Pick a standard

Once again, I am yelling at the computer screen.

You know the nice thing about standards? There are so many to chose from.

So, when we have a clear standard, it’s the only one in it’s field… Yup, you guessed it, along comes another company with another standard….

Have not had time to really blog about it much, but one standard / technology that I have been looking into, reading about and hacking has been iBeacons.

Apple came up with a neat way to use a Bluetooth (low power, long battery life, ~60feet (18m) range) transmitter as a bit of lighthouse. It shines a small chunk of info around its location every second or so.
You can then use a modern mobile device to pick up that signal and know that you are pretty close to that lighthouse or beacon.

Well, you can keep track of where that beacon is placed where and so know where the user is by what beacon they are listening to.
Best quick example is a museum. There is a beacon placed behind each exhibit and the user can walk around with their phone in hand and as they get close to the exhibit, the phone will show information that has been tied (by the programmer) to that beacons location.
The ultimate self guided tour. (For geeks and non-geeks alike).

iBeacons have been rolling out for years now and lots of places are using it.
Some for good (like the museum example) and some for bad – like retailers spamming you when you walk past their store.
(This iBeacon stuff is a hot topic for me and I have a LOT to say about it – so we are jumping into my mind mid rant here with this blog post).

Anyway, my point is, ibeacon has been the only one out there. Everyone has been happy to leave it and make their own iBeacon hardware and apps and everything would work with everything…..

Till Samsung got greedy.


The rivalry between Apple and Samsung looks set to enter a new field as Samsung has announced a direct competitor to iBeacon, called Proximity.

Samsung Proximity is a mobile marketing platform that connects consumers with places via cutting-edge Samsung location and context-aware technology.

With Samsung Proximity, visitors are able to experience rich content related to their location, and marketers can better engage with customers for increased sales and brand awareness.

The applications Samsung describes for the service are identical to those already in use with Apple’s iBeacon partners …

While the underlying technology is exactly the same – with the same Bluetooth LE beacons able to broadcast information to both services – Samsung does appear to be taking a slightly different approach in the way that information is delivered.

I guarantee they will not be interoperable.
You will have to chose one over the other.
Thus totally destroying the universal benefits of a lighthouse system that works the world over.

I’m yelling at my computer. Again.