NewAer releases our 5.0 SDK for Windows and Android

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Announced with our CES 2015 press release, we’ve delivered on the promise to launch our latest SDK for Windows which uses Bluegiga (recently purchased by Silicon Labs) Bluetooth Smart dongles and supports the latest 5.x release of Android Lollipop! Our code for iOS has been updated as well, but does not yet contain WiFi reporting, so we are keeping that revision number at 4.x until that functionality is added.

Vanilla Ice Goes 5.0 as well

Vanilla Ice goes 5.0 as well

Here are the points of this new release:
Many stability improvements were made
iOS supports enhanced peer to peer messaging on top of discovery
Windows and Android devices can see iOS beaconing peers
iOS can see Windows peers and soon will see Android beacons too
and…Most importantly, the codebase variables, parameters and arguments between all operating systems have near complete (with the exception of some OS limitations) parity between platforms. This means developers that work in more than one environment can use similar code or teams of programmers that develop within single platform environments will be able to collaborate more effectively on their proximity solutions using the NewAer SDK!

Also, If you have been following this blog, you know that proximity services require an application on the device to read the radio waves that a phone can see at a hardware level in order to execute actions within an application. That alone is a daunting proposition for mass adoption. Well, the proximity world got exciting last week, as Facebook enabled iBeacon support within their mobile app giving – at current count – 745 million users the ability to see beacons. Now that user number is not broken out into iOS users vs Android, but technically Android can see Bluetooth Smart beacons on modern hardware as well, so the potential user base could be extremely large.

We covered Facebook Place Tips with a guest post on the Beekn blog, a site that covers all things beaconing in the modern world. Our take was on making this a value add to those Facebook users, without making the technology spammy or heavy on marketing.

From Beekn: “Either way, we’re excited to see Facebook in the game of bringing contextual relevance to the masses. Lets just never let this become spam 2.0, OK?”

Since Facebook and Apple only use Bluetooth Smart (BTLE) for their iBeacon protocol, it will be slow to roll out new beacon infrastructure in establishments. For us, this limitation opens up an opportunity. Since the launch of our first application in 2011 called ToothTag, NewAer has supported not just beaconing Bluetooth, but any radio wave – to create any interaction on a mobile device for Android, OSX and Windows plus a subset of supported radios on iOS. So now the WiFi access point or point of sale in your local coffee shop can become a software beacon.

Thanks to the team at Beekn for publishing our Facebook Place Tips post, and the NewAer + Originate team for pushing 5.0! Developers, head over to our SDK page and show us your chops by digging into our 5.0 SDK!

NewAer at CES with the Open Internet Consortium AKA OIC

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The 2015 Consumer Electronics show has wrapped and was jointly called the year of wearables and Internet of Things. In case you missed it, wearables are devices that you place on your body similar to a watch with a LED, LCD or sometimes electronic ink screen that can display data such as your steps walked, hours you’ve rested or even your heartbeat. They have wireless capabilities to transfer or sync between your smartphone which then can share the data to the Internet for your review or social media sharing.

Internet of Things, abbreviated IoT by those in the know, are devices that you would put inside your house, such as a power outlet that is controllable from a hub or directly from a smartphone application, or a sensor on your front door to detect knocking or whether it is opened or closed. These typically talk via a type of low-power radio wave that your phone does not support, which requires a hub or bridge to get them onto the Internet, where they can then message your smartphone. These bridges span the gap between fast WiFi used by your high-power smartphone and computers vs tiny data IoT collectors that submit “basic payloads” to the Internet.

Speaking on stage at Wearable Wednesday on the Monster Stage at CES Photo by Michael O'Donnell @ophoto

NewAer on stage at Wearable Wednesday on the Monster Stage at CES by @photo

We spoke at Wearable Wednesday on the Monster stage, and spent the majority of the week with Samsung and Intel in a suite along side other members of the Open Internet Consortium or OIC, showing how our platform can discover these IoT devices and kick off the communications or automated actions over the higher-speed and smarter device network data channel. The key to our solution is you do not need to pair to these beaconing devices or even unlock your phone, open up an application, otherwise tapping away on the screen for common actions that you may wish to be automated in your life. Examples of this are automatically opening the garage door when you drive within WiFi range of your home, or having media and lighting preferences follow you from room to room in your house.

