Articles

Is this the first iBeacon app for learning?

by Geoff Stead

Have you tried the iBeacon experience in the Apple Stores? it is pretty awesome – you install their app, then as you walk around the store, you can get contextual information about the products in front of you. And even more astounding, you can pay for something on your own app, pick it up, and take it home with you without even speaking to any store assistants!

App Store app in action – photo from slashgear

This is the power of context, and mobile is the perfect tool for it.

We’re big fans of helping employees get exactly the right information they want, at the right time. That’s why we got excited about Bluetooth LE, and built our Museum App with early pre-release versions of Qualcomm’s Gimbal Proximity beacons. We also got excited, a few months later at the announcement of Apple’s iBeacons, thinking that this would help drive greater adoption of contextual mobile learning and support.

(this is often the case. That technologies originally intended for commerce and retail, move later into education and training)

What we didn’t realise – till we saw this interview on slashgear – is that Qualcomm’s Gimbal Proximity beacons are in fact the VERY SAME devices that Apple has put into it’s stores, and their app uses the exact same code, and approach as our Museum App!

Here is a video clip of them in action:

We’re very pleased that for once, a learning app seems to have predated the retail one! (though clearly it is the app stores that will drive far more adoption that we ever could)

If you are a developer keen to try this out, sign up at gimbal.com – if you are based in the US they will even send you a few free beacons

What would you do, if you could put particular learning messages in physical spaces around your workplace?

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2016 Addendum: this article originally appeared late 2013. Since then Gimbal has released their beacons, and have spun out from Qualcomm as a stand alone company. In addition the number of available beacons on the market (and their price-point) have dropped considerable.

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