Mobile Solutions

Location-aware Google App for Handsets

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Google Nearby

An Android update is Nearby—that is, Nearby Google.

Google says "we're introducing a new Android feature called “Nearby,” which notifies you of things that can be helpful near you."

This app turns every Android phone into beacon transmitters and receivers.

It is an update to Google Play Services and is compatible with Android 4.4 KitKat and newer.

When you are in a location for which there is an appropriate app or web site, a notification will pop up which you can either interact with or swipe away. 

And it's not just location that can be used as triggers.

When you select “Google Devices” on your Android phone (including Google Cast and Android Wear watches), Nearby will also let you set them up simply by tapping a notification when you're near them.

Other possible scenarios suggested by Google include:

  • Print photos directly from your phone
  • Explore historical landmarks.
  • Download an audio tour
  • Skip the customs line at select airports with Mobile Passport.
  • Download the airlines app for free in-flight entertainment while you wait at the gate, before you board your flight.

It would seem Google misses the obvious by not highlighting digital signage: yet not all consumers are fond of location-related advertising, so maybe it is less of a miss and more of an omission during the time Google must hurry to get consumers to adopt Nearby.

To take advantage of Nearby, consumers will need to have both Bluetooth and Location services (you can opt out by having one-- or both-- of these settings disabled).

Developers can deploy their own beacons to work with Google’s Nearby.  

Watch Google’s Nearby Feature in Action

Go More about Google Nearby

Panasonic Develops Displays With “Light ID”

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Panasonic Light ID

Panasonic Light ID links digital signage with smartphones.

The system uses a dedicated mobile app to share content in real time between Light ID transmitters (embedded in displays and LED signboards) to smartphones. It provides detailed information through blinking LEDs at a speed beyond recognition by the human eye.

This system enables the transmission of Light IDs from a display using high-speed backlight control technology.

This can be achieved through a compatible set-top box (STB) linked to the display, or through inbuilt media players using a USB memory device.

Enrique Robledo, European Marketing Manager at Panasonic, says, “Demand for information display media both inside and outside shops continues to grow. Solutions, such as Light ID, that efficiently distribute advertising messages and other information are set to become crucial.”

“A single display can provide a variety of information to smartphones,” adds Robledo. “We think that this has some very exciting applications in tourist areas for instance, where information to help visitors navigate an airport, train station or shopping arcade could be delivered in multiple languages. We expect a lot of interest from museums too, where detailed exhibit information and voice guidance could be provided using smartphones or tablets.”

Light ID

The new visible light ID technology boasts the following advantages: Easier detection: Unlike image reading methods such as QR codes or AR markers, this technology does not require users to hold the receiver in a specific position, and it also does not require time for focusing and complex image recognition. All users have to do is point the smartphone camera towards an LED light source or the illuminated object, and the app will immediately recognize the Light ID even from a distance, eliminating the need to navigate through crowds to approach light source codes.

Higher transmission rate: The information is then read by dividing the received images into blocks. This enables rapid decoding of information at a rate surpassing that of smartphone video recording (frame rates).

Low interference and location-free: Unlike information transmission systems using Bluetooth(R) or ultrasonic waves, radio and sound wave interference is not an issue, which makes it possible to provide different sets of information via multiple Light ID transmitters installed in adjacent locations.

Panasonic's newly developed visible light ID technology is expected to play an active role in various places. It sends valuable information for foreign tourists at a train station or visitors to facilities such as a museum and exhibition.

Panasonic showcased its Light ID technology at ISE 2016-- and the new display and a Light ID platform service is expected later this year.

Go Panasonic Light ID

Go More About Panasonic Light ID


The “Bentley” of Aerial Platforms

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Skye

With its agile but elegant flight characteristics, Aerotain calls its UAV Skye, and describes it as “the Bentley of aerial platforms.”

Lifted by helium and with movements powered by electrical motors, Skye is an eye in the sky offering new horizons in aerial and mobile entertainment.

Thanks to patented technology, makers say it offers “astonishing movements” that “no currently available UAV allows.” We’ll let you look at the video (below) and decide for yourself.

Scalable payloads enable it to carry heavy cameras for live streams and aerial cinematography, making Skye a great tool to take aerial footage for broadcasters and event organizers alike.

Unique safety features enable Skye to fly over crowded places and closely approach people. And while Skype can be used to depict a product for advertising purposes, it can even take its shape.

Concerts, sports, conferences and public spaces. Wherever there is a crowd, you can use Skye to engage users in what the company calls “viral and efficient brand communication.”