Our showcase demo included smart home devices from Philips, Honeywell, Atmel, and other major players, as well as some fun thrown in from startups like our Beacon Bar which we debuted at the Intel CEO summit. This tablet-based system shows how Internet of Things (IoT) elements can be added to ordinary items to create real-world interactions. In this case, it was liquor bottles that triggered messaging on nearby tablets on the bar-top of our suite to give relevant messages to our visitors.

To make bottles “smart,” Bluvision beacons were placed into the “punt” of bottles (the dimple on the bottom) to trigger specific messages on a tablet for each spirit as they were seen by a tablet. The key to this demo is that it shows how we are able to focus the signal strength of an object and trigger an event at less-than a one-foot range based upon Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth Smart as it is called by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This means that a Point of Sale (so called POS since this post is also about acronyms) on a tablet or Windows machine with our software developer kit can determine which customer is directly in front of the register. This capability can enable loyalty programs, payments or coupons to be automated from a consumer mobile phone or wearable.

IoT Liquor

Beacons in the punt of liquor bottles identify the spirit poured at CES.

Also at CES, we announced our SDK 5.0, which brings a suite of features into the SDK for all platforms, including using wearables to wake up and trigger applications built on our platform, much like an iBeacon would wake up an app inside of a store. You can read more about that from our press release here: NewAer announces its 5.0 SDK at CES 2015.

And that wraps CES, while we are exhausted; we remain invigorated with the excitement that we heard from current and future customers at the show. We are excited to enable more beacon and iBeacon compatible projects into 2015!

This week we are in Munich for the DLD conference where we are showing the airport of the future – where signs tell you where to go when you approach them, rather than you needing to study an airport eye-chart! If you are in Germany, drop us a note and lets chat about proximity!

Developers, what are you waiting for? We can enable your next proximity application once you download our SDK at proximityplatform.com

This was a breakout year for beacons

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After the introduction of the word iBeacon at the 2013 Apple World Wide Developer’s (WWDC) conference, 2014 was the year of big companies dipping their toe into beaconing radio wave technology. For NewAer it was exciting to see so many international players utilize the SDK we have been perfecting for 4-years; even better, it was truly a record-breaking year for our company as we deployed our all mobile platform compatible Proximity Platform, which turns any mobile device into a beacon. Our software developer kit makes iPhones, iPads and even the now-unsupported Windows XP machines that run most of the digital signs that you see in malls, stores and airports compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy, the protocol used by beacons.

Critics of the technology noted at this year’s Apple WWDC, there was no mention of iBeacon’s progress or status as a service. But there are plenty of opportunities and demand in the market – just take a look at few of the NewAer-enabled applications we launched with partners in 2014:

We flipped the assumed paradigm of iBeacon in July with Deutsche Telekom. Rather than positioning beacons within a space and interrupting users on their mobile phones, we applied 700 beacons to guests name badges at the T-Labs 10th anniversary party in Berlin, Germany. This became a record-setting number of iBeacons within a single space. Apple tablets running the NewAer Kiosk application read the iBeacon machine ID, then pulled user identity and information from a Deutsche Telekom owned database to bubble up relevant information at the right time to party goers in front of this signage. The tablets were connected to huge flat-panels around the event which made it truly interactive. This system has been engineered to be private and dynamically responsive and is also what we built the American Airlines airport signage upon during our in-air hackathon.

Klaus Wowereit and Timotheus Höttges showing the NewAer engine.

Klaus Wowereit Mayor of Berlin and Timotheus Höttges CEO Telekom showing the NewAer engine.

In September, we debuted the iPhone application “M-Pulse” with Unilever’s Magnum brand – a first peer-to-peer + iBeacon app of its kind. What made this application unique is friends who downloaded the app would be alerted when another friend was nearby via the same app, and they would be rewarded with free ice cream when an iBeacon was also found on any nearby Magnum cooler. We called it the digital ice-cream social, with a mission to connect people as part of Magnum’s 25th anniversary. Look for further rollouts of this technology in 2015 within the consumer product brand marketing space!

