Presence, Personality, and Pulse in Santiago

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Earlier this month, I had the privilege of speaking at the StarTech conference in Santiago, Chile – alongside wonderful speakers from Uber, Facebook, and The Daily Telegraph among others. I’d been invited to speak about the Robot Hunt game, an iBeacon based app that I developed for the IBM InterConnect and Insight conferences this year. As well as explaining Robot Hunt, it gave me an opportunity to talk about a hyper-personalized, location aware future for mobile apps.

I’ve been evolving versions of my talk for a few conferences, under a theme of ‘Presence, Personality and Pulse’ – a theme that I’m deeply interested in, and really want to continue digging into in 2016. You can watch my 30 minute talk here:

iBeacons are low energy blue tooth devices that are used to build location aware experiences with mobile applications. The Robot Hunt game was a fun, real-world way to learn about the technology at the conference. We had beautiful banners made to show the robots and their ‘disruption codes’ that you entered into the app when you found them.

Wow my #robot posters look spectacular, thanks @ibminsight 🙂

A photo posted by Anton McConville (@antonmc) on

Since players of the game logged in using Twitter, the app lightly data-mined their Twitter account for insight about them ( in the spirit of hyper-personalization ) – here is what they had in common:

Insight was a data and analytics conference – so it’s kind of neat to see that the players of the games described themselves with those interests in their social media biographies – it validates the hypothesis at least a little, that we can use social media to understand the personalities of our users.

For a couple of the players we could see that ‘geo-caching’ featured in their Twitter biographies, so of course this game would have really appealed to them.

The app used Watson Text-to-Speech technology to speak some of that data back to them, as they found the robots – to tell them in more detail about themselves. The app also recorded footsteps through the health kit, trying to scratch at the surface of the intersection of personal and location data while offering a glimpse of the boundless opportunities for changing the experiences we can have with apps in the future.

You can see the app in the iTunes store – although it is only useful if you’re at one of the events.

I found Chile to be different, fascinating, captivating, and desperately want to see more of it! My thanks to the organizers of the conference for inviting me to speak there, introducing me to the other amazing speakers, the students at the technical university, and leaders of Start Up Chile.

A trip that I won’t forget.

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