A year ago when Apple came out with "iBeacon" at WWDC I got a flurry of calls/emails from friends asking if I had been sherlocked. Three years before, I had started a company, Sonic Notify, to create and sell what we called a beacon system.
"You unknowingly walk within 30 feet of a beacon.
Your phone buzzes.
You are presented with a special offer, video, or a piece of web-based content. " Sonic Notify Website - October 1st 2011 - captured here
Browsing the Sonic Notify wayback machine pages and the language and use cases are instantly familiar to any present day discussion of iBeacons. Without playing he invented, she invented, etc; what I can say is that we are damn proud at Sonic Notify to have been so instrumental in the creation and pioneering of beacon based proximity marketing. And when Apple decided to release iBeacon, it was as if they called us up and validated everything that we had been working towards.
After last weeks Google i/o, again the calls came in. Was it Google who was pulling a fast one on Sonic Notify this time?
It looks like they caught up to our though process from 3 years ago. Which is if you want to connect between devices, utilize the infrastructure you have not what you wish. In a perfect world, all devices would have BLE 4.0 chipsets with radios always on. Right now thats just not the case, until we get to that point, Sonic Notify technology of utilizing ultrasound to pass information between devices is the best way to delivery across 99% of smartphones.
Google has a market cap of 395B, the most popular smartphone software, gmail and still that whole search engine thing. Apple has a market cap of 554B, sells millions of devices a year, and is the undisputed king of consumer electronics. *Sonic Notify is smaller. But even for such a small company, there are lots of reasons to think one day Google and Apple will have us as company.