Also in September, @Stef debuted his Internet of Things inspired artwork “What do You Thing” based upon our platform. This OS-X application reads the radio signals our platform captures from wearables, Beacons, WiFi access points, printers and even older Bluetooth 2.0 devices to create a multi-dimensional visualization of the radio waves inside of a space. Look for more apps from Stef in the future on our platform!

@Stef and his visualization of the Internet of Things.

@Stef and his visualization of the Internet of Things.

If you have ever read or posted on Craigslist Missed Connections, this next app is for you. The human herd naturally wants to connect, which is what our proximity platform can quickly enable as a low power and instant peer-to-peer machine layer. This fall, the application Cheekd launched using our framework to replay your social life based upon eligible bachelor and bachelorettes that you encounter during the day. When two people looking for a love connection get within a hundred feet of one another, their phones will let them know they are in range of a match based upon their configured preferences within the Cheekd application. It’s a magical experience and is powered by NewAer invisibly behind the scenes!

And finally, beacons got fun with Intel at their Global CEO Summit in October, with the debut of the Beacon Bar – where the Internet of Things is tagged to bottles of your favorite spirits interacting with tablets. The spirit type, mixer suggestions and number of times the liquor was poured all automatically appear on a bar mounted tablet. This is based on our Kiosk application, and is available for your company or next party. Let us know if your interested!

Bartender pours Seagram's VO while the bar mounted tablet sees the beacon and automatically reacts.

Bartender pours Seagram’s VO while the bar mounted tablet sees the beacon and automatically reacts.

If you are in Las Vegas for CES, come visit us at the Open Interconnect Consortium where we bring the Beacon Bar to Sin City. To get an invite, just use the Contact form or email us at partners at newaer.com and we will see you at our happy hour on Tuesday evening at the Bellagio, or schedule a time to meet during the week.

A huge thank you goes out to all of our innovative partners and their agencies who made the above happen and a happy new year to you! mWe are excited about 2015 being a mainstream year for our technology! If we don’t see you at CES, why don’t you download our SDK today and see what you can build upon it?

Unbound innovation for big brands

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As we run full force into the holday shopping season, we aren’t going to talk about beacons – you can read about that from our ’tis the season post from last year. This season of retail we found ourselves in London where we spoke at the Unbound Digital conference on the future of marketing in our mobile, digital world.

Unbound Digital at Vinopolis, London.

The session that we moderated, Creativity & Innovation in Advertising had inspiration from three startups, ours plus two Israel founded.  Tal Cholozen from Innovid and Tal Keinan from AdExtent were the digitially distruptive innovators.  There were also some heavy hitters working at huge companies on the panel.  Eric Salma from WPP’s 18,000 employee research group Kantar along with Khurram Hamid from GlaxoSmithKline digital.  Finally, Mel Varley of GroupM company MEC UK’s Chief Strategy Officer rounded out the panel.  You can see that 30 minute action packed session below.

Additionally, on the session before ours, company friend and tech luminary Yossi Vardi moderated a panel which included Marc Mathieu who spoke about Unilever working with startups like ours, to enable new customer interactions with mobile devices. We cut to the relevant part at 22:50 in this video below, but you can rewind to watch the complete and interesting story.

More to come on that project as well! Merry Christmas everyone!

Magnum Ice Cream’s M-Pulse Proximity app is live!

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The NewAer powered M-Pulse from Magnum has hit the UK iOS store!  It brings iBeacon + the NewAer Proximity Platform into one application.  You can find it at www.magnum-mpulse.com

Designed by Karmarama and programmed by Nice Agency, this application uses a combination of the NewAer Proximity Platform SDK along with StickNFind commercial grade iBeacons to make your smartphone truly smart!  After downloading and running the application your iPhone can now use its built in Bluetooth radio to let you know when your friends are nearby, as well as iBeacon enabled retail store coolers bringing you the ultimate digital ice-cream social!

