Thursday, December 5, 2013

NFC and IBeacon, the Now of Communication and Information

I am starting this blog to have an open dialog about the future of information delivery.  I want to explore with others the technology, use cases, and corporate marketing strategies that determine which technologies and ultimately what information people will easily have access to.  

It’s an interesting discussion because of the new technologies, but also because of  the culture shaping impact they have on the world.

My opinion is that our devices are beginning to shape the way we interact with each other and “things,” and that very large corporations are sitting at the controls, designing the way we go about our lives-device in hand.  Their decisions to include a technology or not, are culture shaping in much the same way that the program choices of traditional TV broadcasting companies helped shaped the culture of my youth .

I hope that the discussion will be fun from a technology perspective, and promote awareness from a social perspective.  

Starting with the NFC and IBeacon technologies, I am going to assume that everyone has a basic understanding of the technologies, but that we don’t understand the use cases enough to blanketly say that one technology is better than the other.

Right now it’s my opinion that there are more non-intersecting use cases than the are intersecting, but that the big corporations, Google, Apple etc,  would have us believe otherwise. This is because the intersecting use cases--mobile payments, coupons and offers to name a few, present huge profit opportunities. If one technology outpaces the other, one of the giants will have the upper hand.

But right Now, I say, let’s have it both ways.

So that I can get my first post out there, I’ll start by looking at  one of the intersecting use cases, the Retailer to Consumer use case.  

IBeacon - retail

Requires a sensor and a receiving device, usually a mobile phone.  It can use geofencing, but essentially aims to broadcast information to our devices as we walk past the sensors.  

We as consumers have the choice to turn our receiving app or Bluetooth technology off, but then we can miss out on a deal.  

A shop owner, must purchase and place the sensors and then coordinate the information delivery, whether it be from the web, or other information source.   In this scenario, the Retailer is in control of what information the consumer is delivered, much like the TV Networks of old.  

Also worth noting is that these sensors, while easily purchased by a large company like Mayc’s, are not,  as far as I know easily purchased by your local shop keeper, restaurant, shoe store etc.

OKAY, I get it and like it...Sometimes.  I can see wanting “feed me the info” occasionally, like when I have to purchase a lot of presents around Christmas time,  but sometimes I just want to browse. I don't always want to be “told” of every deal in my vicinity, even if it is targeted advertising (because they know all about me from the analytics my phone gives them).  

Sometimes, when I find something I might just want to get specific information on that something, and further more, I might just want to ask about a deal on a particular item…

NFC - retail

Requires the minimum of a nfc sticker and a receiving device, usually the mobile phone.
We as consumers choose whether or not to interact with that particular sticker/item.  

Retailer must purchase the stickers, which are very inexpensive and easily purchased, is responsible for sticking the sticker, and can use their phone to easily program the sticker to open to the item details on their website, or to interact with already established icoupon purveyor.

OKAY, I get it, and like it! I get the information I want, when I want it.  Similar to the Netflix model and the YouTube Model.  

First Blog Post Summary:

As a consumer, I want both!  And I want choice.
As a Retailer(which I am not)  I want both and choice. A large retailer may be financially capable and technically able to  deploying IBeacon Now, but a mom and pop shop is financially and technically capable of deploying the NFC Now.  

This is my first blog ever, so I hope to improve and learn from you!

In my next blog post I’ll talk about a non-intersecting use case… e gardens, kid-watch, auto-app download etc.