iBeacon Technology Overview

You have surely heard the term iBeacon or come into contact with this technology, which has been described as a transmitter that can awaken smart phones. This technology has been the subject of discussion in particular since the most recent Mobile World Congress.

What are iBeacons?

An iBeacon is a beacon that transmits a low-energy Bluetooth signal that allows for phones in close proximity to be detected.

How do they work?

An application is installed on the phone that receives the Bluetooth signal. Once the signal is received, either the phone decides to awaken the application such that the target receives a notification, or the application executes an action (e.g. recovering a video or providing a fact sheet).

What are some practical applications of this technology?

 

There are many ways in which this technology can be applied. For instance, iBeacons could be set up in shopping malls, where there is a growing interest in the potential to use them to send promotional offers to customers. In so doing, businesses may use iBeacons to collect qualified data, as is the case with e-Commerce, in addition to improving in-store sales. iBeacons also allow for the inexpensive geolocation of customers, who can be tracked by businesses during their shopping experience.

Another potential application of iBeacons is to the tourism industry, where they can be used to complete the automatic check-in of guests upon their arrival at a hotel. Guests enter the hotel’s iBeacon hotspot and receive a message informing them that their room is ready for them on the fifth floor! With iBeacons, tourism can thus become more interactive and personalized.

In the food service industry, customers who walk past a restaurant can receive a push notification containing the menu of the day or information concerning various future events.

How to set up an iBeacon

 

First, install your iBeacon. To do so, create your iBeacon, then start a new “project” for your iBeacon. What is a project? It is one of several content items that you can associate to the iBeacon in question (e.g. different sets of information sent to visitors at a museum according to whether the visitor is a teacher, a student or another member of the public).

 

Next, create your content. Create a “place”. What does “place” mean? This term refers to a given beacon (e.g. exhibit A in a museum). However, it is also possible to link several locations to a given beacon (e.g. one beacon in a room for exhibits A, B and C). Next, link a place to your beacon and add a “card” to this place.

Information that you may add as a “card” includes tests, images, audio, video, widgets and web links.

Finally, test your technology. To do so, publish your project, open your application on your smartphone, place your beacons and test them by walking close to them with your device.

You are now familiar with the iBeacon technology and will be able to explain this concept to others.

MOVIN’ON 2017: Sustainable Mobility in Smart Cities

Last week, Montreal hosted the 13th edition of the global sustainable mobility summit MOVIN ON. In the creative environment of this event, visionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs gathered together from the four corners of the globe to present and discuss subjects and innovations that concern mobility. One watchword guided their interactions: innovation.

“Innovation is not a new idea we have, but an old belief we get rid of.” (Bertrand Piccard, Psychiatrist and Solar Flight Pioneer)

How is mobility moving forward in 2017, and what are the current innovations, advances and concerns in the field? By learning about the themes covered and the technologies presented at MOVIN’ON, attendees were able to understand in concrete terms the issues inherent to sustainable mobility. But one element remains central to this all: user experience.

Smart Transportation

Members of Generation Y who live in urban centres are rethinking their methods of transportation. They increasingly wish to distance themselves from the daily use of cars, which creates a sizeable dent in their pocketbook even though they only use cars 1% of the time. With Communauto, Amigo Express and other car rental and carpooling solutions, shared mobility is more dominant than ever before.

Mobility is thus becoming thought of as a service or commodity, and the concept of Mobility as a Service (or “MaaS”) is developing to a greater degree. What is MaaS? This term refers to a multimodal urban mobility system that aims to simplify the movement of users as much as possible by combining diverse types of transportation within a sole and unique service. This involves offering personalized solutions according to the individual needs of each user. The only thing that users need to worry about is their target location and time of arrival. Scheduling, offers for multimodal transportation and reservations are all encompassed within one application. A few Uber-inspired services that integrate this concept have already been introduced. But emerging technologies push these concepts even further and are disrupting current economic models: among other things, we will see car manufacturers launching their own self-driving taxi services in Smart Cities.

 Smart Cities

Smart Cities collect a lot of data about themselves. To obtain a better grasp of their reality, Smart Cities pay attention to social media, traffic, the weather and all other events that concern them. Today, Montreal already has tools such as Transit App and Moovit that allow it to measure road congestion, accidents or construction in real time and to predict the impact that these elements have on traffic.

Over the last several years, several billions of dollars have been invested in artificial intelligence, particularly as regards self-driving vehicles, and many results have already been seen with companies such as Google and Uber. These advances combining self-driving vehicles and MaaS make it possible for projects such as that completed by nuTonomy in the roads of Singapore, where self-driving taxis have been transporting passengers since August 2016.

Self-Driving Cars for Use by the Public Promised for 2025, Self-Driving Taxis Promised for 2030

If we consider that 90% of road accidents are the result of human error, the automatization of vehicles stands to improve the safety of cities substantially. Another concern for Smart Cities is to optimize the use of their resources to reduce consumption costs and to design more sustainable models. But the implementation of these processes has associated challenges as regards infrastructure and legislation. Concerns relating to cybersecurity also exist: how secure should the data be? What are the risks of piracy?

Building Trust with Users

All of these concerns gravitate around one key point: user trust. This element is one – if not the most important – obstacle to the marketing of self-driving vehicles. How will passengers react to a car that has no steering wheel? To what extent are they comfortable with the use of their personal data?

Beyond the revolutionary technology aspect of these solutions, we need to rethink, adopt a new perspective and place user experience at the core of innovation. If we push technological advancement too quickly without giving individuals time to adapt, they will not yet be ready enough to accept such changes in their lifestyle because they will consider them to be too risky. A lot of work remains to be done to help the evolution of how mobility is thought about and understood.

Just like a project leader who implements a new solution with his or her client, the city-wide integration of self-driving vehicles is a lengthy process. To gain user trust, manufacturers are working hard and testing solutions that are 100% safe for users.

In the same manner as change management consultants, it is by working together and mobilizing all players at different levels of a project, both among private commercial entities and members of the public, that we can help such changes succeed.

A cet effet, on dit sur le site Internet de MOVIN’ON : « MOVIN’ON will be the 13th edition of the global sustainable mobility summit. It will be held on June 13, 14 and 15, 2017 in Montreal ».