Nothing beats time with friends... except time with friends and ice cream

Doodle from Libby @ libbydoodle.com

Since this app uses the latest wireless technology, when you install it, you need to enable some things in your iPhone…  But don’t worry, we’ve worked hard to make sure that they do not run down your battery like prior applications that use location around GPS satellites would.

First you need to turn on your Bluetooth by sliding the menu up up from the bottom of the iPhone screen and making sure the third circle icon that looks like a sideways bow tie is highlighted in white.  Then when you see the enable Bluetooth pop-up message within the application, click enable it to use this.  Then enable push notifications so that the updates work automatically.  Finally, you must enable the Bluetooth to be used in the background.  This lets the alerts for your friends to come through when the app is not running on the screen.  Don’t worry, we put a switch in side to let you turn off the push notifications on your own device if you do not want to be bothered.

That’s it!  You are now living in the future finding your friends with NewAer.  Your smartphone is now truly smart!

Download the M-Pulse app from www.magnum-mpulse.com or the iTunes store and click more for the press release and screenshots!

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A peek into your mobile future

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We’ve been Scobleized from our friend Robert Scoble.  Robert has been covering technology since he was inside of Microsoft in the early 2000’s, to the first podcasting network in the middle of that decade.

These days Robert interviews startups for Rackspace and their Small teams, Big impact project.  His latest book, Age of Context was before the world of “proximity” but he gets it like few others do.

It’s a 30-minute video, so longer form than most web views, but we dig into many use cases for next generation ambient computing and talk about the limitations of iBeacon.

Enjoy the show!

GROW and Flow in Whistler Canada

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We are in beautiful Whistler Canada this week at the GROW conference, an offshoot from Debbie Landa’s Under the Radar conferences. She brought out hundreds of people from the US tech scene, retailers and Canada’s best startups from across the Great White North.

Debbie Landa launches GROW
We spoke on a panel focusing on what context-aware computing means for consumer experiences and privacy with Mikael of EasilyDo and Robert Scoble from Rackspace. The debate was around privacy and the relationship that we have with websites or apps. An example that I used was Google Now, an application built into Android the more data goes into something, the better it can feed knowledge to you because of its machine learning and therefore awareness.

Robert enjoyed the fact that when he went to Coachella his Facebook advertisements, and friend’s posts and photos began popping up on his feed. Whether their application was reading his current GPS as a data set that Facebook could leverage, or their algorithms were looking at his own published and tagged stories or photos didn’t matter to him. The fact that the context was known and the presentation of data was adjusted for his physical space was the important outcome.
Robert Scoble at Grow
Increasingly wearables too give their unique identifiers out in the air through Bluetooth Low Energy, and this is something that our NewAer SDK can leverage as part of our machine-to-machine identifier. While the user identity of the person wearing the device is unknown to us, partners who leverage our platform can let their customers tie this identity to a user, for example to an airline database to pull your flight information and be able to present helpful messages upon digital signage as we showed during the American Airlines hackathon.

With any of these scenarios, a trust relationship occurs between the users and the apps or websites where they have a relationship. Uploading photos or posting stories to Facebook gives social currency and connects people together. Using an application for your favorite airline can bring efficiencies such as mobile boarding passes and updated real-time gate information. Proximity data is a next generation contextual “meta layer” that can tie even richer interactions into your world than what GPS can offer due to its lack of precision and power consumption.

Just as cookies on the web help with context of what is in your shopping cart, we aim to bring the positive effects of “cookies to the real world” with proximity radio data from our all format, all beaconing radio proximity platform SDK.

Finally, our patent strategy as founders of the proximity triggering space progresses with our second patent grant in August! We now add US Patent No. 8,805,352 “Determining virtual location based upon scanned wireless signals” to our IP roster. This is a proximity based matching engine and trigger that can be applied to updating applications or digital signs based upon a unique fingerprint of devices inside of a space. Our upcoming Unilever application and the follow-me video solution that we showed at the Cable Labs event are built upon this patent.

You can preview our solution for follow-me video from our YouTube channel here: Follow-Me Video at Cable Labs 2014 Tech Showcase.

The NewAer technology is peer-to-peer along with iBeacon in reverse, and we are proud to have built it before Apple’s entry into the space.

