Sunday, January 5, 2014

iBeacon developments coming fast and furious

iBeacon Logo
There have been lots of new developments in the area of Apple's iBeacon tech over the last few weeks since I published my last post on iBeacon tech news.

Some highlights:
  • iBeacon publishing - Cool idea !!!
  • Apple deploys iBeacon in stores.  That's HUGE !!!
  • Qualcomm launches an iBeacon like tech.  Interesting, but not quite ready.
  • Apple patent hints at local positioning tech in cars.
  • Next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will use iBeacon tech in their mobile apps for promotions.

iBeacon publishing - Cool idea !!!

TechCrunch reports on a very unique set of User eXperiences (UX) using iBeacon tech - location aware publishing.  This shows that the possibilities for iBeacon tech are endless and go beyond just mobile commerce.  A digital publishing startup in London has begun implementing iBeacon to deliver location based access to publications.  Read the story for some really interesting iBeacon UX ideas.

Apple deploys iBeacon in stores.  That's HUGE !!!

A report surfaced in Nov that Apple was planning to deploy iBeacon tech to it's retail stores.  In early Dec it happened.  Apple has deployed iBeacon transmitters in it's stores and updated it's Apple Store app to use them to send in store notifications about things like orders, events, location aware product info and more.

The initial reviews of the implementation are not exactly stellar, but they do note that it will become attractive over time as new capabilities are implemented.  It's a good example that shows that iBeacon is an enablement tech that depends greatly on system components that go way beyond the iBeacon transmitters.  And that a great implementation requires a great UX design, that integrates together the physical world in the store with the backend e-commerce systems in ways that no one has ever imagined before.

Qualcomm launches an iBeacon like tech.  Interesting, but not quite ready.

Not to be out done again, Qualcomm has launched a strategy that competes with iBeacon, among other things.  They call it Gimbal and they describe it as a Context Awareness Platform that...
"...enables brands, retailers and venues to engage customers with relevant, timely and personalized content to their mobile devices."
It's an interesting, yet seemingly proprietary, collection of tech that includes iBeacon like proximity transmitters, GPS, geofencing, SDKs for iOS and Android, and backend services for push notifications, configuration and such.  It doesn't seem to be quite ready just yet because it's brand new and it's Gimbal proximity beacons don't yet support Android.  But it is worth keeping an eye on.

Apple patent hints at local positioning tech in cars.

MacRumors reports on a recent Apple patent that has surfaced that may be giving us an advanced look at how local positioning tech, like iBeacon, could be used in cars.  Real interesting stuff !!!  This could enable UXs like:
  • Your car turns it's heater or engine on as you approach.
  • Unlocks your doors hands free.
  • Sends car operational data to apps, like speed, sensor data, component status, alerts, etc.  There are some products in the works that can do stuff like this, but it's not built in to the car or the mobile OS.
  • Enhances the capabilities of current car tech like the Eyes Free tech and things like the iOS in the car stuff in the new 2014 Honda Civic.

Next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will use iBeacon tech in their mobile apps for promotions.

This is yet another great example of innovative User eXperiences for iBeacon tech.  MacRumors reports that CES is teaming up with several companies, including Radius Networks, which provides an iBeacon platform for mobile apps.  Radius Networks CEO has this to say:
"This is one of the coolest proximity-aware apps we have worked on," said Marc Wallace, CEO and cofounder of Radius Networks. "This is also one of the first, tangible applications that leverages iBeacon technology. And it is a great example of how iBeacon technology is not just about advertising as it is about bringing new and innovative solutions to the marketplace. We are very excited to be a part of it."
I wholeheartedly agree !!!!

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