bluetooth beacon

3 Reasons Why Bluetooth Beacons Don't Deliver.. Yet

A “Paradigm Shift”. That’s what the marketing for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)  Beacons has suggested. We’ve also heard other buzzwords like “hyper-local contextualized content”, which is corporate jargon for “it serves you ads”. Apple introduced its iBeacon technology and Google followed suit with Eddystone, but they both agreed that these quarter-sized devices would revolutionize how consumers interact with retail locations, and beyond.

So where is the revolution?

Certainly, BLE Beacons have incredible potential. The technology is the inheritor of 4 generations of Bluetooth technology, similar to the common pairing method for speakers and wireless accessories. The latest generation, Bluetooth 4.0, focuses on maximizing battery life and enabling 1-way transmissions in short bursts. A device using this technology can stay powered on a coin-sized battery for up to 3 years. They’re also cheaper than a King Sized candy bar from your neighborhood convenience store.

The possibilities of this technology are only limited by the imagination. BLE Beacons allow a business to track a customer’s precise location within a meter or less, and serve content based on their environment. Sending a buy 2 get 1 free chocolate bar coupon as a customer strolls through the candy aisle could pay for the beacon that serves the ad. Large entertainment venues like stadiums and museums could provide directions to the concession stand, or direct foot traffic to the bathrooms with shorter lines. Apple implemented beacons at over 200 of their locations to send customers push notifications when their orders were ready or it was their turn in line.

With so much potential, why don’t we see these science fiction augmented reality interactions every day? Bluetooth Low Energy was introduced in 2010, and in the past 7 years, there has been little widespread adoption.

The answer lies in the habits of customers.

 

wifi bluetooth
Manuel Iglesias

 

1. Bluetooth is turned off

Gone are the days when every other person sported a slick Motorola Razr and spoke through a Bluetooth earpiece. The advent of touch screens brought battery life to the fore of a Smartphone’s merit. As anyone who’s phone is about to shutdown knows, turning off non-essential functions is key to prolonging battery life. Phone screens have continued to grow, while battery technology has remained mostly the same. Consumers are more conscious than ever of turning off GPS, Bluetooth, and even WiFi as battery life demands.

BLE simply will not work without Bluetooth enabled on the customer’s phone. One slide in the settings menu and they go from data goldmine to completely invisible. It cannot be understated how devastating this is to the technology. Consumers are inadvertently undercutting beacon technology simply by extending their battery life. And really, who can blame them?

 

apps
Sean MacEntee

 

2. Requires an app to be installed

When the iPhone was announced in 2007 it started a tidal wave of cheap, low-effort software that created more than a handful of overnight millionaires.

Since then we’ve grown wary of allowing unknown publishers on our phones, or at the very least deleted unnecessary apps that provide little value on a day-to-day basis. Today more than 65% of smartphone users avoid any new apps each month. It’s clear that smartphone owners are suspicious of putting new software on their phones.

The problem with BLE Beacons is they almost always require an app to do their job. All those coupons, offers, and notifications need to come from an app that communicates with the beacons. That won’t happen if the customer refuses to download an app in the first place. Apple got away with it because they added beacon notifications directly to the App Store, which can’t be removed from the phone, but most spaces don’t have the luxury of having an app that is already installed.

Although there are efforts through the Eddystone protocol to enable an end user’s smartphone to see beacons without installing an app, it's success has been limited.  Internal testing has found receiving beacon messages without an app to be a complicated, frustrating experience requiring smartphone users to install the Physical Web app and adjust Chrome settings.  That might not be that bad, except after all of that, beacon messages were still often missed by the customer even if they’re trying to see the beacon.  Native support for beacons outside of apps by iOS and Android operating systems could make major improvements in this space.

 

beacon in store
Jona Nalder

 

3. Limited customer buy-in

It’s obvious that businesses could find many uses for beacons, but what about the customer? When polled 61% of customers said that the notifications beacons would give them would be harassing. Between the resistance to new apps and to BLE technology in the retail environment, it seems unlikely people will start adopting new habits to allow for Beacons to become commonplace. Where we stand today, the only people who regularly use Bluetooth Beacons are the people who develop the apps for them, a completely backward state of affairs for a technology that was promised to transform the retail environment.

