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June 14, 2018

What is Ambient Proximity?

May 25, 2018
GDPR

Ambient proximity is a new trend or so they say. The truth is, most of the new technologies are not that new, in fact, they’ve been there for quite a while. Yet we don’t get out most of their possibilities, not like users, not as business owners, not as software developers.

With ambient proximity, it’s just the case. The technology of tracing how close people are to us and to each other, the possibility of detecting one’s location and experimenting with it – these are not new ideas. They are already there, yet the magnitude of the innovation stands in the shadow of loud AI and IoT breakthroughs.

The cornerstone of ambient proximity was put back in the late 1980s when Ericsson Mobile made a little and almost insignificant in public eye experiment with short-link radio technology. It took for the industry more than a decade to understand the importance of what was done and turn it into Bluetooth – and figure out the way to use it for location tracking.

Same as Bluetooth, ambient proximity has been there for a while. Beacons, signal transmitters, were presented in 2013 by Apple. Yet here we are five years later, still perceiving ambient proximity as one of the hottest trends of software development.

Let’s see how the technology developed over the course of the last five years. A hint: tremendously.

  • Ambient proximity is largely adopted by Target. The company equipped hundreds of its stores all over the world to track customers path in the store.
  • Guggenheim outfitted museums with beacons to help visitors find their way to must-see exhibits.
  • Facebook uses ambient proximity technologies what friends want to visit events nearby.

Researchers forecast the installation of 5 million new beacons in the US for 2018. The technology will be widely used by e-commerce stores, education and healthcare software and entertainment solution. The beauty of the innovation is that it can be used in any domain. Apple’s iBeacon, Amazon, Oxford University, National Emergency Address Database, PayPal, MIT have already invested in ambient proximity – and the list will only expand.

How can the technology be used by SME?

Firstly, defining user locations is a key to their precise targeting – making special offers when a person has a big trip or, on the contrary, didn’t move much for a while. What about mobility solutions and IoT devices? Adding ambient proximity devices allows to make personalised routes and gives users an opportunity to communicate on distance.

Case in point: Let’s take our IoT- application for smart traveling, Raden. Right now, the smart bag uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone and collect the necessary data.

IoT ambient proximity application

With ambient proximity, it can be connected directly to WiFi, define the location, and communicate with a smartphone – no Bluetooth needed! In our case, the combination of IoT and ambient proximity is a great way to enable instant web connection for a smart bag – and it’s just one of the countless possible implementations!

That said, ambient proximity is a considerable opportunity for small and medium-sized companies. Since technology is already there, business owners should make moves to bring innovation to the market before competitors do it.

We are happy to develop a cutting-edge innovation together – just drop us a line.