chatter teeth toy
PHOTO: Paula Rey / CC BY SA 2.0

The Internet of Things (IoT) era has brought with it a host of new programmatic and operational issues as mountains of product data meet rivers of wireless signals from competing communication methods.

Enter Eddystone, a new sensor technology from Google, which promises to bring game changing new insights to the chaos.

Debriefing Your Dishwasher 

As the possibility of smartphones eavesdropping on conversations between toasters and refrigerators has gone from a late-night comedy punch line to a daily morning reality, marketers have found themselves racing to harness IoT’s potential while addressing the anxieties being raised by some unanticipated pain points.

Why are appliances, even smart ones, suddenly contributing to so much marketing anxiety? There are two main reasons:

  1. IoT devices generate a lot of data, most of which is only relevant in certain contexts at certain moments in time.  That data is streamed using beacons, low-cost, low-powered transmitters that send signals to certain smartphones within range.

    It quickly becomes a monumental challenge to analyze the data for real-time insights that can be acted upon to improve sales and/or operational performance.

  2. IoT devices use a broad variety of incompatible protocols to communicate. Bluetooth is popular among consumer devices because of its low energy consumption, especially a variation called Bluetooth low energy (BLE).  Another format, MTConnect, focuses on communication among industrial devices. 

Why Is Eddystone a Better Mousetrap?

Eddystone is a specification protocol built on GitHub that defines a BLE message format for proximity beacons. Eddystone, seen as a competitor to Apple iBeacon, is compatible with developer APIs that work on Android and iOS.  Six beacon providers have already stated support for Eddystone.

  • Its major appeal lies in its broad range of open source possibilities:
  • Eddystone offers two sets of APIs ― Proximity Beacon API and Nearby API ― to manage reading and communication with beacons.
  • Eddystone supports a number of data frameworks, so different kinds of data in addition to IDs can be sent between devices.
  • Most exciting of all for marketers, Eddystone allows JSON-based descriptions and URLs to be sent which eliminates the need for an app to be activated before a device can receive a beacon signal. This allows for sending simple offers and/or information that requires a quick response.

The Proximity Metric Is Redefining Analytics

The massive uptick in beacon data is redefining digital traffic metrics and the analytics needed to understand them and Eddystone seems up to the challenge.

Suddenly, the IoT has made proximity and the number of proximity alerts triggered over time into essential measures because those metrics represent the first step to understanding where customer activity is taking place within a logistics process.  

Eddystone’s data payload flexibility has sparked positive buzz among some developers. They believe it can unlock beacons’ potential to create of strategic, activity-centric metrics by incorporating programming protocols, such as JSON, alongside beacon IDs.

Make Way for the Marketers

Eddystone’s facilitation of metrics proximity and activity-centric metrics is already spawning a feature trend in cloud-based dashboard solutions that promises to blend predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Analytics dashboards  ― whether for websites or apps ― have created value over the years by tracking various metrics that can be used to infer behavior. Eddystone’s appearance on the scene delivers the potential for more direct behavioral analysis through analytics based on IoT device data.

As the analysis of IoT data evolves to make reporting less abstract, the future seems to hold the promise of creating ever more relevant data correlations and visualizations.  Meanwhile, if you find yourself whispering sweet nothings to your air conditioner this summer, just make sure your ceiling fan doesn’t get the wrong idea.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  pulguita