremely useful because we needed to connect to big clients. We also gained access to Microsoft experts who gave us legal advice, marketing support, and business guidance. We signed at least two key deals that we believe wouldn’t have been possible without the program. It’s tough to know for sure, but being validated by Microsoft back then helped a lot. The name Pointr would not have impressed the officials of a major airport, for example. And there were cases where Microsoft helped us connect with the right people in large companies—people who have the power to make purchasing decisions—who would otherwise be hard to track down.

That success has continued as we now work directly with Microsoft to sell solutions. Microsoft is motivated to support us because we attract Azure customers that it might not be able to satisfy by itself. That is, a customer might need the location technology we offer that Microsoft doesn’t have with its existing solutions or channels. We work in parallel, and it generates more revenue for both of us. That’s what synergy is all about. It’s also part of how Pointr became a selling partner so quickly after establishing its relationship with the software company.

A relationship based on mutual understanding

Whenever we meet Microsoft program team members, we find people who know what they’re talking about and who understand what we’re trying to do. This is especially important in a B2B setting where we have demanding customers. Even in countries where we haven’t worked with Microsoft teams before, there are always stakeholders who have done their research and know how to help us find prospects in that region.

This isn’t a case of Microsoft finding deals for us; it’s a collaboration of finding them together. It’s a corporate friendship where we have a common technical mission. Pointr has never had a single negative experience with Microsoft for Startups stakeholders. If anything, the relationship—and the results—just keep getting better.

Find out more about Pointr Labs on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Press Release: Pointr begins project with US Homeland Security to enhance passenger experience at Airports

14th August 2018 – London -Pointr announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded Arup USA Inc. a contract to deliver wayfinding technology through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). Arup has partnered with Pointr Limited of London, a UK startup that specializes in AI/AR infused indoor-location technology and analytics for the contract.

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Pointr and Gatwick Airport wins the Mobile Innovation of the Year Award


We are incredibly proud to announce that our work with Gatwick Airport was nominated for the Mobile Innovation of the year award and although competition was of high calibre, we won!

The National Tech awards, that celebrates pioneers of technology had a thorough panel of judges making the decision, and we are very happy that our hard work has received this great nod of acknowledgement.

Through our indoor location technology, Gatwick Airport was the first Airport in the world to have a fully functioning indoor navigation system, and this is just the beginning!

A big thank you to our great team of talented developers, partners and friends that make all this possible.