  • Safe to touch while in flight and safe to fly above crowds
  • Flight time of > 2h
  • Capable of carrying heavy camera equipment
  • Able to perform any movement instantaneously
  • Large size of typically 3m (10ft)
  • Inside illumination enables glowing
  • Low noise

AEROTAIN is a young team with various backgrounds. After working with Silicon Valley startups and US space agency NASA, they have incorporated in 2015 as an ETH Zurich Spinoff. Their announced goal: to disrupt aerial marketing.

Or to put it another way: to reach for the Skye.

Watch Skye in Action

Go Aerotain, Makers of Skye

BLE Beacons are Not Enough

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Bluetooth Low Energy

ABI Research says dedicated BLE beacon advertising networks will be worth over US $2 billion by 2020.

ABI Research's latest report, "BLE Beacon Advertising Networks," considers the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, audio/ultrasound and LED/VLC for advertising purposes across large third-party networks, Out of Home (OOH) and in-store brand advertising.

"What is clear is that BLE beacons are not enough, and already many of the most successful advertising networks are using audio/ultrasound technologies," says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. "Longer term, the report also considers the use of LED/VLC to help further augment these networks. This is a hugely powerful technology that can have a major impact on scaling this industry."

Companies such as InMarket, Swirl Freckle IoT and Mobiquity have begun massive BLE beacon advertising network programs in North America in 2015. But worldwide, a host of startups are using hybrid BLE beacon/audio technologies including YAP, Perples, Blesh, Shopkick and Ecods. "This hybridization trend is essential to support the short term reach and frequency limitations of iBeacons, given the requirement for active BLE on the handset and user opt-in," continues Connolly.

BLE

Longer term, ABI Research believes major internet players like Facebook, Baidu, Tencent and Google will have a major presence in this space with many already putting in place the ecosystem necessary to support their own advertising networks.

Looking specifically at the OOH space, the banning and/or removal of traditional advertising in cities like Sao Paolo, Chennai and Paris is an interesting emerging trend with major repercussions. Proximity technologies create a way to circumvent this while creating far more pleasurable and personalized advertising. Today, the most notable OOH deployments have come from Adshell and Barcoo, but ABI Research believes deployments will break the 500,000 mark by 2020 as OOH advertising companies rapidly embrace these technologies.

The third major trend driving the growth will be major brands deploying their own advertising networks in-store in conjunction with retail partners. Already, major brands like Elle Magazine, Coca-Cola and Unilever have all ran campaigns using this approach.

Go ABI Research’s Report: BLE Beacon Advertising Networks


First Digital Signage HDMI Stick with Windows

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inLighten releases Argo, a thumb-sized digital media player for digital signage applications that the amker says is the first of its kind to feature a Windows Operating System.

Argo USB digitla signage

"Argo was created for organizations that seek the savings in hardware and installation costs made possible through stick-sized media players, while maintaining the consistency of their Windows-based environments," says inLighten CEO, Dan Snyder.

"The unprecedented success of our Android-based Apollo solution, confirmed that our streamlined approach to digital signage will be a dominant format moving forward. As a result, we’ve worked diligently during the past year to bring the same advantages to the Windows world with Argo."

From inLighten’s hosted Argocast network, users can access everything they need to present compelling content on their screens from anywhere at any time – including intuitive content creation software and media management tools with versatile scheduling options and network controls available through their Argocast Manager Web account.

"What makes Argo so appealing is how much the client receives and how little they have to do to get started," added inLighten VP, Jeff Taylor. "Plug the Argo unit into the HDMI port of your TV and wirelessly connect to the Internet. It’s now that simple to implement a fully Windows-enabled digital signage solution."

Once plugged in, the Argo unit is configured to automatically connect to the Argocast network to retrieve content and playback instructions. Argocast Manager enables users to designate content for pickup and establish when, where and how they’d like that content to appear. Argo accepts a wide range of video, audio and graphic content types and features the ability to incorporate real-time content elements such as .txt and .xml files, RSS feeds and html. Social media favorites like Twitter and YouTube can also be included.

Matt Welter, inLighten Director of Communictions adds that, "With such a range of choices for the kinds of content that can be presented, you might think that there’s a big learning curve for users, but because the Manager interface has been designed to accommodate all skill sets, we find that our clients become proficient in a short amount of time and are very quickly displaying content that’s extremely dynamic and engaging."

The company said that Argo units will begin shipping before the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Go inLighten 's Argo