Wednesday, May 21, 2014

IoT Dive in

In a previous post and in several presentations I have given, I've talked about the Internet of Things and how business is gearing up for an estimated over $358 billion dollar industry. Education alone is predicted to reach a $258 million market share for IoT usage by 2018.

While IoT is a buzzword in business, in education few are talking about it. Maybe we are waiting for Pearson to build the apps for us??

If you haven't heard, Apple has developed iBeacon as an indoor positioning system that sips (low-power use) from Bluetooth to send push notifications to smartphones running iOS or Android. If you have the Apple Store app on your device turned on when you enter their stores, you get a notification from their hidden iBeacons. They first greet you and then give you a menu of service options to help you before someone in the store may get to help you.

iBeacon was also used in SxSW Interactive as a way to help with navigation in the large Austin Convention Center and downtown area. As convention attendees moved, the SxSW convention app would push notifications about session cancelations, exhibitions, coupons for local diners, and even group people going to the same session in their own backchannel.

In schools, think about the possibilities for location-based interactive notifications from a beacon. If you could post a beacon on your campus, where would it go and what could it do?

Here's a quick show of how a beacon could be used in a classroom.

It is pretty simple. The device is hidden and it directs kids to it based on the "Hot/Cold/Warm" notifications as they move towards the beacons. Simple. But what if the beacons were programmed to do more?

For example, in a library you could add a beacon that provides a greeting when people enter. The greeting is like the home page of a library site but limited to the very basic information you would want a visitor to see: names and photos of staff, a map of book sections, and information about the library itself.

As visitors move toward the center of the library, the beacon could push more direct location information regarding sections of the library (fiction, non-fiction, biographies, etc.). Perhaps even integrating with augmented reality so a user could hold their camera up to view an overlay map on their camera view of where to go for a particular type of book or access to a computer.

As visitors near a specific section of books, they could be notified of book reviews available right through their device they could access by simply tapping on the book cover showing in the app.

And then you could develop an area for their own ability to create content. Perhaps they submit their own book review or a personal guestbook entry to share with other visitors.

Storyboarding an iBeacon is pretty straight-forward. In my high-tech diagrams below, I position the beacon in the center and then surround it by spaced location interactions. At the outer circle, you have the first interaction so you define what happens. Then as the person moves closer to the physical beacon, the interaction changes.

Outside of a library, perhaps a cafeteria could use iBeacon technology. First interaction could help divert traffic to the different serving lines by asking the students to choose if they want a hot or cold lunch. Second interaction could provide the menu. Third interaction could provide images along with caloric content of what they are eating and healthy food choices. Fourth interaction could by phone.

In classrooms, we talk about having centers. What if centers were built upon location and the interaction with devices as kids move around a particular space?

What type of beacon information could be attached to a fire alarm? An emergency exit? A campus front office? The practice gym? The football field or basketball court?

This is Internet of Things. This is IoT. This is #iotlearn.

Are we waiting for companies to build these for us?

I'm not. I'm diving in by ordering my first set of three beacons from Estimote - for $99. I am learning programming to setup my beacons when I start in Crandall.

I'm also reading what others are talking about and hoping to continue the conversation with other educators. I'm keeping up with market research (following #iot #internetofthings) and what new technology is being bought up and added to devices in the market (Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, etc.)

Conversations about beacons and IoTlearning:
Beacons for Education blog -
Mrs. -
Beacon Sandwich -
iBeacon Learning Zone -!learning-zone/c15gt

Join the conversation. What uses do you see for iBeacon?