The next big thing in mobile technology as we head in 2016 is apps that make us even more connected to each other. Wait, how is that even possible?
Long before the Internet became PC popular and then Smartphone popular, it was conceived as an always-on database of questions and answers that would make our lives easier, faster and far more accurate than our fallible human instincts.
We have flirted with the idea of the always present computer system, especially in science fiction series and movies (most recently the Spike Jonze film “Her”, which explored growing artificial intelligence), and have even experimented with the knowledge navigator concept with the ever popular Siri for iPhones.
However, our attempts at artificial intelligence have always been restricted by WI-FI or mobile 3G / 4G Internet connectivity—at east until now.
The Umbrella Revolution, which took place on the streets of Hong Kong from September to December 2014, made use of proximity based technology with an app called FireChat. The app was an internet-free messaging app that allowed people to communicate through Bluetooth or peer-to-peer Wifi, even when cellular data or Wifi wasn’t available. The technology proved to be incredibly useful for protesters during the social movement, and it set the stage for further use of P2P communication.
Image credit: freemalaysiatoday.com
The next breakthrough in social connectivity is poised to be Proximity based P2P communication via our favorite mobile apps. Politics and revolutions aside, imagine being able to stay connected to friends, co-workers, potential dates and your favorite brands, even when you’re not connected to the internet.
Proximity Based Software Development Kits are Here
Uepaa AG recently unveiled its p2pkit, a Proximity-based Software Development Kit, which allows Smartphone users to stay connected on an individual basis, device to device. It works anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Image credit: uepaa.ch
This communication can take place quickly, with stability, and without the usual limitations. The technology allows devices to instantly understand proximity to other devices, as well as verify identifying information and exchange data in real time. Developers of p2pkit technology can build mobile apps that are always aware of each other, whether one person is on the moon and the other on earth, and even if the Smartphone goes on “standby” in someone’s pocket.
There are no limitations of connectivity, as the communication can take place even in areas where no Internet connection is available. It can work on all OSs and platforms and does not require a market entry barrier, thanks to cross-platform support.
But proximity based technology isn’t exactly new and Uepaa’s p2pkit isn’t the player in this arena. The Google Nearby SDK works using the same technology, but with one major limitation – using Nearby, discovery only works when nearby users are within the same app, with the screen on, at the same time. Needless to say, this limits the functionality because the odds of having two users nearby with their app screens open is minimal.
The Google Nearby SDK also requires an Internet connection in order to work as discoveries are reported in real-time to the Google Cloud. Although the advances in Google’s technology are promising, their existing SDK limits the potential for intentional interactions between two parties, such as sharing a podcast with a friend.
How Does It Work?
Ideas already found in wireless peer to peer technology provided the basis for
recent software development kits. The technology leverages smartphones’ p2p radio capabilities and end users only need to have Bluetooth™ and Wi-Fi™ on.
What is newsworthy is that the system does not have to connect to the Internet through an Access Point, the way we understand it now. The technology can literally communicate “offline” even when Internet ready connectivity is not possible.
To be able to bring automatic, safe and fast communication to devices that are not connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi or that don’t have traditional cell phone Internet coverage is a monumental leap in creating that high concept of an “always connected wireless p2p Internet”, that one day soon may become the standard.
What Does This Mean For Consumer Apps?
Will this up-and-coming technology change the way we use our favorite apps? Absolutely. This technology is positioned to change the way we use our favorite apps, keeping us even more connected to our favorite people and things.
Much of the marketing potential from proximity based apps will come in enhancing apps that are designed for friend-finding, family or acquaintance location, and vendor-to-customer direct communication. Many banks and credit unions are already using a form of P2P technology, in the way of apps that allow person to person bank transfers.
One article illustrating the potential uses for p2p technology touts the benefits of proximity based technology on healthcare apps, while another mentions the potential positive ramifications of the technology on our favorite dating apps. Can you say goodbye, Tinder? To put it lightly, the possibilities are endless.
As this new, even more connected technology continues to develop and change our favorite apps, we’ll remain eager to see what companies can do with the power and freedom it brings, and how these ideas can change our future for the better.
This article was brought to you in collaboration with Blair Nicole from Media Moguls PR.