A New Era of Proximity in Mobility

Macworld 2014 in San Francisco was nothing short of a great time and the interest in beacon-related technology was inspiring. While there were a few people that stopped by our Twocanoes booth that had not heard of iBeacons before the conference, most attendees already established ideas about how iBeacons could be used. They were excited to discuss these ideas as well as the scavenger hunt and the check-in process, as this was the first year Macworld used beacon-enabled registration.

Everyone we talked to had received their pre-registration Passbook pass and had used it to check-in to the conference. Those who did not have Bluetooth turned on were still eager to use their iPhone to get through the registration process. Macworld attendees we spoke to thought it was an intuitive process that streamlined the normal check-in dance and we couldn’t agree more. We expect to see iPhones and iBeacons used in a wide range of conferences in the future with various functions. These functions will improve the attendee experience and can range from finding areas on the show floor, check-in at sessions, communication with attendees during the show, and sharing of contact information.

With all of the iBeacon buzz at Macworld I was still able to take the short trip across the venue to present at the MacIT conference breakout session. The topic being “iBeacons and Proximity in Your Organization (you can view my slides here). MacIT runs in parallel to Macworld/iWorld but is more directed at large institution and system administrators. About 100 people showed up to talk about iBeacons and iBeacon-technology. The interest in using beacons ranged from home automation to campus tours and museums. I heard stories from people who were using both iOS Geohopper and Mac Geohopper in interesting and creative ways. The general consensus from the session was that iBeacons represent a new era of proximity in mobility and great possibilities. There were some great discussions on privacy, security and best practices for deployment. I get the sense that we are moving from the assessment phase of this modern technology to a new phase where people are starting to build solutions on top of proximity and iBeacons. It has been very interesting to see this transition take place and I am anxious to see what comes next.

Also, during the events, I was able to talk with some great podcasters on the show floor (see list below). I love the fact that this isn’t an area that they are just looking at, but actively integrating into their lives. We have already seen the use of Geohopper and Bleu Stations on our discussion forums and support questions. It was great to connect with these folks.

Macworld 2014 was one of the first beacon-enabled events and we were happy to help make history! The process was fun and seamless. I am looking forward to Macworld 2015 as well as many other conferences in the coming year. I have no doubt that in a year’s time we will all look back and be amazed at how beacons have become part of every conference and a majority of apps.

If the buzz around iBeacons during the Macworld and MacIT events are any indication of the future, the future looks bright for Bleu Station.

Podcasts at MacWorld/MacIT
MacCast with Adam Christianson
NosillaCast/Mac Podcast with Allison Sheridan
Mac OS Ken with Ken Ray