5 ways the physical web will move beyond beacons

5 ways the physical web will move beyond beacons

A few days ago Jeanette Cajide, VP of Corporate Development for Dialexa wrote a post on the Huffington Post on beacons. The post is a great summary of the shortcomings of the iBeacon area: the adoption rate of beacons has been slow and users have not gotten a single, seamless point of entry on their UI for proximity-based content and interaction. 

In this post, We will elaborate on how Google’s concept of the physical web will move beyond the shortcomings of the iBeacon-area of proximity-based apps:

  1. No app downloads
    The physical web will remove the no. 1 obstacle between mobile users and the places they visit: the dreaded app download. With browsers (like Chrome on iOS soon available on Android too and Opera) and mobile Operating Systems (like Chrome OS and Firefox OS) getting physical-web enabled rapidly soon over a billion devices on the planet will have a single point of entry for proximity-based content and interaction: the lockscreen.
  2. No direct messaging
    The physical web will do away with the privacy concerns of smartphone users: Google has implemented several measures to make sure no contact is necessary during service discovery.
    As with web search, Google handles the storing and sorting of information but without any direct control over the content of the URLs the service completely open and free. The formal nature of the web will make sure that no nagging mobile messaging will be without opt-ins. The clear standardized vision of the W3C on the matter is already implemented by Google in Chrome 42 on Android.
  3. Users opt-in with taping at content they choose
    The alarming opt-out rates discussed in Jeanette’s post are a clear sign that users do not want their smartphones to turn to a proximity-enabled ad-machines.
    This will be best served by Eddystone beacons and Google’s back end services acting as a proxy between the advertised URLs and the smartphone users. Browsers do not talk to the web servers directly during discovery: only after taping at a particular URL will the browser be launched and direct communication between the user’s phone and the website begin.
  4. A clear path on the UI for proximity-based content and interaction
    push-product.0
    We will get rid of looking for and downloading QR code reader apps, pointing cameras at codes that do not seem to work, we will get rid of service discovery issues in app-based beacon-enabled content and interaction. The browser will serve as the principal source of content and interaction around us and will serve the relevant places and things at our convenience at a single point of entry: the lock screen.
  5. No beacons!
    The most promising feature of the physical web is not requiring installed, dedicated hardware: The Wi-Fi Alliance is already pushing Wi-Fi Aware to rival Bluetooth Smart and both Mac OS X and Windows 10 have universal Bluetooth libraries that enable 240 000 000 PCs in the world to power the physical web and act as Bluetooth beacons today.

With these advances, app-less proximity-based content and interaction will soon be available to practically anyone regardless of mobile platform, physical location and market size.

Try world’s first content and interaction platform for the physical web that will enable all of these advantages, sign up for Beeem now!

#physicalweb #ibeacon #eddystone #beacon

4 peeks at the future of mobile life

4 peeks at the future of mobile life

With a host of exciting news in recent weeks the future of proximity-based interaction on mobile looks ever more promising. Innovation in the domain is stepping up with several players producing wonderful results from the likes of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Opera Software, the Mozilla Foundation and Google.  

In this post, we will take a look at the 4 major areas of innovation that will shape proximity-based content and interaction on mobile:

  1. Proximity-based content and interaction from Bluetooth to WiFi
    With the Wi-Fi Alliance introducing the specification of Wi-Fi Aware the most obvious networking base technologies already actively support proximity-based mobile interaction. In the near future there will be a host of possibilities to advertise proximity-based content and interaction to nearby mobile devices: with the Bluetooth stack inching towards massive acceptance, the rival Wi-Fi stack is catching up.
    Patrick Keane’s recent tutorial on how to set up a simple mDNS physical web advertiser is a great example of what’s to come: beacons will play a role whenever infrastructure is not set for a long term for example at events. In other industries like retail Wi-Fi-based technologies will compete beside Bluetooth beacons for the role of infrastructure for the physical web.
  2. Engage with Mac and Windows without beacons
    The most attention in proximity-based mobile technologies was stolen by beacons: the iBeacon vs. Eddystone war is a great example of how the big tech companies can steal the attention of the media with a standards war.
    But there is a large untapped set of beacons available right now everywhere in the world: users of Mac OS X and Windows 10.0 can simulate beacons with the Bluetooth radios of their computers. With Mac OS X hovering around a 5% global market share and the affected version of Windows holding a close to 7% according to PC World, 1 in 4 computers in the world is capable of proximity-based content and interaction right now. That is a whopping 240 000 000 potential software-based beacons compared to a few million beacons currently in use.
    The first attemt at simulating physical web beacons was made available by Mikael Jergefelt on Github. A big thank you is well deserved for all contributors! The project is available at the following link.
    Another noteworthy project on the subject is Chrome OS. François Beaufort’s recent post points out that Chrome OS devices are now capable of advertising as an Eddystone beacon that will play a major role in digital signage among other areas.
  3. Go app-less in any mobile browser with the physical web
    Opera Physical Web Beacons with Beeem
    One of the most exciting pieces of news in recent weeks has been the post of Opera Software’s Bruce Lawson on Opera Labs’s latest Android release with their implementation of the physical web. The early development release is a very pleasant surprise. The interface is well thought out, the recognised eddystone beacons are well complemented with georeferenced wikipedia and other complementary content that creates a great UX. We truly see the future in this release and hope other browser developers are soon recognizing the importance of implementing the physical web in their strategies to provide proximtiy-based content and interaction on mobile.
    Among the innovators from Norway, the folks at Firefox OS team have already implemented the physical web and are hard at work at WebBluetooth. Jan Jongboom’s post on the matter is a great read and a wonderful look at the future of mobile computing in general.
  4. Mobile notifications from your favourite website
    Mobile notifications on Chrome 42 on AndroidWith the release of Chrome 42 on Android mobile notifications can be pushed to a Chrome user even when the browser is not running. With app usage concentrating to just a few apps Google’s vision is to empower the web with a set of features that will make it much more easy and convenient to use websites on mobile just like any app. This vision of the mobile web is further expanded with the physical web: adding a layer of physical context of the places and events around us will open up new advances in mobile computing.

