Today is a big day at twocanoes. We are releasing six new or updated projects to support our efforts around proximity.
The biggest news is our iBeacon hardware, Bleu Station. When adding in support for iBeacons to Geohopper for iOS so Geohopper can notify your friends and family when in the proximity of a beacon, we developed some test iBeacons to make sure Geohopper works great with them. During the development, it became obvious that micro-location and indoor navigation opens up some very exciting possibilities. We took a step back and focused on how to make the best iBeacons devices possible. We wanted to make set up and deployment as easy as possible, and make tuning the beacons simple and effective. We wanted to beacons to be small. Crazy small so that they can be deployed anywhere and be invisible. We also wanted them to be as flexible as possible so you can plug them in anywhere.
We think we accomplished all of those goals. The software that runs on the Bleu Stations is our own, and we made it work great with our setup app, Bleu Setup. The Bleu Station is compatible with Apple’s iBeacon protocol, but we didn’t stop there. We added in some great administration features (like password authentication for setup versus pairing) and some features that make working in complex environments easy (dynamic power adjustment, client settings discoverable on the beacon itself), and even some great tie in with GPS (you can store GPS coordinates on the beacon itself so the iOS device will not only know how close it is to a beacon, but where it is located on the planet). The size is amazing as well. It is about the size of the metal USB tip of a USB thumb drive. And since it plugs in using the standard USB connector, you can plug it into any USB port and it will start broadcasting. This includes USB power adapters for AC, the USB port on your computer, the USB port in your car, or even a USB battery pack. Here is what it looks like:
To set it all up, we developed a great app called Bleu Setup that works seamlessly with our Bleu Stations. Just open up the app and it will automatically discover any Bleu Stations nearby. You authenticate with a password, enter in a few settings, and your are up and running in just a few seconds. And the interface is awesome:
Once your have set up your Bleu Station, you can share the settings widely by publishing it on our new Beaconfinder.com website. We are going to be populating this site with any beacons we find that are broadcasting iBeacon compatible signals and then you can discover and use them. We are going to be adding in a full web API, but for the moment, you can just get some simple data back both in HTML and JSON.
Bleu Stations work great with any app that supports iBeacons, but it really shines when using it with the updated Geohopper for iOS. On iOS 7, Geohopper for iOS has a new iBeacon button in the Regions screen to add in an beacon. Once you add in the beacon, you can start triggering enter and exit events when you are in proximity of the beacon. The new Geohopper for iOS adds in web hooks as a service, so you can automatically notify your own web service of proximity events. We have tested it with services such as zapier, and it works great. Automatically doing things like creating a Google Doc spreadsheet of your trips to the gym or to a customer is now trivial to accomplish.
We also announced a new totally new app, Geohopper for Mac. It does something that we have not seen other apps do in the Mac app store: Receive push notifications and automatically run scripts to do whatever you want. The possibilities are endless. Imagine walking away from your computer, and having it automatically lock the screen. Or walking into your office and have your computer announce your arrival. Or turn on a light. Or play a song. It is all possible now and easy to set up. Here is what an action looks like:
Since we know that people are going to love Actions and not everyone writes scripts, we created a great place for people to share their Actions. If you create an awesome action and want to share it, head over to our actions sharing page and paste in your script. We do a quick check to make sure the script does what it is supposed to do, and then it gets published. You can see who submitted scripts, what they do, and even rate them. We published a few example scripts and will be adding more as time goes by. We are excited to see what scripts people create.
We are just getting started. We already have some great plans on future updates so keep checking back.