"Today, Purple Forge Corp, a provider of community engagement and self service solutions to governments and enterprise organizations, announced it has become a Watson Ecosystem Partner.
Purple Forge’s Powered by IBM Watson solution leverages Watson QA and natural language processing capabilities in order to allow users to ask questions and receive evidence-based answers using a website, smartphone or wearable devices such as the Apple Watch, without having to wait for a call agent or a reply to an email.
The City of Surrey in British Columbia will be the first public sector organization to pilot the Purple Forge Powered by IBM Watson solution. The solution will be offered to city residents as part of the ‘My Surrey’ mobile and web apps that citizens currently use to obtain information for a wide range of government services such as recycling schedule, job opportunities, and recreational activities.
“IBM Watson’s learning abilities are such that the technology builds its knowledge and improves as citizens use it, much in the same way humans learn,” said Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of Innovation & Investment Committee. “This pilot is expected to enhance customer experience by increasing the accessibility of services, while providing City with insight into opportunities for improvement and reduction to service delivery costs.”"

To read more: Pressreleaserocket
"Apple and IBM’s enterprise partnership has yielded 10 new apps, including one that targets business travellers and others that make use of predictive analytics and iBeacons.
The companies said last July they were working together to build apps for industries like health care, retail, and insurance. IBM also said it would sell and support Apple hardware.
The first 10 apps came out in December, with further batches following in March andApril. With the latest announcement, the companies have launched almost three dozen apps.
There are four in a new category called “employee experience.” The Travel Plan iPhone app helps workers plan business travel by reviewing their calendar and identifying possible trips. The app can also look over a person’s travel history and suggest bookings for things like hotel accommodation."

To read more, head over to PC World

"When creating real world, non-digital advertisements, you can pretty much guarantee that when the viewer sees them, they will have their mobile with them. This is becoming more and more true in developing nations too, as mobile penetration rises.

The tricky part is the link. There are many ways to link offline and mobile marketing, driving users to enter details, share, buy and engage digitally, but how many of them work well? We spoke to a number of industry professionals to find out which methods of bridging the gap they see as being the most effective. As always, please do comment below if you have any input.

Matthew Davis from Stepleader
“Beacons, the little Bluetooth devices that retailers have fallen in love with, hold promise for bridging the physical and digital marketing divide. By placing beacons in retail locations, marketers will be able to verify when an app-using customer walks through the door. With the right tools, they see attribution between mobile campaigns and in-store visits.”
Read more at Go-Mash Mobile

What is iBeacon?

The term iBeacon and Beacon are often used interchangeably. iBeacon is the name for Apple’s technology standard, which allows Mobile Apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world and react accordingly. In essence, iBeacon technology allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, and deliver hyper-contextual content to users based on location. The underlying communication technology is Bluetooth Low Energy.

What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?

Bluetooth Low Energy is a wireless personal area network technology used for transmitting data over short distances. As the name implies, it’s designed for low energy consumption and cost, while maintaining a communication range similar to that of its predecessor, Classic Bluetooth.

How is BLE different from Regular Bluetooth?
  • Power Consumption: Bluetooth LE, as the name hints, has low energy requirements. It can last up to 3 years on a single coin cell battery. 
  • Lower Cost: BLE is 60-80% cheaper than traditional Bluetooth. 
  • Application: BLE is ideal for simple applications requiring small periodic transfers of data. Classic Bluetooth is preferred for more complex applications requiring consistent communication and more data throughput.

How does BLE communication work?

BLE communication consists primarily of “Advertisements”, or small packets of data, broadcast at a regular interval by Beacons or other BLE enabled devices via radio waves.

BLE Advertising is a one-way communication method. Beacons that want to be “discovered” can broadcast, or “Advertise” self-contained packets of data in set intervals. These packets are meant to be collected by devices like smartphones, where they can be used for a variety of smartphone applications to trigger things like push messages, app actions, and prompts.

Apple’s iBeacon standard calls for an optimal broadcast interval of 100 ms. Broadcasting more frequently uses more battery life but allows for quicker discovery by smartphones and other listening devices.

Standard BLE has a broadcast range of up to 100 meters, which make Beacons ideal for indoor location tracking and awareness.

How does iBeacon use BLE communication?