Try world’s first content and interaction platform for the physical web that will enable all of these advantages, sign up for Beeem now!

#physicalweb #ibeacon #eddystone #beacon

The 3 new dimensions of store design for 2016

the 3 new dimensions of store design for 2016

As the global mobile phone and tablet penetration is widening the opportunities for expanding brick & mortar retail become a reality on a massive scale: digital signage will move beyond pre-installed displays and move onto the screens of the consumers.
In this post, we will take a look at the 3 new dimensions of a store that every store design professional will have to go for in 2016.

  1. Content
    “Content is King” – the famous quote from Bill Gates. Soon this will be true for retail. Having on-the-spot mobile content in stores will become a part of the routine for store design. From simple information sheets to animation, videos or even information on available stocks of a particular product inside the store will be the norm. To do this in a convenient and cost efficient fashion, the physical web will offer the necessary toolset for retailers: easy content management and seamless integration will be the key drivers over an App-based approach.
    Your store will act like your webshop and your customers will browse with their feet.
  2. Engagement
    Your customers love their smartphones but they will not engage with you with their devices unless you provide real value: this will most simply be done with omnichannel loyalty programs: coupons and loyalty cards are the norm these days in most every form and it is a shame the world is still tied to plastic and paper. This can be done with apps but development is painful and expensive. It took Starbucks 10 months to roll out in the US and is only partially rolled out in the UK. This app-based approach will only work with the most loyal, fan-like customer-base and only with brands that have significant following. For the other 90 percent of companies the much more convenient and cost effective physical web approach will provide the adequate entry point for engagement.
    You will be able to get rid of your expensive paper and plastic-based loyalty programs and coupons and drive revenue with e-commerce grade targeting.
  3. Payment
    The most important piece of the puzzle is completing the transactions. Payment will be much less expensive and much more data-rich through the devices of the customers. Compared to traditional POS solutions card processing fees range way lower in on-line payment processing due not requiring any devices or network access for the card readers. But the biggest added value will be the data: more data about the customers will ultimately allow for better customer service. Integrating mobile payment in retail apps will be expensive though. There is a much more cost effective method: the physical web will enable the key integration to web payment processing services that will make processing retail transactions a breeze.
    On the physical web your customers will pay just like they do on a webshop.

With over 2.5 billion smartphones new dimensions of retail are emerging. Having the targeting precision and data-rich decision-making of e-commerce with the colorful nature of brick & mortar retail will set new possibilities for retailers and brands alike.

Try world’s first content and interaction platform for the physical web that will enable all of these advantages, sign up for Beeem now!

#retail #retailtech #ibeacon #eddystone #beacon

6 reasons to rethink your event app and go for the physical web

6 reasons to rethink your app and go for the physical web

A little while ago the guys over at  wrote a post on the challenges of event apps called 6 Reasons to Re-Think Building your Own Event App. They presented some interesting insight into the main challenges event professionals face when developing a branded event app for their visitors. A lot of things happened in the time since the piece was written, the launch of Google Eddystone beacon format, and the cancellation Google HERE service inside Google Maps just to name a few major pieces of news for the booming retail and event technology industry.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the current situation in beacon technology. With the concept of the physical web, we can go further in analysis and explore the newest technology trends. How does the advent of the physical web change the situation in the Event Technology and the entire IoT landscape?

