iBeacon is the Football of Technology

Apple may be the Brazil of technology companies and England might be Microsoft, but Time Magazine has missed the bigger story: that football itself is the iBeacon of sports.

Now, I’m a once-every-four-years fan of football. But when I do, I find watching it is hypnotic (whereas golf, say, just makes me sleepy).

I was chatting with someone the other night and told them that if beacons were a sport, they would surely be football. Here’s why:

  • There’s a seductive quality to the game which matches the ability of beacons to deliver multiple messages at different distances. There’s the long set-ups, push messages…and then there’s the interaction that happens at closer contact
  • The game is both precise and loose – mirroring a beacon’s ability to deliver precisely targeted messages based on proximity, while not being precise enough to do true wayfinding.
  • There can be signal interference.
  • When done right, there can be moments of elegance and discovery, even art. When done poorly, it’s like having a push message bite your shoulder.

If iBeacon and BLE is the football of technology then….

  • Hockey is NFC – all contact
  • American football is geofencing – it’s all about the zones

Oh, and Objective-C is like cricket: the rules are obscure, it takes you forever to figure out, and it can take all day to know whether you’ve been playing with the right class.

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iBeacons….the beautiful game? And where does that leave baseball? Is bowling the Blackberry of technology – fun for an office party but poorly marketed?

2 thoughts on “iBeacon is the Football of Technology

  1. I like the metaphor a lot. If you had to equate current Beacon vendors to football countries, what would it look like? For me, a quick analysis would be:

    1. Gimbal = Germany. Well organized, solid, and dependable – but hard to get really excited about.

    2. Estimote = United States. Up and coming, hungry, and a bit flashy.

    3. Kontakt = Belgium. Tons of talent, fast, and up and coming.

    4. Gelo = Netherlands. Solid in every respect.

    5. Radius = France. Well rounded and full bodied, like a good wine.

    No Brazils yet.


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