That isn’t the end of the story, some businesses are doing exciting things with BLE beacons, which we’ll cover in our next post.


Techbook.de Coverage

Who's On My WiFi's Free Windows Agent was recently covered by Techbook in Germany.

Here's a link to the article:

https://www.techbook.de/apps/fremde-benutzen-wlan-whos-on-my-wifi

Just so you know before you click the link, the article is written completely in German.

However, if you use Google Translate with the link, you'll notice that it works fairly well on their write up of us.

Thanks Techbook!


smart city

5 Top Smart Cities Have This in Common

The internet has an uncanny history of tiny companies disrupting behemoths of industry. It turns out, it’s not just startups flipping corporate superpowers on their head. Small, rural cities in the United States are proving they can not only compete with major cities like Vienna and Paris, they can beat them.

It’s easy to see why cities want to be “Smart Cities”. The promise of efficient utilities, quick transit, and disaster recovery options are compelling economic advantages. Smart cities will fundamentally improve how people live. So how do they get from great ideas to laying groundwork?

We look at some of the most innovative cities of all sizes to discover how cities are getting ahead.

Smart City List

5.Toronto, Canada

This Canadian city is a leader in North America. They have implemented smart transit systems and renewable resources to save money and the environment. It’s a major economic hub that’s investing in new tech, cementing Toronto’s status as one of the leading smart cities in the hemisphere. The secret sauce? The region has affordable fiber internet to both businesses and consumers, meaning gigabit speeds across the entire city.

Paul Bica

 

4.Vienna, Austria

Vienna is an international center for business and politics, and they are investing in their infrastructure to meet this demand. Boasting a world-class smart infrastructure and transit system, the city has become a destination for tech companies. That includes ISPs, where the fierce competition has resulted in multiple fiber options for citizens across the city. Blazing fast internet speeds keep the high-tech infrastructure running.

Dennis Jarvis

 

 3.Ponca City, Oklahoma

At the opposite end of the Smart City scale, Ponca City is a small community of 25,000 residents. That hasn’t stopped attention from the rest of world as the city hosts delegations from Italy, Australia, and all over the Northern hemisphere. Why so much attention to an Oklahoma farm town? It’s all because of their internet, fiber to be exact. Ponca City has a completely free municipal WiFi network that covers the entire city, powered by a fiber network built over the course of 15 years. It’s an inspired forward-thinking project that’s paying big dividends back to the city.

Matt Howry

 

2. New York City

The big apple needs no introduction. The mayor’s office released a full public proposal on everything from wireless water meters to responsive traffic signals. Central to this goal is the pledge to provide high-speed broadband to every resident by 2025. To do this, Verizon has been contracted to bring fiber access to every part of the city.

Aurelian Guichard

 

 1.Chattanooga, Tennessee

Easily one of the hottest up and coming cities in the United States, Chattanooga boasts the fastest broadband in the Western hemisphere. Thanks to savvy city leadership, they’ve been dubbed the city that was saved by the internet. Gigabit broadband internet access that was built and offered by the city has ushered in a technical renaissance, a small oasis of startup culture nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Zackzen

 

 Building for the Future

The key component to any competitive smart city is fast and reliable broadband. Uploading thousands of gigabytes of city usage data to the cloud takes bandwidth and lots of it. Like a house without a foundation, a smart city plan won’t survive without the broadband infrastructure to scale into the future. For that, the winner is fiber, hands down. The examples of small cities like Chattanooga and Ponca City prove even rural municipalities can compete with major cities. New York City is pledging to provide high-speed broadband to all of its residents by 2025, but Ponca City already checked that box 5 years ago.