  1. Mobile Development Takes Forever
    Mobile app development is a complex task: with user requirements, meetings, walkthroughs, more meetings, project management, schedules and then some more meetings…mobile event app development offers very little in terms of instant gratification.
    The physical web will take care of that: you’ll select the communication tools add the proper content or interaction features, delegate the content tasks to exhibitors or partners who you can work together with, you’ll have a much more easy time developing your content!
  2. Mobile Development is Tough
    Let’s get real: you’re most likely are not – and most definitely do not need to be – an IT professional. And mobile app development is expecting a lot from you: understanding the fundamentals and the day-to-day tasks of mobile app development is a tough expectation that should not be!
    The physical web will change this: you will be basically drag-and-dropping your way to a website that you will be able to collaborate on with ease: delegating or sharing content tasks during preparation will be a snap! Deployment will be as easy as placing the physical web beacons to the desired locations of your event or venue!
  3. Mobile App Security is Important
    This is one of the key areas for the future: apps even from the biggest vendors rely on several techniques (like local databases) that are prone to data theft. This area of the security layer is very under-elaborated: event apps are typically low-used apps, developers are not likely to test them on big, global audiences. This means that data theft is less likely to be identified.
    The physical web relies on the standard web technologies that have been with us for over a decade now: with content delivery networks and massive security services behind them, your data is as secure as it can be!
  4. You’ll Need A LOT of Technical Support for that App!
    There is just too much hassle with tech support: apps have to be compatible with several screen sizes, browsers and settings that do not make it easy on event professionals. You need to remind yourself that this app is NEW to all of your visitors!
    Using standard web technologies, the physical web will replace all of these problems. All of the browsers on all of the major platforms (even on Windows Mobile 10) are HTML5 compatible to a high degree. This means that the physical web will render the same on all of these platforms and provide the same experience to all!
  5. App User Experience is a Learned Art Form
    With changing technologies and ever-bigger screen sizes, the design of the user experience is different for all target markets. Trying to provide the same UI for all events is a stretch: from teens to millennials through seniors, target markets have very-very differing content consumption and device use patterns. Using an app-based concept for event engagement will tie you down.
    With the physical web, your on-event interaction can be as simple and as tailored as you wish: from simple schedules to Q&As at talks, file sharing at stands all of the possibilities are in your hands!
  6. Publishing and Distributing Event Apps is no Cake-Walk
    No matter who you work with, no matter how much experience they have, especially on iOS you have to be ready within weeks of your event: app approval times are slightly rising on both platforms. The more complexity you have, the bigger the times are.
    The physical web will do away with this: you’ll be able to change content and interaction features on the fly even during the event itself! 

As these examples show, almost all of the challenges facing the Event marketing and Event technology segments will be solved with the Physical web and Google’s Eddystone beacon format allowing for mass acceptance of proximity-based information and interaction on a large scale.

Try world’s first content and interaction platform for the physical web that will enable all of these advantages, sign up for Beeem now!

#physicalweb #eddystone #ibeacon #eventtech #iot  #tradeshows

5 questions every store design professional needs to answer

With major advances in Bluetooth radio technology and smartphone penetration at an all-time high a whole new set of possibilities emerge for store design: linking physical store designs with digital content will allow for a completely new experience and a deeper level of understanding about the shopper.

kontakt.io1. What are beacons?

Beacons are tiny radio transmitters that signal smartphones and tablets of their existence. The signals then can be used to engage shoppers through their smartphones to provide interaction features or extra information about products or promotions.

Beacons do not require a lot of energy and can typically run from a single battery for up to 2 years.

2.What type of beacons are available? 

apple ibeaconApple has entered the beacon market in 2013 with its iBeacon format. This is a simple format and allows for pre-installed beacon-aware apps to provide hyperlocal features for app users.

google-eddystone-beaconIn 2015 Google announced their own cross-plaftorm beacon format called Eddystone. The new format is a forerunner of what Google calls the physical web. In the physical web any object can have engagement features attached to it through the use of these tiny beacons. From entire stores, to individual pieces of clothing on sale can deliver customized content to any shopper via the URLs broadcasted in every beacon. The Eddystone beacon format is open source and will foster much more innovation from the global beacon community.

3. What can retailers do with beacons?

The questions can be answered in two ways. Both of which are centered around one thing: DATA. Your customers – through their devices – will leave a trail of data behind them that will enable you to engage them with content and interaction features never before seen. Let’s look at the short term (within 6 months) and long term (2 years) possibilities.

SHORT TERM – Engaging every customer through the stores own individual web content will engage customers and enable interaction with specific shoppers on a never before seen scale. This will effectively put brick & mortar retail on par with e-commerce.

LONG TERM – Most every piece of item available at a store will have their own content on the physical web. Multimedia, interaction and feedback will instantly be available for any item. You’ll be able to add items to wish lists, and receive omnichannel offers in real-time. Shoppers with questions about products can have instant answers in real-time.

4. The trail of data?

The trail of data now available to brick & mortar retailers is a game-changer. As shoppers visit our physical web websites and use our interaction features they create a bucketload of data describing their shopping habits, interests,possible alternate sales and communication channels to name just a few. This trail of data will change the way we think of traditional retail.

5. What will we achieve with the data?

The rapid growth of e-commerce is mostly attributed to optimizing the sales funnel. Incorporating the same principles for brick & mortar will enable retailers and brands to have the same efficiency in optimizing their sales funnels and to link e-commerce activities with brick & mortar to enable true omnichannel commerce.

If you’re interested in becoming one of the first to try Beeem’s revolutionary Content Management System for the physical web, sign up now @ http://beeem.co!