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Honing in on iBeacons

In the last few years we have certainly learned that hype and natter don’t necessarily mean that new technology will take off – just take a look at Google Glass which is “resting” as of earlier this year after a tidal wave of disappointment and unenthused reviews.

If you’re not part of the conversation however, you can’t expect to be in the know, and if you’re not in the know then you’ll soon be using yesterday’s technology. We’re hearing a lot of noise recently about iBeacons and thought we’d add our two-cents for those unaware of the potential of Beacon technology – our team makes up several of just 40,000 devs tapping into it.

iBeacons are certainly nothing new, Apple has been using them in store since 2013 with their Apple Store app. What is new however is the understanding around what they can do for businesses, and the technology to support increased functionality.

What are iBeacons?
An iBeacon is a small, wireless sensor capable of broadcasting signals which your smartphone can read. Your device then produces content via an app offering a contextually richer experience, whatever that may be.

iBeacons are powered by coin battery and have built in antennas, running on BLE (Bluetooth Smart) technology. They are highly sensitive devices, monitoring location, temperature and motion, and work on any iOS 7.0 device onwards, as well as Android.

How can it change user experience?
Retailers are the primary example used to demonstrate the use of iBeacons to offer a richer experience to customers.

Imagine walking down the street and being pulled (reluctantly of course) into your favourite shoe shop by a push notification via the brand’s app which tells you there’s 10% off selected items today only. Based on your previous online purchases and perusing, with help from the beacons your smartphone can direct you to the stand which stocks your preferred style of shoe.

Not impressed yet? Well, stand there too long – perhaps it’s the shade or the shape you’re not quite sold on – and the beacon could instruct your app to offer you an additional 10% off since you’re clearly umming and ahhing. What’s more you could even pay for the shoes without waiting at a till, without even pulling out your wallet or purse.

From events to directions, the limits of iBeacons are nowhere in sight currently. The technology could single-handedly erase the need for audio guides in museums, internal maps, and welcome information packs as you enter an event.

The video below shows a brilliant example of using beacons to aid hard-sighted people to navigate busy or potentially hazardous environments:

Even in the last 12 months, battery life has been extended from 2 to 3 years, showing the pace at which this technology is advancing to meet future demand. Whether this demand materialises remains to be seen, however with names such as Macy’s, Virgin and Nivea all exploring the uses of iBeacons, we’re glad we’re on the iBeacon radar.

Honda Shows Us The Other Side

Hats off to Honda for giving us one of the coolest, and cleverest, ads in a long time.

Honda has unveiled it's latest ad campaign, The Other Side, to showcase the new Honda Civic and Civic Type R Concept.

What appears at first glance to be just your average ad, albeit very slick, is an interactive masterpiece that allows users to switch between two contrasting narratives by pressing the 'R' key.

We won't ruin the viewing experience for you, but feast your eyes on the trailer above, then visit to see the spectacle in full.


Living with Lag

We don’t know about you but Internet lag, when slow internet causes delay, is probably one of the most frustrating things of all time.

But what would lag be like if it was part of our offline lives? Swedish broadband provider has conducted an experiment using the virtual reality headset Ocuclus Rift with hilarious results!

Music Lifts ID’s Spirits

This week, Nicholas Mann of Interdirect enjoyed an evening of enchanting music and warming hospitality courtesy of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra (MKCO).

The Lifted Spirit concert at The Venue, Walton High featured the talented Stacey Watton as guest conductor and the captivating Principal Cellist Bozidar Vukotic who joined the fantastic orchestra who played works by Dvorak, Faure, Tchaikovsky and Schubert to give a stunning solo performance.

On attending the evening, Nicolas commented; “It’s a while since I’ve been rendered speechless, but the orchestra gave such a moving performance that I was completely captured by the music. Interdirect has proudly supported MKCO for a number of years and it’s great to see occasions such as Lifted Spirit being attended by so many people, and resulting in such raving reviews, and I hope our strong relationship will continue.”

Established in 1975, MKCO plays an important role in the cultural life of Milton Keynes as a valuable arts resource for the local area, as well as engaging in the business community. Interdirect has supported the MKCO since 2007 in developing digital solutions for the organisation including an innovative website to help showcase the very best of the number one classical music resource in our region.

Good Morning Fresh Powder

There are a few snow boarders and ski bunnies here in the ID team, so when we saw this awesome app from Helly Hansen we were itching to get on the slopes even more.

First Tracks allows skiers and snowboards to set two alarms before they go to sleep; one early wake-up call and one at their usual time. The app will then check snow reports throughout the night to determine whether turf you out of bed for guaranteed powder. Users can set predetermined parameters for the location and depth of snow so they can be the first on the cable car to claim the fresh tacks.

Check out the video to see how it works and then try tell us you don't want to be in the Alps right now.

Google Zeitgeist | 2013

We're taking a moment to be nostalgic with this ad from Google reminding us what an integral role it plays in our lives showing a selection of things we searched for in 2013.

For the first time, Google split the searches into top 'trending' searches, those with the most intense period of interest, and the most searched items overall.

It might be no surprise to you that the top "What Is" search of the year was "What is Twerking" (thank you Miss Cyrus...) yet the top trending UK event was the Grand National, which beat Andy Murray's Wimbledon win.

See the full results here.