Help your mobile phone or tablet guess what you want when you come to a certain place and/or approach a certain object.
What’s in it?
For clients: Provide quick access to services associated with a spatial context (particular location ranging from meters to hundreds of meters) from a Wi-Fi enabled mobile device.
For service providers: Associate a Wi-Fi hotspot with a web page (as appropriate in a given context, e.g., wait list/menu at a restaurant’s entrance, menu/order form when inside and sitting at a table, flight registration page when at a counter in an airport, advertisement when passing an outlet’s doors in a shopping mall, problem reporting form when a printer jammed your paper, snack checklist when you came to a coffee corner to wait while the printer is being fixed).
Almost every public building is equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots nowadays.
When you come inside, say, an airport, first thing you want to know is the most current flight schedule, your registration stand and departure gate and a piece of advice on what’s the quickest way to get through. The airport management may have already thought about it for you and associated their Wi-Fi hotspots (which are nearest to the entrance) with a web page that will summarize all the above information for you. All you need do to get to that web page is just come inside, and press a button that launches our RadioBeacon software on your phone.
After you have successfully found a registration counter, you do not need to stay in line, just press that same button on your phone and get forwarded to a registration page – note the difference that you receive the flight registration service right at the physical spot where you can check in your luggage and have airline employees at your assistance.
Now when you’re registered and have passed safely through the security checks, you may walk along the line of restaurants and cafeterias and press the familiar button once again when you feel you like a particular place or sort of food – and get forwarded to a menu/order/reservation page of that particular café the same very moment. And again the difference is in that you actually saw the food, checked if the place was clean and cozy, and only then pressed the button and walked away to think over the menu or to wait for a callback when your order is ready.
How It Works
When you launch our RadioBeacon software, it scans for nearest Wi-Fi access points (also known as hotspots), locates one whose signal is the strongest, requests (from our database) a link associated with that hotspot and opens that link in your internet browser. For a Wi-Fi hotspot to have the strongest signal, you need to come closer to it or point at it directly with your mobile device, which gives you an illusion that you “instructed” your phone on which web page to open by just pointing at an object of your interest.
To make all that work, owners of Wi-Fi hotspots have to associate their web pages with their Wi-Fi hotspots, as they feel appropriate for a given spatial location. The process of associating links with hotspots is also automated – one just needs to point at a new hotspot with the phone, launch the RadioBeacon software, and get forwarded to our registration page where a link (and a password to protect it against unauthorized changes) can be typed in.
Difference and Advantages
You may think of the RadioBeacon software as of yet another (along with bar- and QR-codes and geo location-based services) and a faster way of typing web page addresses, or as of yet another funny feature of mobility.
It is expected that some people may begin associating their pages/services with hotspots that do not belong to them, and prevent the legitimate hotspot owners from advertising their services. In which case, we encourage such owners to register a new hotspot before activating it, or contact HOOPOE ProGroup with proof of ownership to invalidate the fraudulent registration.
Recommendations for Hardware Manufacturers
To simplify the task of proving ownership, hardware manufacturers are encouraged to pre-register MAC addresses of their Wi-Fi access point devices by supplying a list of MAC addresses to HOOPOE ProGroup along with default passwords. The manufacturers may than place a label ‘RadioBeacon’ on their Wi-Fi units to indicate passwords are physically copied/attached to those units and they are safe to use.