Minority Report meets The Terminal with NewAer and American Airlines

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Like many business travelers, I fly hundreds of thousands of miles per year to meetings, conferences, never-enough vacation and holiday family gatherings. We have most airport codes memorized, and the Great Circle Mapper shows friends how ridiculous the travel months are, as the bird flies so they say.

Even though my flights are a “sequence of one-way destinations” that differ, one thing that stays the same, besides bad airport food, is terminal riddled eye-charts, whose monitors list flights along with gates and departure times. Worse are code-share flights, or those where two airlines use the same airplane under differing flight numbers, requiring travelers to wait for the scrolling information between the two to confirm a gate.
Gate infromation Windows error
We at NewAer dream of a world where the signage in the airport will “see us” via our wearable or mobile phone’s “beacon” and message to us. We want the right information, at the right place and the right time automatically like a concierge would, such as “Dave, you’ve landed at gate B7, which is right next to your favorite coffee spot at B5, and you’ve got 30 minutes to get to B12 before boarding for your connection to Dallas on Flight 2701!” Or simply, “Welcome to San Francisco! You can pick up your bags at C7 on the lower level, and your favorite Zinfandel is down the hall at the wine bar on the left.”

This road warrier’s dream became a reality thanks to our Kiosk product, and teaming up with Four Winds Interactive
along with the LG Display group, to build Proximity Signage for American Airlines under the Wearable World in-flight (ok, so technically we did our debugging in the air) hackathon.

NewAer Proximity Signage - PaxInfo

Engadget’s Brad Molen explained the vision and even tapped into privacy concerns a bit, something that we have cared about since before writing a line of code for the product: “To address privacy concerns, as soon as you walk by the sign, the personal messages are deleted and replaced with a generic screen.”

The Wall Street Journal covered our dream in Scott McCartney’s section called The Middle Seat, my worst nightmare of flying. The July 17th 2014 paper’s front-page story captures our vision: “I walk up to the sign and it knows me,” where to be and how much time I have to get there.

Ironically, I write this at 30,000 feet on yet another flight, to yet another conference and I cannot wait for our technology to be deployed at the next airport that you and I land at. And I hope that they have TSA PreCheck…

The original Engadget and Wall Street Journal stories are captured as PDFs below:

This Cross-Country Flight Is the Future of Flying – WSJ NewAer Proximity

Hacking the friendly skies – creating apps for wearables at 36000 feet – Engadget NewAer Proximity

Unilever & Magnum + NewAer bring you the digital ice-cream social.

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In February we announced our partnership with Unilever and now we can state which one of our favorite brands that it’s with, Magnum Ice Cream! It’s a digital marketing first: a CPG brand launching a P2P beacon strategy vs. a retailer. Before diving into how the campaign works with the video below, here’s a recap of beacon technology in marketing today.

Even with NewAer’s invention of any “beaconing radio as an action” nearly five years ago, the beacon world is still in its infancy and rough around the edges. Apple’s iBeacon is just one year old and the most well-known beacon proponent, and to our belief, the few retailers and stadiums currently using it do so via “spammy” experiences. Each time you walk by a beacon, it triggers your phone to create a message of the iBeacon’s intent within an application.

All beacons of 2014

The state of the beacon marketplace today.

Think about it like this; when your phone vibrates, you expect it to be a phone call, text message or an application you’ve permitted to disrupt your personal space digitally. Now amplify this with a new type of walk-by spam, where a second pass by an iBeacon brings up the same message. With iBeacon’s current lack of silencing second events (we call this “flapping,” like a door banging in the breeze) they continue to pop up as new inbound messages. We knew from the start of NewAer that we had to eliminate that while putting the power of the technology into the consumer’s hands.

Summer is here – so what better way to illustrate our automagical, non-intrusive technology than via an ice cream social with a twist?

With the forthcoming Unilever mPulse application, debuting in London as part of the 25th anniversary of Magnum ice cream and powered by the NewAer Proximity Platform SDK, will notify you when a friend is nearby, helping to create a spontaneous rendezvous. This alert is similar to a text message from a friend asking to meet, except it happens automatically via our engine. When there is an ice cream cooler nearby you and your friends, that message gets relayed as well. What’s special for consumers, and critical to marketers, is that we’re creating opportunities to connect with friends instead of a barrage of one-way marketing. Equally critical is the ability to turn off your device beaconing if you want to “go stealth” for some alone time. Naturally, mPulse does that too.

