A race between @Facebook & @Google is happening without too many noticing. The Internet of Things ( IoT ) needs tone able to communicate among them and with devices that actually control their functions or use their services for some linear activity ( from opening a door, control temperature, assigning you a table at a restaurant, pointing you to where to find products displayed in your shopping list, instant coupons, etc.) that interacts with smarter devices, some mobile and some other at a distance. These devices also “take info from humans” as they walk and their smart phones are connected to the WEB using so many applications that we all leave open all the time. Think if you enter a restaurant or a store, and your phone has the Facebook app open or the Google+ or even just Gmail or Gtalk open, the beacon can activate it, letting know your app that you just enter this area. That information is delivered through your PHONE, not through the beacon (remember i is for now a single way communication) to whoever control the application ( Facebook or Google in this specific case I am talking about). Then the app creates a notification into your phone and ask you ” do you want to become a FAN of this XYZ Restaurant, click here” or “add Restaurant XYZ to your Google+ Circles?”
Well while you walk, your apps start collecting data from all those beacons and that info related to your Journey is conveyed to the app owners. The Wireless Registry ( TWR) is in the process of launching a large initiative so all those beacons are forced to have an ID and we can control the use of that DATA. In the meantime Facebook and Google already started controlling the access.
So FB started a program to flood retailers, service providers, any place where humans tend to congregate with these BEACONS “Facebook Bluetooth® beacons are devices that businesses receive from Facebook. These beacons use Bluetooth® technology to send a signal to the Facebook app on your phone…”
So Google launched “set out to build a new class of beacons that addresses real-life use-cases, cross-platform support, and security.” So just like they did with Droid OS, they created an open format for BLE beacons that anyone can use: Eddystone. This programming platform has some very amazing capabilities: supports versioning so you can start small in functionality and suddenly grow as much as you want and it’s cross-platform, capable of supporting Android, iOS or any platform that supports BLE beacons. And it’s available on GitHub under the open-source Apache v2.0 license,
Of course the Facebook and Google solutions that are FREE come with caveats : each one of them control who has access to the DATA collection format and function. This is the main reason why we need a 3rd. party body that controls the famous ID’s of each IoT device, the beacons and the wireless devices.
Remember that a beacon is meant to be discoverable by any nearby Bluetooth Smart device. What makes it possible for you to stop or give access to the signal is via its identifier. Google has built a feature called Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs), which change frequently, and allow only authorized clients to decode them. EIDs will enable you to securely do things like find your luggage once you get off the plane or find your lost keys. Google has promised to publish the technical specs of this design soon.
For some people these events are finally building a map of what is the next generation of deployments over the WEB, the so called “micro-web”, that of the IoT talking among themselves, and exchanging data that is supposed to enhance our quality of life. Until somebody starts using it for the wrong purposes….
In the meantime, watching how Facebook is trying to dominate the space by giving away the Hardware and making sure they control the features in those devices (and maybe lease in the future for 3rd. party applications?); and then waiting to see what my friend Jeff Jarvis describe very well in his book “What would google do?”, where they try to set the sandbox for everybody to play, they want to be perceived as the good guys here, and in the future they will just crush anything that is NOT inside their sandbox.
(some of this material came from Google and Facebook sites).