So how does a small city compete with major players? Start now. Investing in fiber infrastructure takes years and major budget investments to compete, but results in major benefits down the road. Rural cities are already starting to take notice of the success stories, and fiber when done right can make a city in decline a smart city in a matter of years.

Adding usage tracking to your smart city project? Find out how Who's On My WiFi can help.


6 questions to ask yourself before buying WiFi Analytics

If you've been considering monitoring the wireless network of your event space, city hall, or coffee shop, you probably have quite a few questions about whether or not you really need a WiFi Analytics solution in the first place.

We created an article in our new resources section to help you make the decision about whether or not a WiFi Analytics solution is really what you need, or if something else might be a better fit.

You can read the article here:

Do I really need a WiFi Analytics Solution?


Innovate Oklahoma: A tech startup’s opinion

A new program was launched by the State of Oklahoma today.

The program is called Innovate Oklahoma.

The idea is that Oklahoma has built an open marketplace, where both government agencies and citizens can list state governmental issues which could use a better technological solution.  Not only are the problems listed, some of these problems will be open for bidding by companies and other technologists to provide solutions.

To my knowledge, this is the first program of it’s kind in the United States.

The State of Oklahoma believes that by being open and transparent about technological  challenges, and looking to it’s own citizens and companies for solutions, it can achieve a better experience for it’s citizens at a lower cost.  If the state of Oklahoma kept such issues on a private list, and attempted to build all of the solutions internally or through contractors the cost would be a much greater burden.

At Who’s On My WiFi, we work with both businesses and city/state governments across the country, offering WiFi Analytics solutions.  We know that because governments are working with taxpayer dollars, there is always a concern in trying something new and the buying process is often slow.  For many government entities, solutions to problems are often thought of in years.  The RFP Process alone can take 6 to 12 months for a single project.  In contrast, most start-ups think in weeks or months, not years, and they can often become frustrated with this procurement process and choose other customer bases to serve.

So the fact that Innovate Oklahoma is focusing on the speed of delivering solutions to taxpayers, as well as transparency of the issues at hand seems like a solid foundation to build a sustainable ecosystem catered to early stage technology companies.

And to us, that’s what’s the most interesting about this new program.  The state where we’re based, is now making a bet on technology startups.  As technology entrepreneurs, this makes us feel very welcome and excited to grow here in the state of Oklahoma.

The fact that government funds now have a chance of financially backing early stage companies as a customer, instead of as an investor, seems like a way to ensure that startup companies are building something of value from the beginning.  It also likely means that other early stage companies that have government agencies as part of their core user base, like Who’s On My WiFi, will want to have a presence here as well.

Goals

The program that is being attempted certainly has lofty goals.  Some of the goals are to modernize the delivery of services to taxpayers, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and help to promote the technology ecosystem already in the state.

Whether the program will be able to achieve all of these goals is not yet known, but whether the program succeeds or not, I think the current administration and the state should be commended on making the attempt and taking a chance for a better future.

As a company, now we will be more aware of any technological issues of the state. Should we feel that there is a problem which we think could easily be solved by WiFi Analytics technology, we’ll be more than happy to work with our government to deliver the solution at what will likely be a fraction of the cost of a custom built solution.

The Innovate Oklahoma website launched today during the Governor’s speech.  If you have not yet seen it, please visit https://innovate.ok.gov


Meraki Agent

Who’s On My WiFi is happy to announce that our Meraki detection agent is now generally available.

What is Meraki?

Meraki is a cloud-managed network hardware company owned by Cisco.  Cloud-managed means that once you set up the access point or switch hardware on your network, all of the configurations are managed through their cloud dashboard.

What is the Who’s On My WiFi Meraki Agent?

Client’s utilizing Meraki Access Points now have an option to directly connect their APs to our analytics service without the need for an additional software agent.  This further simplifies the analytics service setup on Meraki networks.

How do they work together?

Who’s On My WiFi customers are connecting their Meraki equipment to our Analytics service to add additional business intelligence to their WiFi network.  This network information is stored and analyzed to identify network usage trends over time in several ways that allow the ability to understand and predict patterns and trends.  This information helps businesses unlock powerful WiFi data that can be utilized in bolstering marketing efforts, identification of customer loyalty, employee usage and much more.