Working with Unilever’s agency Karamarama we came up with the ultimate app for connecting and reimagining the ice cream social – one that is powered by NewAer’s SDK of invisible bits, to create impulsive unexpected connections. Only NewAer could accomplish such a sophisticated campaign (yes, even Apple’s iBeacon cannot) as we are the only company in the space who specializes in making mobile devices like tablets and smartphones themselves communicate as beacons.

The announcement of NewAer partnering with the Unilever Foundry:

Last week we were honored to attend Cannes-Lions as guests of Unilever where CMO Keith Weed generated huge online buzz when he took the stage to discuss their innovation in consumer marketing, with their partnership video featuring NewAer. The opportunities for magical consumer moments driven by mobile technology are endless, and it seems that the trade press is beginning to realize that too.

In sum, ice cream bars never tasted so good! We hope to digitally run into friends in London when we launch in late July, and with the mPulse app, you will too!

Our 2014 European Customer Tour!

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We’ve been like kids in a candy store lately and wanted to share some of the big wins that we have had and share upcoming events that you can get involved with too!

NewAer & Unilever Kick Off Consumer Campaign:

In April, we kicked off our project with Unilever in London, which will leverage proximity ranging between fixed beacons as well as handsets that have downloaded their app powered by NewAer’s Proximity Platform.  This will be the first time that a consumer product leverages our “better than iBeacon” framework to enable devices to communicate with one another using our SDK in addition to the traditional application triggering with fixed iBeacons.  More on that to come!

2nd Patent Awarded:

We were given a notice of allowance for our 2nd patent around determining a virtual location based upon scanned wireless signals.  This is key to our automation engine driving a “state change” or creating some type of action either on your device or in the cloud based upon seeing a known beacon at a specific signal strength.  For a young company like ours to have two patents so quickly is a testament to our early forward vision and our swift-moving intellectual property team.  Congratulations guys!

Builders and Hacker Demos:

We spent a few days at MIT’s Media Lab Member Event media.mit.edu/events/spring14/day1 and left both inspired and motivated.  We met some teams doing some radically forward thinking projects, many of which were excited about our framework for machine-to-machine discovery.

After a chilly visit to the East coast, we headed to our favorite DIY event called Maker Faire www.makerfaire.com, where 150,000 people come to see what thousands of others built from their workbench or garage.  The quality of some of the vehicles blew us away, but we were most excited about the kids there who had built communication circuits, robots, and even a pneumatic actuated bench that was synchronized to a roller coaster ride!  Keep it up future inventors!

Lego Jeep Maker Faire smaller

Partner Demo Days:
The first week of June we are in Dublin at our telecom partner Alcatel-Lucent IMS User’s conference, where we show our “one number to any destination” routing using proximity and their IMS infrastructure www.alcatel-lucent.com/products/converged-telephony-server with CTS and the Self Care API. A video of the debut of it is here.


For the second week we head to London for the Europa’s theeuropas.com, then Founders Forum www.foundersforum.eu as we ramp up for London Technology Week londontechnologyweek.co.uk. We are sponsoring a hackathon with the Sand Pit Labs hacximity.org where we’re giving an early look at our 4.0 SDK that allows peer-to-peer communication over unpaired BlueTooth Smart links and a prize for the best use of our SDK! Sign up for the hackathon here!

For the last half of June, we head to Berlin for our investor T-Venture www.t-venture.com with their T-Labs and T-Systems division around next generation automotive showrooms and retail traffic measuring and marketing.

We wrap our month of demos and meetings Europe at the 5th year anniversary of the MLOVE ConFestival mlove.com/confestival/ were we will share stories of the Maker Faire and the future of all things triggered from any beacon!

We’d love to meet you at the events above, so let us know if you’re going to be in the mix above too, and lets talk about our better than iBeacon framework.  We would love to see how it can tie into your applications or infrastructure!