Blog digital worx GmbH

Context Awareness changes everything


Trying to explain contex awareness is a hard job. Talking about it on a conference is like talking about delicious food: you have to taste food before, to get an impression. Only talking about is quite boring.

I spent a lot of time this year, to tell people on conference that context awareness, will change our life strongly. We will step into a complete new dimension of user interaction, if our environment is aware of us. But how to tell that?

It’s like a four star gourmet dinner. You have to taste the excellence.

Or imagine.

Let’s imagine you are on a dancefloor. You feel the beat. You move your body in the beatline. You are getting one with the music.

But state today dancing means your body is leading the beat. There is no interaction with the music.

Now think further on context awareness.

On a context awareness environment, the dancefloor is aware of  your presence. It feels your movements and adjusts the music beats on your dancing. This is a complete different experience to traditional consumption.

On a context awareness dancefloor you and the music are united.

Feel the difference.

The Intranet of Things


No doubt, with the Internet of Things we will slip into a new age. It’s a world, where Sensors are collecting mass of data in order to deliver services that assist or take care of us.

Today we are aware of the space around as. Within more than a trillion web connected sensors space will be aware of us.

It will be comfortable world. Living in that world become more easy. The sensor collected data is used to assist you with incredible services: Health monitoring, Saving energy, save a free parking space in the city or even to find a matching couple in the area where you live.

You don’t have to press on the Cafe Latte Button on Coffee Machine - your location assistant know what you want and where to serve.

You don’t need to take care about an unlocked door. Your smart home knows when you enter or leave the house.

You don’t have to care about your child while it sleeps. The smart home will turn the light to a child comfort mode and will alert you if the sleeping profile is turning critical.

It’s a perfect world

You will be assisted. And your digital assistants will take care of you. Even better: the software service knows you and knows your behaviors. Always best services levels will only be reached if you are predictable. This services architecture needs to be feeded with sensor data.

Turn to he dark side of this bright new world and you will discover the costs of that fully assisted future living.

In the total awareness space, privacy is gone. Everything will be monitored by sensors: Your steps, your heartbeat, your mood, what are you talking, your food, the air you breath in and the air you breath out… everything.

  • It’s post privacy. In a world of trillion sensors terabytes of your data will be collected on each second.
  • It’s post security. Trillions of connected devices in the internet of things can’t be keeped up to date with firmware. Leaks of data and hacked sensors will be the daily business to deal with.
  • It’s post autonomy. Drop your mobile phone or wearable devices and you feel lost. No more location service to guide you. No more connection to your social net.

Why an Intranet of Things is so important

There is no escape from location awareness assistant living. The Internet of Things is coming. Fast. Disruptive.

The only chance to save a piece of self confidence are personal controlled digital spaces.

A digital space by your own choice and under your control:

Your body - when you can control the data stream of all our wearable devices. Or your sleeping room, house, neighborhood…

But it’s called „the INTERNET of things“. Looking at today’s trend the Internet of Things shifts into a big business of giant corporations. They will offer you great service but the price to pay is your data.

Proprietary hardware and software stacks or the bondage on corporate cloud services are used to lock you to total post privacy.

I see two ways to save a piece of autonomy:

  1. Turn your life and your social network to the Amish way
    Create spaces where Internet Connected Devices or Sensors are completely banned. This can be your body, your home or your neighbor hood. Larger spaces are more autonomous but more difficult to handle. You need a strong common ideology to keep the location free of internet connected devices. That’s why I call that the Amish way.
  2. Support Open Source Hardware and Open Source Software.
    It’s the only choice if you want to keep control on which data will be collected, where it will send and who proceed it. Open source will give you the opportunity to hack your device and shield them on your own network.

It’s your choice.

Live in the full assisted nanny space of post privacy, go the Amish way or support Open Source to build an INTRANET of Things.

Mit iBeacon das Licht zu Hause steuern


Es werde Licht! Apples neuer Standard für die Navigation in Räumen, iBeacon, kann noch viel mehr: wir haben eine Lösung entwickelt, wie Beacons (Sender) das Licht im intelligenten Zuhause (Smart Home) steuern.

iBeacon smart Home mit HUE

Es klingt fast wie Zukunftsmusik: Im Raum verteilte Beacons erkennen, ob ein Nutzer das Zimmer betritt. Das Licht wird eingeschaltet und sogar – je nach gespeicherter Vorliebe des Benutzers – automatisch angepasst. Möglich macht dies ein Zusammenspiel aus intelligenten Komponenten: Bei dieser Lösung kamen die Sender, eine eigens entwickelte App sowie eine Anbindung an ein Server-System für Smart Homes zum Einsatz. Das Lichtsystem stammt von Philips: „hue“ kombiniert LED-Licht und intelligente Technologie. So lassen sich neben dem Betrieb zum Beispiel auch die Helligkeit oder Timerfunktionen steuern.

