Daily Dose of iQ: Samsung's 'Proximity' is Its Version of Apple's iBeacon

Nov 17, 2014 — Allan Pulga

Promotional Samsung 'Proximity' diagram - Source: Engadget

Last week (Nov. 13), Engadget reported on Samsung's new 'Proximity' technology, the company's BLE competitor to Apple's branded iBeacon standard. (See 'Proximity'-branded promotional diagram above.)

Samsung unveiled Proximity more than a year after Apple announced iBeacon.

"The Korean electronics giant has a website introducing Samsung 'Proximity,' a 'mobile marketing platform that connects consumers with places via cutting-edge Samsung location and context-aware technology,'" wrote Engadget's Ben Gilbert.

"As nakedly awful as that sounds, the "marketing platform" described sounds a lot like Apple's iBeacon -- technology that enables communication between your mobile device and the places you go."

Apple first announced iBeacon back in Sept. 2013, so Samsung is playing a bit of catch-up here.

Proximity touts one advantage over iBeacon: Its beacons don't require an app to 'talk to' a mobile device.

Gilbert notes one distinction between the two competing beacon technologies: Samsung's apparently does not require an app for its beacon to "talk to" a mobile device. Sounds familiar. Safe to assume it will employ some variation of Google's experimental 'Physical Web' technology. Also safe to assume: Apple will introduce its own "app-less" version of iBeacon.

Stay tuned for more developments in the BLE arms race.

Target App Identifies Desired Products Stocked In-Store

Another story caught our eye today, about an update to the Target app, which allows users to see which products are available in a given store location.

The updated Target app, with an in-store product locator, has potential but it falls flat for the time being.

"With the updated Target app, a shopper begins by making a shopping list, using a type-ahead function that knows brand names. The app indicates if the product is available in that store," wrote VentureBeat's Barry Levine.

The app is still clunky though, for the following reasons:

  • It only lists your items and (based on the screenshots on the VentureBeat article) you have to click on them one-at-a-time to see them on the store map.
  • Once you find an item on your list, you can delete it manually within the app.
  • The app does not yet identify the fastest singular path for finding all your desired items.
  • It also does not have a blue dot to show you where you are in-store, because GPS is lost inside the store walls. LAME!
  • Currently the updated iOS app works for all U.S. Target stores; the Android version only works for 40 stores for now.

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Internet of Things, Customer Experience

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