With iBeacon, Apple has standardized the format for BLE Advertising. Under this format, an advertising packet consists of four main pieces of information.

UUID: This is a 16 byte string used to differentiate a large group of related beacons. For example, if Coca-Cola maintained a network of beacons in a chain of grocery stores, all Coca-Cola beacons would share the same UUID. This allows Coca-Cola’s dedicated smartphone app to know which beacon advertisements come from Coca-Cola-owned beacons.

Major: This is a 2 byte string used to distinguish a smaller subset of beacons within the larger group. For example, if Coca-Cola had four beacons in a particular grocery store, all four would have the same Major. This allows Coca-Cola to know exactly which store its customer is in.

Minor: This is a 2 byte string meant to identify individual beacons. Keeping with the Coca-Cola example, a beacon at the front of the store would have its own unique Minor. This allows Coca-Cola’s dedicated app to know exactly where the customer is in the store.

Tx Power: This is used to determine proximity (distance) from the beacon. How does this work? TX power is defined as the strength of the signal exactly 1 meter from the device. This has to be calibrated and hardcoded in advance. Devices can then use this as a baseline to give a rough distance estimate.


A beacon broadcasts the following packet

UUID: 12345678910245

Major: 22

Minor: 2

A device receiving this packet would understand it’s from the Coca-Cola Beacon (UUID) in the Target on 1st Street (Major) at the front of the store (Minor).

Ok, so what can these iBeacons do, really?

Funny you should ask. The real questions is what can't they do now and what can't they do in the near future!

Resources Tracking

Restaurants all over the world have shown us how useful mobile technologies are: PDA-equipped waitresses don’t have to rush to the kitchen in order to dispatch orders. In other cases, clients can directly make them using a tablet available at the table.

With pre-beacon technology, mobile apps running on waiters’ PDAs require the user to select the table number every time he or she takes an order. With beacons, the app automatically knows which table the waiter is at. It displays the name of the client (and eventual dinning/preferences history), and automatically associates the order being made to the table in context, without requiring the waiter to manually select the table number.

Classroom & Education

The iBeacon platform offers a wide range or applications that can be applied on an educational context. From simple games that require students to move around, explore and find things to more scientifc or technical experiments in the classroom, iBeacon is a great tool to stimulate young minds and drive curiosity towards subjects like geography, context, automation, logic and technology.

The Zoo App

Imagine a Zoo mobile app, which visitors open once they get into the park. When they are close to selected attractions, the app fires a notification/image/video with information of what is being looked at. It can tell visitors: “Give some peanuts to the monkey now and watch your arm disappear in 1 second”

Smart Sushi

You've probably seen sushi joints that use conveyor belts to move sushi in front of you. Now, imagine if each of those plates have a small sensor sticked under them. With the restaurant's app opened, hugry customers can see detailed information about what's in front of them, including price, nutrition information, ingredients, origin of the fish and much more. By clicking a 'I got it' button, patrons can also keep track of their current bill without worrying about dish color codes normally used in conveyor belts joints.

Retail Shop Experience

Clients can receive instant and limited offers as they walk inside the store or grocery shop. The store app can even trigger remote events, such as blinking lights inside a fridge to get the person’s attention when he/she walks close.

Loyalty Programs

NFC technology does not offer the range of possibilities that Bluetooth does and iBeacons can be used to do something very similar to what NFC does. When adjusted to be ranged within very short distances, iBeacons can be deployed to allow communication between stationary beacons and loyalty program apps. In a more advanced scenario, both the app and the stationary sensor can perform passive (listener) and active (broadcaster) actions, allowing short-range, two-way communication between the app and the iBeacon sensor.

Already work within one of the applications of iBeacons? Have an idea for a new use? Let's talk! Mobecan supports custom development!