Wie die Lichtsteuerung per iBeacon funktioniert, kann man auf Youtube erleben:

Mirko Ross, Geschäftsführer von digital worx, erklärt:

„Mit diesem Showcase wollten wir unter Beweis stellen, was wir mit Beacons im Bereich Smart Home alles erreichen können. Der Einsatz von Beacons zur Lichtsteuerung ist nur eine Facette davon, was mit dieser Technologie alles möglich ist. Kontextsensitive Anwendungen, werden in unserem Alltag zunehmend an Bedeutung gewinnen.“

digital worx hat sich in den letzten Monaten verstärkt mit Lösungsmöglichkeiten rund um Apples BLE-Standard iBeacon (BLE = Bluetooth Low Energy, also eine Bluetooth-Verbindung, die wenig Energie verbraucht) beschäftigt. So hat der Softwareanbieter unter anderem eine App entwickelt, die die Vorführung von Geräten bei Messen oder Präsentation mit Hilfe von iBeacon erleichtert: Kommt der Mitarbeiter in die Nähe des Senders, werden automatisch Datenblätter, Videos oder Fotos des jeweiligen Geräts angezeigt.

Gimbal Beacons


Look what arrived today: #Gimbal #Beacons. It’s a good to have a choice to Apple’s #iBeacon!

Gimbal Beacons

Industry 4.0 goes iBeacon


This week we’re busy in Industry 4.0 and iBeacon. Starting with the fair Wire and Tube Dusseldorf, where we introduced a brand new sales app for our customer WAFIOS AG. Followed up by our presentation on the Heidelberger Innovations Forum (HDI) 2014.

Starting with the Wire and Tube: We equipped more over 70 sales people of WAFIOS AG with iPads Air and our brand new WAFIOS App. The App contains a large storage of technical documents, movies and pictures - all about wire and bender machines showed on the trade show.
iBeacon industrial usecase
On top we tagged the WAFIOS machines with iBeacons. The location based service of the app, allows to pick up easily documents and media of the wireless identified machine nearby.

WAFIOS APP used on sales presentation

Great to the see all the sales guys using the pads and the app for their presentation.

On Wednesday we’re invited by bwcon to the Heidelberger Innovation Forum. We’re going to present our framework for industrial indoor location based services with ibeacon.
Heidelberger Innovationsforum

iBeacon Event Log


One important point on iBeacon is the log of user action. We can track, if a device enters a beacon area and what kind of user interaction is triggered on a certain device for a beacon.

It’s a mixed blessing. On one side, we don’t want to track people and their behavior without permission, on the other side many fancy iBeacon application will require the fetch of data and processing them. I am not sure if there is a perfect solution between privacy and possibilities.

On the screen below you see a snapshot of our server side iBeacon log. Each event on a mobile device is logged by the server side control center. That’s necessary if you want to trigger an iBeacon event to another application. E.g. entering an Beacon Area will turn on the light in a room. But that kind of log can be also used, to track and trace people using the beacon app.

ibeacon log - track and trace
Screenshot of the Server Log: time of the event, type, the beacon major/minor and the device id of the user.
Thank to Paul and Feliks from the developer team for the the log example.

News beacons arrived


Nice. Today our new beacon transmitters arrvived.

We’ve got two different types of BLE transmitters. Both are compatible for iBeacon and can be flashed over the air.

iBeacon Transmitter

- Low power beacons for ranges up to 30m
- High power beacons for more than 70m

iBeacon at the Dancingclub


Starting tonight we’re testing Apple’s iBeacon in a Dancingclub.

We placed a couple of transmitters today in the club. While the guests  have a lot of fun on the dance floor we are looking to our devices watching the ibeacon signals transmitted. Nerds!

Each of the beacons is operating very well and we could track the signals from various locations inside the club.

ibeacon in the danceclub

ibeacon in the danceclub