Every year we look back at the progress that we have made with NewAer and see how we can ease future adoption for our end-users. This year was fruitful for us but taxing on the industry. For companies in the space of retail analytics, shopper marketing and beacons the year did not have the explosive growth that the industry projected.
The complexity of iBeacon from software integration and hardware deployment has been limited to trials with no breakthrough successes found. Short of buying sample kits for testing, the effort of deploying beacon hardware plus the required installation at retail; then asking those teams who don’t really understand it to maintain this new digital equipment have hampered widespread rollout. Further more, the industry has not made its own development easy with even major advertisers asking us who to choose. It is common for us to hear quotes like “we have software developer kits from 10 companies to choose from, who is going to be the winner?” Meaning for them, integration with a third-party SDK is required inside of their app that must be then promoted for downloads in order for users to interact with that space. Confusion abounds.
When it comes down to it, few people in stores with smartphones are downloading applications for that store; which is how the iBeacon protocol is deployed and secured within iOS. Due to these complexities, we have seen our industry peers lose senior staff; incur company layoffs, even closures and pivoting for companies in this space. Even Apple is not talking much about iBeacon at their developer conferences. We think that we have built the solution to these problems called NewAer.com/Kiosk which we will launch with partners in 2016. For a trial of this software, please contact us.
We maintained our software focus and our industry lead with two new products debuted at the end of 2015:
First, we announced support for the Apple TV 4th generation hardware. This means that interactive proximity signage can be as simple as installing a $149 device on a screen that already exists in your retail environment.
Second, we announced a project with Lufthansa allowing traveling unaccompanied minors the ability to connect and communicate without WiFi or Cellular connectivity. Now young travelers carrying iPads without LTE coverage and children with an iPod Touch can stay connected with the Lufthansa Super JetFriends application and the Kiosks located throughout German Airports in the Unaccompanied Minors areas.
The NewAer peer-to-peer Proximity Platform is key to providing our customers what they want. Whether it is a consumer goods company like Unilever who wants to reach the next billion users without mobile connectivity in Africa and India, or the global airline Lufthansa who wants keep roaming international travelers connected, never has it been so easy to communicate between smartphones, tablets or computers driving digital signage.
NewAer is now in our 5th year, 2015 was a great year for us as the beacon world saw its struggles in user adoption and growth. Here are our milestones:
January 4th, SDK 5.0 at CES with iOS Peer-to-peer messaging.
June 24th – Cross compatibility between Android and iOS devices as our SDK can now communicate peer to peer over Bluetooth Smart running on those devices.
October 3rd – We debuted our Kiosk application which was selected by Advertising Week in New York as a breakout product for the event.
November 7th – The industry anticipated new Apple TV shipped and our NewAer SDK began running on the 4th Gen Apple TV hours after it was received in our offices.
December 23rd – Lufthansa launched Super JetFriends using our platform to connect the disconnected travelers who do not have roaming cellular service, nor connect on WiFi.
And as we wrap 2015, we look at the future with 2016. There is no doubt that taxed cellular networks in the 1st world countries will leverage lower range technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi to augment their services. Many developing countries will go straight to these technologies as a lower-cost hub-and-spoke replacement over LTE and its costly licensed infrastructure. Our Proximity Platform is perfectly situated for these two types of deployment for in-space messaging.
Our Kiosk product, debuting in 2016 will end the retail snafu of having to download an application per store, while enabling entire malls to have a single unified application where store owners can point to web standards based content. The magic of peer-to-peer proximity or “cookies in the real world” will be built in to the application. Retailers get easy deployments, consumers and malls use one app and the industry wins. Let us know if you want to get a preview of the NewAer.com/Kiosk
Happy New Year to all!
Dave and the NewAer Team!