Source: Nerdery

Beacons have been getting a lot of press lately about how they are going to transform retail, but iBeacons are much more than that.  You can use them for a bunch of cool stuff with your iPhone, your Mac, and a couple of iBeacons.  First, a bit of background. iBeacons are Bluetooth devices that broadcast to your iPhone or iPad to let them know the beacons are nearby.
Here are 10 awesome things you can do right now using iBeacons. All of these work with any iBeacon, but they work great with our Bleu Station iBeacons.  Here they are:
  • “Auto-Lock and walk” your Mac
  • Flip iChat Status to “Out” when stepping away
  • Send a notification as you arrive
  • Create your own “club card” with passbook
  • Remotely snap a webcam photo and email it to yourself
  • Light turn on when you arrive
  • Post to group chat  as staff enter or leave the building
  • Make a dramatic entrance as “Eye of the Tiger” starts playing when you walk in.
  • Keep a log of when you enter and leave your car in google docs
  • Post a message to Twitter when near a beacon
Most of these tips make heavy use of Geohopper for iOS, since it is a great general purpose tool for making things happen when you are near an iBeacon. Geohopper for iOS can be downloaded for free from the App Store. The web services are available as in-app purchases.  Initial setup of Geohopper requires email registration and configuration to add your iBeacons to the list of regions. Setup is easy and in a few minutes you’ll be ready to start using iBeacon triggers.
Geohopper for Mac is the sibling of Geohopper for iOS and, as the name states, runs on your Mac. Geohopper for Mac harnesses the capabilities of your Mac for proximity detection and is available on the App Store for just a few dollars.

Source: twocanoes

Here is a fun drone hack from our Disrupt NY Hackathon. FloNew brings together Gimbal beacons, Esri mapping, Nexmo‘s communications platform and Parrot’s RollingSpider MiniDrones. Using FloNew’s mobile app, you can automatically send your drone to any of your nearby beacons.
During our hackathon, Andre Smith and Gabriel Velez built the mobile app to deploy the drone and hacked into the MiniDrone to be able to control it (Parrot doesn’t make that especially easy). Sadly, the onstage demo failed because the drone didn’t have a line of sight to the gimbal beacon, but the team had set up four beacons and the idea was to have the drone move between them with a push of a button.
Clearly, the practical applications for delivering goods with ParrotMini drones is limited. But hey — it’s a hackathon project, not a competitor to Amazon’s PrimeAir project.The whole system uses Bluetooth LE, so the range is pretty limited anyway.
You can find the code the team developed for this project on GitHub. What’s cool here is that Smith and Velez used Node.js to build this project, so if you ever wanted to use JavaScript to control a drone, this is your chance.
Source: TechCruch
To state the obvious: Modern, smartphone-toting humans spend most of their time indoors.
EstimoteAn Estimote beacon
But indoor spaces often block cell signals and make it nearly impossible to locate devices via GPS. Beacons are a solution.
Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. They are poised to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors. Consumers might even want to deploy them as part of home automation systems.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explain what beacons are, how they work, and how Apple — with its iBeacon implementation — is championing this new paradigm for indoor mobile communication. We also take a look at the barriers in the way of widespread adoption.
Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Trial Today »
Here are some of our findings:
  • In-store retail and offline payments are in the first wave of beacon applications. Retail outlets are adopting beacons to provide customers with product information, flash sales or deals, and to speed up the checkout process with a completely contactless payments system.
  • Consumers seem receptive to beacons as a way to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Half of American adults already utilize their mobile devices in stores. Consumers could also use them to inexpensively automate their homes. For example, beacons could turn on lights in a room as soon as someone with a smartphone has entered them, or open doors or window shades.
  • But there's a barrier to wide adoption of beacon technology: several layers of permissions.Customers have to turn on Bluetooth, accept location services on the relevant app and opt-in to receive in-store or indoor notifications.
  • People are confused about Apple iBeacon because it has yet to take a true physical form. Apple hasn't manufactured a physical beacon. Instead, Apple's iBeacon is built into its devices and iOS7 mobile operating system. Already, 200 million iOS devices can already serve as transmitters and receivers. But third-party manufacturers have built beacons that can send iBeacon messages to Apple devices.
  • The beacon wars are heating up. PayPal and Qualcomm are gearing up to challenge Apple with beacon hardware of their own. Smaller vendors like EstimoteSwirl, and GPShopper are entering the mix with beacon management and consulting on top of hardware or software platforms.
  • The applications go beyond retail: We expect beacons to be deployed all over airports and ground transit hubs so that notifications on departures, delays, and gate and platform assignments can be delivered instantly to passenger phones.

Source: Business Insider