12/3/2015

4 exciting things you can do thanks to beacon technology

Finding the nearest coffee corner

How can you find the closest coffee machine at 7 o’clock in the morning in a large venue you have never been before? That was the only thing I could think of when I was waiting in the lobby of the airport. An indoor GPS-like system would do the trick, wouldn’t it?

3 hours later, I sat on the plane, taking a nip from my Starbucks cup of pleasure. Next to me was a guy called George. George happened to be the owner of Bluepath, a company specialized in beacon technology. And do you know what they focus on? On navigation in buildings, location sharing,  position bookmarking, … What a coincidence!

The power of beacons

Beacons are small devices that you can attach to a wall or countertop. By means of Bluetooth connections, they transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.

It sounded like an ultimate chance to combine our companies’ strengths and create solutions. Think of building applications (mobile and web) and connect those with this beacon technology.

Let’s have a look at the possibilities.

1. Indoor positioning

You probably remember the huge map at the entrance of your favorite park, with the red circle indicating ‘You are here’. These days, the ‘You are here’ sign can be found on your mobile. Quite a lot of theme parks have downloadable apps, with an interactive map, making it easy for you to locate yourself, and see the nearby attractions. With the beacon technology, this is now also possible for indoor locations, such as airports, shopping malls, and indoor theme parks.

The indoor positioning API contains the algorithms and interfaces to provide a state-of-art indoor positioning system. It’s designed to be integrated also in an existing mobile.

2. Indoor navigation

Once you have located yourself, it can be handy to trace the shortest route to your favorite attraction or shop. Thanks to the indoor navigation API, you can even obtain turn-by-turn directions in real time.

The API chalks out the shortest distance to your point of interest using the best routing algorithms.

 

3. Location sharing

If you are somewhere fun, you might feel the urge to share it with your friends. And maybe, someone you know is nearby, so you can meet up? With one single tap, you can share your location in real time. Quite some apps are integrated with Facebook, so that no additional registration is required.

4. Position bookmarking

Your favorite bookstore in the shopping mall, or the cozy coffee bar where you weekly meet up with your best friend? With the position bookmarking API, you can save your favorite location in a venue locally or on the cloud platform. Thanks to this cloud integration, you can even sync bookmarks between multiple devices. Of course, the bookmarks are integrated with the indoor navigation API, making it possible to calculate precise directions with a single tap.

Enroll the mobile web world in your surroundings

Every day we use our smartphone. Sometimes even more than we realize. Why not use it more accurately? And benefit from it?

The capabilities of the beacon technology are there. It is up to you how to use it.

 

Author: Nick Thienpondt. You can follow Nick on Twitter (@NThienpondt) or connect with him on LinkedIn