A year after its introduction, BLE beacons is still a nascent technology and protagonists are working hard on closing the first real enterprise scale projects, imagined by some of the visionaries already involved.
We have seen the inevitable “selling shovels to the gold-diggers”-phase with numerous startups providing hardware, SDKs and back-end management software all over the globe. (Honestly, I lost track of the number, you will find some listed in this post: A Brief Survey Of Beacon Hardware Actually Used In The Field.)
Some beacon manufacturers now even seem to seek refuge in the proven Gilette strategy – give away the beacons for free and concentrate on selling the push notifications: Retailers being offered free beacons to kick start the retail revolution.
The shovel-phase is being followed by the “low-hanging-fruit-picking”-phase, also known as push coupons to people within the proximity of your location. It’s remarkable how many startups are still betting their hopes on this segment of the market.
But the really interesting development from my perspective is that use-cases with beacons as an “embedded” benefit are now getting more attention and traction.
My favourite use-case at the moment, besides that I would love building a kid-tracking app for Carnival Cruises, is events, conference and exhibition management. First reports are available and look promising, see for example: Bonnaroo’s App Sent More Than 97,000 Push Notifications to Festivalgoers This Year Data helps set the 2015 agenda.
My faible for this space goes back to the time when I became the founder and conference organizer of Startup Camp Berlin. When I persuaded some friends to help me organize the first non-profit startup community event in Berlin back in 2011, I had no clue of what would be required to host a conference, even if the SCB has always been a rather small one. (In 2014, it had approximately 600 attendees.) But beyond the basics, the room for improvements became obvious quite soon.
Now, with beacons at our hands, this is what I would like to offer to the attendees of my next conference:
Self check-in: No more waiting in line to receive conference badges. Example: Print your own conference badge at a self-service terminal at the venue. From a organizer’s point of view, registration is a huge pain. It requires a lot of resources for a relatively short period of time to prevent the usual waiting.
Providing additional revenue sources to the organizer. Example: Every attendee entering a ‘zone’ of the exhibition floor receives – upon entering – once a notification by the sponsor, e.g. a coupon for a beverage at the sponsor’s booth.
Possibilities are endless. What would you like to provide to the attendees of your conference? Please, join the discussion…
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I received an email from a friend today – Jakub Tomanik – that has got me thinking:
Android never will fully (on a system level) embrace beacons. Beacons will drive people away from online shopping and that will hit Google’s main business: online ads. On the other hand brick and mortar retail is big business for Apple. (…especially considering that Angela Ahrendts is finally in seat and she speaks openly she wants to push retail and technology forward and together.)
I worked almost 18 months for a Google subsidiary here in Berlin in my capacity as product manager. And there is one thing I learned during that time:
Google defines technology standards for 3rd parties to follow, but never becomes a (fully engaged) 3rd party herself. (Unless absolutely necessary.)
Now, the Google dilemma is that everything “indoor” in Android – e.g. navigation and location-based (indoor) marketing – relies on more expensive as well as intrusive and yet less effective technology (mainly WiFi tracking) by comparison.
At the same time (i)Beacon – which happens to be cleverly embraced (and almost coined) by Apple – will become the preferred technology to pursue these kind of services for its ease of use and affordability.
Integrating beacons at Android level similarly to iOS would therefore further Apple’s indoor/proximity technology position. Which directly affects Google’s mobile search and advertising business built around Google Now, Project Tango and Android.
Which is the reason that I do not believe that Google will any time soon embrace the beacon trend and incorporate its technology at a system level. (Admittedly, Android’s fragmentation would make the user experience most likely inferior to its iOS counterpart anyway.)
I know, that a lot of engineers prefer Android over Apple. But when it comes to UX and revenue – iOS is the way to go.
49 slides on the use-cases of Apple’s BLE – Bluetooth Low Energy – beacon technology that allows for the first time to precisely locate a person within pre-defined proximity of a sensor and to communicate with that person contextually. But where’s the beef? NFC, QR-codes and WLAN tracking were promising that before and never caught on. This improved slide-deck provides an answer to that question by addressing the most important use-cases as well as dealing with privacy and technologies issues of the (still) nascent technology.
A bit confusing:
Sometimes it is “Keep left”, sometimes “Keep right”. I haven’t yet figured out why….
#FunnyUK: Tell the cashier that you brought used plastic bags with you. It will cause a good laugh… :)
23 slides on the use-cases of Apple’s BLE – Bluetooth Low Energy – beacon technology that allows for the first time to precisely locate a person within pre-defined proximity of a sensor and communicated with that person contextually. But where’s the beef? NFC, QR-codes and WLAN tracking were promising that before and never caught on. The slide-deck provides an answer to that question by addressing the most important use-cases as well as dealing with privacy and technologies issues of the nascent technology.
Today my startup failed -
No soft landing, no happy ending—we simply failed.
It’s been a long four year journey, full of highs and lows. I am simultaneously incredibly proud, and incredibly disappointed.
I’m incredibly proud of an amazing team and all that they have accomplished. Our most recent product, …