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 4 essential steps to engage your visitors with the physical web

the 4 essential steps to engage your visitors with the physical web

The advances made by Google’s Physical Web will fundamentally change the way we interact with places in the world. From neat little toys like model cars, drones to more serious vending machines we can come to interact with a lot of things conveniently without having to download, install and then eventually uninstall apps.

To be able to provide this ease of use to our visitors and customers, we have to look at the four easy steps we need to take. In this post, I’ll be taking a close look at what you need to do in order to have app-less interaction with your visitors and customers using the Physical Web!

  1. Create your Physical web content
    Physical WebFirst, you will need to create the content and interaction for your event or venue. There are a lot of different scenarios in all the different possibilities of use, but you should all have one aim: provide value for your visitors and customers!
    There are tons of opportunities using simple tools from static content to interaction, like

    – Group chat at conferences
    – File sharing at booths in trade shows
    – Showing departure times at airports
    – Coupons at shopping malls
    – Ordering and payment at cafés and restaurants
    to name just a few.
  2. Put your beacons in place
    In order for the content and interaction to be placed in physical space, you need to put your Google Eddystone compatible beacons in your place or at the relevant locations at your venue. These beacons need to be programmed to broadcast the URL of your physical web content. This can easily be  done with any of the Eddystone compatible beacons.

    Google Eddystone Beacons
    Source: Google

    The trick with placing the beacons is thinking through all the places of interaction you want: for a small store or coffee shop, you might go for a single beacon. For restaurants and larger offices you might go for sections or rooms. For high-volume bars and live events you would be tempted to use a beacon for every single booth or table to handle the use cases you’re looking to cover.

  3. Engage your visitors
    Now, that your Physical web content is in place, you can sit back, and relax as your visitors use your content and get engaged with you! There are tons of opportunities using simple tools to create interaction or provide value to customers: automate ordering via phones in restaurants and bars or add a loyalty program in shops or share promotional documents at trade show booths…and the list goes on.
    Remember! You’re the one controlling and creating your Physical Web! You can change anything, anytime based on your experiences or you can try out new things to see how you can improve the experience at your event or venue!
  4. Analyze your performance
    One of the major advances with the physical web is the ability to have detailed measurements of any activity that you choose: you will have detailed information not only on your visitors but also on their behavioral patterns just like on your website!
    This is the true power of the physical web: having the same quality of data and ability for precision as the web, the retail, and event industries will once again have the same drive and energy as before!

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 #festivals #retail

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 reasons iBeacon fails and the Physical Web succeeds

5 reasons ibeacon fails and the physical web succeeds

Some time ago, Peter Williams, Product Director and Co-founder at Localz wrote a great piece on The top 5 reasons why iBeacon projects fail. A lot of things happened in the short time since the post was published, Google launched their own Eddystone beacon format, and the cancellation Google HERE service inside Google Maps was leaked. These stories are just the icing of the cake for the retail and event technology industry space that is clearly booming.

In this post, we will take a look at the current situation in the beacon technology space. 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 Retail, Event technology and the entire IoT landscape?

1. There’s no real benefit

The physical web will make trying to make people install our app for no apparent reason to them a thing of the past: the offered functionality and the benefit to the visitors or customers will be perfectly clear from the start. The interaction inside the physical web site will be a breeze!

2. It’s an isolated experience

The use of the web has become commonplace in almost all sectors of life. The expansion of the web to physical spaces will make using our prior knowledge of our visitor or customer a much easier and way less expensive task! Integrating a payment gateway, an omnichannel commerce engine or your social media is trivial and will enhance functionality to never before seen levels.

3. Reliance on a single technology

iOS versions SOURCE: AppleAndroid version breakdownAs time goes on, both iOS and Android make strides in their platforms that continually increase the penetration of BlueTooth. As more and more BlueTooth 4 devices are out there, the power management worries are going to fade away quickly. Both platform vendors are strongly pushing BlueTooth to be turned on. For example, iOS is warning users in their settings menu. And Android is allowing for the BlueTooth radio to be turned on by an app if required.

4. Lack of integration to what already exists

This part is most likely the biggest advance the physical web is making in relation to apps: the World-Wide-Web had a phenomenal 25 years since it’s inception. This run of success can be attributed to the strength and flexibility of the web to be an application platform. And the same thing will happen on mobile. To quote from the World Wide Web Consortium’s latest document on Standards for Web Applications on Mobile:
“Web technologies have become powerful enough that they are used to build full-featured applications; this has been true for many years in the desktop and laptop computer realm, but is increasingly so on mobile devices as well.”

5. Security & privacy non-compliance

Creating proximity-based interaction will no longer be a threat to security. Using standard web technologies will provide the same level of security we have enjoyed on the web for years. The same principals and legal background can be applied to your physical web content as your current content on the web. The use of standard web technologies has raised the bar in IT security. The use of apps will no longer create a hole in the privacy and security compliance domain of your IT strategy.

As these examples show, the Physical web and Google’s Eddystone beacon format will solve almost all of the challenges facing the Retail and Event marketing segments 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 #retail #festivals #iot  #tradeshows