If you are ready to link your Meraki network to Who's On My WiFi, log in to your account and click Setup Wizards to walk through the process. No account? Set up a demo to get started.


WiFi Analytics Interview

Co-Founder John Kerber was interviewed today by Network Diagnostic website LMTV regarding the new field of Location Analytics, and how to make physical locations smarter with the newly released WiFi Analytics platform from Who's On My WiFi.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbHULks4A3M


Who Is On My Wifi version 2.0.7

Version 2.0.7 of Who Is On My Wifi was released this evening.

This latest release contains the following changes:

Enhancements:

Blocking

This one has been a long time in the making.  We have released a blocking feature in the software.  So, now, when you see an intruder on your network that has been detected by Who's On My Wifi, you have the ability to block them.  What this will basically do is cut them off from the internet so they would just choose to connect to someone else's wireless.

There is a lot to blocking, so there were several smaller changes that also went out in the software to handle blocking.  For instance, we added a separate Block log on the Main screen that shows you all of the blocking packets being sent to the intruder.  The status on the bottom left has been changed so that when blocking is happening, you are notified about it.  As well as updates to the help section, and all of the underlying code and settings changes that made this all possible.

We're very proud of this, and we hope you like it.

Again, remember, to use this feature safely and only on your own network because it can be easily traced back to you if you block someone on a network that you do not own.

And as always, if you experience any bugs with this new version of the software, please contact us at support at io3o.com

Setup Wizard

This is the other major feature that we are very proud of from this release.  One of the biggest complaints we kept hearing was that people didn't understand exactly what the software did.  Many people thought it was just a manual ARP scanning tool, and were confused by and a little bit angry that it kept loading on startup.  We're hoping the Setup Wizard helps explain a little bit better what the software does and helps people get up and running.

Bug Fixes:

Windows 8 Fix #1

If you read this blog, then you might've seen our post a few days ago about the initial bugs we have been finding while running the software on Windows 8.  We're hoping that this first bug fix will help people get up and running on Windows 8.  It's a fix to how the .NET framework is installed when Who's On My Wifi is setup.  Unfortunately to get the software completely running on Windows 8 is going to take a few more fixes, but this was a good start.


Interviewed by the Oklahoman

John talking with The Daily Oklahoman
Talking with The Oklahoman

Who's On My WiFi met with a reporter and photographer from The Oklahoman the morning of the first. We discussed the new router and talked about our upcoming Indiegogo launch on May 15th.  Exciting times for the company!


Router Plugin 1.0.2

Version 1.0.2 of the Who Is On My Wifi Router Plugin was released this afternoon.

This release contained bug fixes and optimizations and also made the plugin compatible with Tomato Routers.  We will be providing more information about the Tomato Router Plugin as it becomes available.

BUG FIXES / OPTIMIZATIONS:
Installing the updated version of the plugin losing settings

For those of you who installed the 1.0.0 or 1.0.1 version of the Who's On My Wifi Plugin, you might have noticed that when you updated to version 1.0.2, that you had to re-enter your username and password.  This is because the settings file was being overwritten with each version of the plugin.  This has now been fixed so that updating to a later version of the  plugin retains all settings files.

Decrease the overall size of the plugin

Due to size limitations of the WRT54GL when running tomato, we needed to change some of the ways that we were building our plugin that resulted in an overall size decrease for the plugin.

TOMATO ROUTER PLUGIN LAUNCHING THIS WEEK:
Who's On My Wifi Router Plugin is now compatible with Tomato

We'll have a more specific blog post when everything is ready to announce for this.  This version 1.0.2 of the plugin is now compatible and working on WRT54GL routers running the Tomato firmware.  However, we will make a more general release once things like the Setup Wizards, installation instructions, help files, etc. have been updated to help customers and users try out our plugin on Tomato compatible routers.