As a digital studio, we are always researching, conceptualising ideas and testing new technology. This helps keep us at the forefront and also consult better on client projects. Late last year we received a developer’s pack of Estimotes; a small, wireless beacon and when placed in a physical space broadcasts tiny radio signals to smart devices using low energy bluetooth. Many retail stores are trialling and implementing beacons via their own apps allowing a customer to receive messages from the beacon or beacons located within a store. Currently in the studio we are conceptualising ideas of how we can use beacons in everyday situations to better our own user experience. We have also been exploring Wifi technology and have developed a platform called Prompts. It utilises Wifi rather than bluetooth to send users real-time, location based push notifications directly to their smartphone. A little more info can be found at: www.prompts.at
Through research we discovered other companies using bluetooth iBeacons and witnessed how they were used in similar situations. I recently found an article via Techcrunch, about a start up company ExactEditions targeting companies to buy one-off magazine subscriptions which can then be delivered according to geo-location to their customers for iPhone, iPad and Android… all for free. This would mean, everyone who came into the area of the iBeacon can download the individual subscription-free magazine via their app and the magazine would then lock when the user walks out of vicinity of the iBeacon.
I love everything to do with fashion and retail and it fascinates me reading about the latest technologies that could make my experience truly better. Yesterday I received a beautiful S/S 14 direct-mail from a well known fashion brand H&M. Engaged by this direct-mail, I discovered the most gorgeous blouse and straight away wanted to buy it. Unfortunately shortly after this is where my engagement dwindled and user experience became broken at this step. I decided to launch the H&M app and begin my search of finding the blouse amongst many filters on the app. Time-consuming to say the least.
In complete contrast to the above, I had a great online/offline shopping experience while sitting at home one evening. I received a Look Magazine supplement containing lots of beautiful pieces on every page. Although sometimes only stating the price of certain items, I was more interested in a pair of shoes with no caption related to the item. Look magazine had engaged me as a viewer of the advert as they used an augmented reality product called Blipper to make my experience more seamless. With one download, I could point my smartphone at the page and it would bring me straight to the product on their website… instantly. Not only that, it gave me the alternatives articles stated on the page. Amazing!
Aurasma is a similar product, which has been used by brands such as GQ and M&S. Aurasma deployed a 6 sheet advert for M&S in the middle of a busy train station in London. What looked like a static advert, was transformed into a video showing ladies strutting their stuff in beautiful lingerie using the smartphone app. (For certain eyes only).
Although these products are not new to the market, they are becoming increasingly popular. Wouldn’t it be great to use this technology for age restricted material? For example showing film trailers while waiting for a buddy in the cinema lobby; simply point your smartphone at a poster, it would verify your age and let you watch a trailer and maybe offer you more information about it that no one else would receive. Another example could allow you to view an up-to-date magazine on your smartphone in coffee shops or doctors surgeries; the good old coffee table in the middle of the doctors waiting area with out of date magazines and supplements that have been pawed over by everyone would become a distant past!
The possibilities are endless with as with all new technology. I am very intrigued as to how new mobile and online technology can supplement my offline experience via apps and iBeacons. I still want to read magazines and I still want to be engaged by adverts when out and about, but by using these new digital products, we can seamlessly adapt our offline experiences into truly better online experiences. Instantly.