Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Bluepulse

This first part in a series of 3 starts with the Auzzie company Bluepulse. From the outset, let's state, that Bluepulse charges users (ie... clients) to access their services. However, I'm not here to discuss their busines plan -- I just got that out of the way. Now, let's look at what they're doing.

Like most companies, in order to put their technology through the real world squeezer, Bluepulse has started a live pilot to test their technology. Unfortunately, the link to the news article (from their site) is broken, but I recall that it took place at the Broadway Shopping Centre in Sydney (to be precise). I also remember they spent over 100,000 dollars (not sure if it was US or Australian, I'm guessing the latter ... 1 USD = 1.30 AUD) to juice up this mall, not really your ma and pa store's solution, but it seems to offer some goodies.

For example, with Bluepulse, they state that their system can navigate you -- step-by-step -- to landmarks, stores, etc... So, you want to know where the hell Micky Dees is, you just select that info from the directory (I guess), and based on your position (which access point you're connected to), it'll tell you which way to go ... pretty cool stuff IMO. Additionally, they have an IM function so you can IM people on the same network (remember, this is all free via Bluetooth), and you can get news about sales, etc.... all relevant to your location. This is all done with their "SPacial Object Technology" (SPOT).

So, no standing in line to get stuff via Infrared ... you get everything wirelessly via Bluetooth (and or a GSM solution I think -- read on) and it's all location based. Sounds cool to me ...

However, I think unlike a "true" (whatever that means) proximity server, it utilizes wireless carriers to get non-Bluetooth phones involved in the mix, although I'm not sure (as they don't directly say), but phones that generally don't allow Java technology to access the Bluetooth radio (no JSR-82 stack, for the developers out there) are on their list, I'm guessing they're doing something via the carriers. This may also explain why they charge 1 dollar a day (or 5 per month) to use their service (but again, speculation). However, it's not much -- and if it works as they say it does, and you can get a coupon that saves you some chips (that's money for the non-ghetto folks out there), then it's probably still worth it (They better have a lot of content, games, etc... if you're gonna make'em pay, though).

Whatever the case, the Southern Hemisphere has its player, and unless there are others I don't know about, keep an eye on these guys ... my only fear is that getting a ROI on their hardware setup/installation is gonna be hard ... but, I hope they do it.

No word on whether or not third-parties can write applications for their system, or how admin is done on it ... if anybody learns more about Bluepulse (you can read many posts about it in their forums), drop me a line. Ooh, and check out the Bluepulse Demo...

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless mobiles proximity ]


Bryan Rieger said...

Thanks for writing this series of articles. Having honest (although somewhat biased ;-) comparisons such this will make it much easier for other to navigate this space down the road.

Geeks tend to rip through technology really fast, while the majority of the population goes on about their lives without a second thought to all of this. Depending on who you ask, and your market segment the trend with the general consumer adoption tends to range anywhere from 6 months to 12 years (culture has a big impact here - Japan is way ahead) behind the early adopters and pioneers, depending of course on the actual technology invovled. By and large I've found it more in the line of 12-24 months.

I wonder if many of these companies won't have to educate the average consumer a little as to what is possible with their mobile devices, as well as prividing some way for users to differentiate not only the hardware, but also the software that runs on said devices. To my mom - Bluetooth, Wifi, GRPS and IR would all the same thing. Geeks eat this type of stuff up - average public takes a wee bit longer.

Great post - looking forward to the rest.

David Stennett said...

Me, biased, Nooooooooooooo! ;-) Yes, that's why I stated up front that I'm part of another project -- I should have stated the CEO of the company that owns Jellingspot :-) Whatever the case, I don't see them has the enemy, and in fact, their growth is good for an industry just starting on its feet, plus their niche is different than ours ... they're hitting up large malls for example, while we'd target the indidvual stores within those malls ... Bluepulse and Jellingspot can easily co-exist within the same buidling ... although eventually, they could cross swords.

As for the culture, you're 100% right about that -- however, the idea is NOT to talk too much about the technology (if you look at the current Jellingspot page, it's too technical -- my fault -- but, then again, I was chasing the early-adaptors) ... your mom (or mine) doesn't need to know anything about Bluetooth, Java, Symbian, etc... she just needs to see that "Phone X" can get this information. The same problems existed with SMS ... it was "too difficult" for moms -- but, now gramps and granny are texting all over the place ...

We'll keep focusing on the early adaptors and innovator class -- and as you say, within the next 6 months, as these first channels grow, we'll try jumping mainstream --- a little bit slower in N.America, as Bluetooth phone penetration isn't as high -- this is why we're in Europe, larger clusters of Bluetooth users....

Lots of positive media (and blogs such as yours) really help, too ...

Captn Bluetooth said...

Hey nice app there David, re: Jellingspot.

Here is the latest, apart from your post I know about.

It's under 'November 16, 2004'.

Bluepulse's Forums are pretty much dead, except for the guys who work for the company making anonymous posts here and there.. :(

I noticed with your system, you can download the Java app. Nice one. With bluepulse you need to take the phone to the center and get the guys to pair it for you to the system.. Hardly easy to do - especially with many people not even realising they have bluetooth let alone what it can be used for.

The activation point is merely a tutorial on what it does, you still need to have 'real interaction' with other people to get it going. Heaven forbid!

Don't get me wrong, I think it's an amazing adaption of the technology, just executed incorrectly. 'User pays for ads'. Apart from the other gimmicks the service offers, the really practical stuff like Coupons, are really telling customers, 'hey come to my store but I am going to charge you for looking at my specials menu! Plahease!

What ticks me off is you guys were first I believe. Your app is a lot more refined & superior and this company reckons they are first!

Looking forward to your next 2 posts on this company.

ME said...

Latest news is that there is going to be heaps of free content available, plus other aspects that will make the monthly access fee seem dirt cheap. This is going to change the way we regard mobile phones for ever.

Anonymous said...

Well that's interesting, how would you know what they are offering? There is no news feature on their website and the last News Post on their Forum was Oct 27, 2004!

Care to enlighten us on what bluepulse is offering or may be offering?

A link would be good :)

ME said...

I have inside knowledge! Bluetooth will only be part of how you can access Bluepulse.

Bookmark my website and I'll be posting more info there soon ;)