The first use case that came to our mind when we initially thought about iBeacons was location based app shortcuts. At home. And here it is: Launch Here.
iBeacons are perfect to provide that extra bit of contextual information to help you remember and launch the right app at the right place. With Launch Here all you need is to get near an iBeacon and open your lock screen. A previously linked app of your choice will appear as local notification acting as launch shortcut – one simple swipe away right there from your lock screen.
Compare that to the usual process of launching apps: Remember that you have an app for that ⇢ Wake up the phone ⇢ Unlock ⇢ Swipe to navigate springboard / search ⇢ Find on screen ⇢ Tap.
Check your home screen and a take a quick look around. You will be surprised how easy it is to come up with meaningful links between spots at your home and related apps. Some examples:
- Sofa → Apple Remote App
- Kitchen → Timer App
- Wardrobe → Routing App
- Desk → To do App
For more ideas on connecting locations with intends and apps also check out our latest blog post.
Launch Here uses URL handlers to launch apps. To get started quickly we provide a pre-defined list with common apps to choose from. This includes Safari, Reminder, Maps, Omnifocus, Fantastical, Wunderlist, Waymate. However you can also add you own. Most apps provide URL handlers. Here’s a good list for finding them.
We take the attention of our users seriously trying to balance carefully when to show a local notification and when to hide it. As signs of intend we chose a relatively short distance to the iBeacon of less than 1 meter and actively opening the lock screen. We’ll continue to look for the right balance for this trigger. Let us know how you use Launch Here and how the notification distance works out for you.
Here’s our Launch Here site with more details and a little video.
In the last couple of weeks we have been busy tinkering with different use cases for iBeacons. Here is one that made it. Travel Radar is a simple luggage tracking app for iPhone working exclusively with iBeacon.
How it works
Just put an iBeacon in your luggage. Next time your are at an airport waiting at the baggage claim, launch Travel Radar and be the first to know when it’s time get up and pick up your suitcase.
- For more details and a video check out our Travel Radar site.
Interested in writing a review? Drop us a line and we’ll send you a promo code. Easy.
iBeacons are a fun new area to explore and come up with original areas of use. In contrast to GPS, tagged iBeacon regions can be quite small, work indoors and – just to blow your mind – could also be attached to moving objects. But before opening up this completely new category of “location based” let’s step back and start where we spend most of our time. At home.
Places & Intends
A common approach to find meaningful use cases for iBeacons is to identify places that are inherently tied to specific contexts and intends. Breaking those down into common actions helps you to find related apps or opportunities for such – Apps that solve real problems or provide contextual information that is useful or fun. Also, the smaller the area of focus the easier it is to identify dedicated use cases.Place → Intend → Action → App
As explained in more detail in our previous post Understanding iBeacons iOS apps can range iBeacons quite precisely. The tracking distance to act upon can be from 20m (line of sight) up to a few centimeters. This allows tagging whole rooms, work spaces and even tiny spots and specific objects.
At home rooms usually share sets of common activities. They are a a good starting point for identifying potential contexts and actions.
As you might realise for every single of those activities there are already numerous apps available. However very few of them are smart about their actual usage context. iBeacons have the potential to change this and this is where you can start connecting the dots.
You are standing in the kitchen in front the stove unlocking your iPhone. Only given your specific location it is very likely that you might want to use e.g. a timer app or a cooking app. If you think about other rooms and spots at home you’ll be surprised how many of them can be tied to specific apps similarly. Like …
So, does it really make that much of a difference?
Up until now you have to remember the right app at the right spot at the right time, turn on your iPhone, search for it and launch it. Using iBeacons for location tagging this process can be shortened in smarter ways for more efficiency and convenience. And, free goodie – iBeacon linked apps thereby have a good good chance for having an increased repeated use - popping up at the right place, just when you need it.