Remember that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruises character walks into a Gap and an AI voice asks him if hes still enjoying the trousers he bought last week? That eyesight was dreamt up by MIT consultants for the cinema several years ago, and as of today it would be entirely possible to reproduction, dedicated we all now keep walking with smartphones which could be alerted in a manner. Theres only a few snags. GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and Beacons are all technologies which have singularly failed to live up to the publicity around hyper-location targeting. My inbox is daily filled with startups doing in-store location targeting, with different flavours of Wifi, Bluetooth, you name it. None of them have interested me in the slightest. Until, that is, I fulfilled NewAer at the most recent SXSW.
In a demo field with, crucially, a bar, I slipped a small plastic disc into my pocket( a physical cookie if you are able to) which once loaded magically contained my Facebook profile. As I strolled all over the chamber, I would be, without asking, presented with my favourite guzzle( G& T) and put into a queue for a side-demo of a VR experience only by hanging close by, instead of waiting in line. I could approach screens which would tell me if there were any other people from London in the chamber. I didnt retrieve or open my phone once the whole day, and every experience was tailored to me. If I walked away from the field my data and profile disappeared from the screens.
But that wasnt the greatest revelation. What was truly interested in me was that I didnt even need this little Beacon sitting in my pocket. I could have done the same thing with an app on my phone, which would allow me to set all my communication and privacy preferences, and which wouldnt suck precious battery power away. That, to me, is the game changer . It also wouldnt need me to download multiple apps for multiple locations.
Walking me through the experience was founder Dave Mathews. This entrepreneur should know about location-based apps and associated the physical world with online. He has in fact been championing creating a physical cookie for some time. He pioneered the CueCat barcode reader which could relate published publication articles to the Web back in 2000. Its been a long jaunt, but it looks like he may now have cracked what could be a huge market moves forward. He even wrote a tale in 2012 as to why location-based apps have failed in the past.
For how else will the Walmarts and small retailers of this world rival against Amazon without a lane to tailor their real-world retail contexts to customer preferences? The applications dont be brought to an end, but lets first explore how all this works.
NewAer has an app called Kiosk. Under the hood, this a WebKit-based browser with integrated Bluetooth Low Energy( BLE) detecting building up. That intends it can determine the scope of nearby mobile devices and automatically change what is displayed on the screen. Mobile devices can be Android, iOS, or even fitness Wearables and iBeacons.
NewAers Kiosk app( less than 8MB big) then lets an iPad or maybe even an Apple TV act as a digital signage host and becomes the iPhone into a client.
In reality, NewAer is far more likely to appear inside, mention, an airlines app to display your personal flight day on a nearby are presented in the lounge, of instance.
What NewAer is tapping into an old mind left by the wayside by phone manufacturers which used to be pretty interesting. It meant you could use your phone like a little server, broadcasting datum. In the distant past Nokia had an app called Sensor which could broadcast a little web page about yourself to those nearby. It was almost like a hyper-location-based Tinder which could work inside in underground bar, far from 3G.
Today we have NFC for similar applications, but this technology is locked down by Apple for their pay system. NewAer can now open up this up by allowing Bluetooth to work like NFC.
At the demo, Mathews had the Kiosk app set up to receive data under one foot of distance for assigning guests Facebook profiles to the little circular iBeacon. Literally a small plastic circle. I could allocate my Facebook ID to this bit of plastic and walk around the chamber trying out various applications. The best part, of course, was having my ID signed to my favourite guzzle at the bar. NFC cant do this but Bluetooth can.
Where it gets really interesting is when you make NewAer Kiosk work on a smartphone to turn it into an iBeacon. That means you could either ask your customers to download an application or have the NewAer SDK embedded inside an existing application. Developers can download the SDK for free at ProximityPlatform online or develop their own web interactions after downloading Kiosk in the iTunes storage. NewAer acts as an iBeacon that can wake up a mobile phone, even when the app is shut by the user. Kiosk operates on an iPad, the 4th Gen Apple TV and Raspberry Pi 3 to drive digital signage inside of spaces. Its investors include Intel Capital and Telekom Ventures.
The disruption NewAer foreshadows could be transformational. Right now Apple has iBeacon and Google has Eddystone. Dozens of companies make lighthouses which are $15 -3 3 devices built on that ecosystem. Both of these competitors necessitate those lighthouses to be placed in stores and both wake up the user phone effectively spamming them. The whole field has more or less failed.
Turning all this into a simple, free SDK( not necessitating $15 -3 3 !) inside an app which does not spam the user and allows them to tailor the experience would utterly disrupt how this technology could be applied and literally set it free from physical beacons.
Imagine insuring monitors and screens that are already on the walls of airports and malls come to life for you with relevant information( gate and day, or special offers based on your personal preferences) or an experience like Amazon gives you, but in the real, physical world, just like in Minority Report. But this time it doesnt utilize cameras or biometrics, or reading your iris and you can opt out of any experience before, during or after within the applications which contain NewAers SDK.
Most commentators in tech would agree that iBeacon is dead. Nobody wanted to download an application for every retail store, and the lighthouses themselves either fell off the walls or the batteries died. They didnt protect privacy, spammed customers and even the Apple store didnt have a positive their relationships with them.
As NewAer clues, the future of mobile will be an agent doing things for you once you set a objective. Like find me a car2go or send an Uber self driving auto to me. This peer-to-peer technology will make those vehicles personalized to us when they approach us. Or screens we approach. The level is that in the future people wont need to look down at their phone.
Instead they can let those things around us greet us with a digital winking or a message.
Here arrives Minority Report
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