What if you could place a sticker on your bike that would track your routes around the city? Or, what if you could visit a restaurant and send your order to the kitchen before you’ve even spoken to the waitstaff?
As it turns out, you can!
Glance recently spoke with Wojtek Borowicz, Community Evangelist at Estimote to learn more about geolocation technology.
In what ways can apps work with geolocation devices?
At Estimote, we’re building a microlocation technology based on beacons. The number of applications is infinite. Beacons provide apps with context of the physical world hat are more granular than anything before. An airport app can know which gate you’re at, a restaurant app can know where you’re seated, and a museum app can know which painting you’re looking at. We’ve even seen beacons installed at a nuclear facility and integrated into the staff permission system. The possibilities are endless, and our developer community surprises us every week with new projects and ideas.
Location context is a huge power. And yes, with great power comes great responsibility – especially concerning privacy.
How is microlocation a benefit to the user?
Imagine that you’re in an airport and an indoor navigation system guides you to the right gate. Or that you’re in a massive retail store and you can call a customer service rep to your location with a single tap.
What businesses have used this technology?
Take a look at:
Wisely: their loyalty platform for restaurants uses Estimote Beacons. The moment you enter the venue, staff can see your profile and preferences.
Robin: they turn offices into smart workplaces with the use of microlocation.
CrowdCompass: makes event apps more relevant thanks to physical world context.
Think of contextual computing as a way to make mobile experiences frictionless. Smarter apps benefit both the user and developers.
Are there any setbacks with the technology, and how are those problems being worked through or addressed?
Beacons are still a new technology, and there are many misconceptions about them. There was some concern about spying with beacons, but it was nothing more than fearmongering. User privacy is important, and that’s exactly why iBeacon itself was designed as an opt-in solution. Beacons cannot send or gather any data themselves. It requires people to download an app and grant it a permission to access location data before any interaction with beacons can happen.
And because beacons are fresh, everyone is still experimenting and testing. Best practices and standards are still being established. Brands and SMBs are developing different strategies for driving revenue through microlocation. Technology vendors are figuring out how to best monetize their stack, and VCs are making bets on beacon startups; but this is still uncharted territory. We’re yet to find what the best ideas and the most successful strategies are.