What to do with iBeacons?

One of my first projects I endeavoured out of Uni was building a proximity marketing service using some discounted Motorola phones with JSR-82. Imagine being able to push messages to customers in proximity with vouchers and special offers – reality of this was spam, unsolicited messages interrupting the customer, normally inconveniently. A lot of the ‘services’ currently being implemented using iBeacon remind me of these days, the good news that this time round the user has to ‘opt-in’ i.e. install an app. 

Since then my interest has shifted from being intrusive to invisible and you can see this with our current iBeacon prototype at Razorfish UK.   

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Social App Discovery (prototype)

The app ecosystem has exploded over the last few years; creating inefficiencies for app discovery. Great for the platform vendors but not for the developers (or users), there have been numerous attempts to improve this, some of the obvious ones listed below (ignoring marketing tactics such as free-app-a-day):

  • Vertical and specialised app stores (Amazon, Samsung, Sony, …)
  • Cross promotional networks
  • Review sites
  • Increased categories
  • Improved recommendations
  • Third party apps (e.g. AppFlow, Appreciate, …)

This inefficiency is one major reason why Just-in-Time Interactions makes sense, especially as the app model extends to other platforms (desktop, TV, SmartWatchers, …).

Haven been faced this with question many times (how to market a mobile app) I thought I would have an attempt in making app discovery more relevant.

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Prototype for a Digital Innovation Contest (Games)

I came across a competition recently that sounded interesting (and of interest) – the competition is organised by a UK Government technology board called IC Tomorrow and sponsored by Google Chrome (details here). The competition is to explore new ways of initiating web apps using new technologies, description shown below:

New technology can change the way mobile web games are shared and initiated between players. Typically, mobile web games (i.e. those run in a browser, not native apps) are started by typing in a web address on a mobile device and shared by sending the address to friends. More innovative ways to start games’ sessions between users on the web will increase the potential for games to engage and attract players. This challenge seeks the development of a new service or new interaction that will encourage players to start their games’ sessions with other users with as little effort as possible.

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Adding perspective with face tracking

One of the most immersive applications we have played with is Let’s create! Pottery; it’s a zen-type game that allows its users to create pottery in an incredibly intuitive way.

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One feature that contributes to making this experience immersive is its responsive background i.e. as the user pivots the device around the background slightly pans as a response, similar to a parallax effect in that it gives the user the feeling of depth and realism.

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Practitioners Look At SmartWatches

Not a week goes by without seeing an article about a new SmartWatch or some discussion about the future of wearable computing (rings, clothes, IOT, …). Having being always inspired gadgets like Dick Tracy’s watch I have always kept a fairly close eye on this space and recently decided to jump in and build something to better learn about the opportunities and constraints of building for a SmartWatch (or wearable tech in general). In this short article I’ll describe my learnings and present my opinion of some practical uses for a SmartWatch.

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