Booda is an iOS app that helps people connect in new ways with other people, places and things.
Inspiration & Motivation
Last week I discovered that little grocery store in Bernal heights close to Precita Park. It's open late. It's never too busy. The owners are super nice. Their produce are amazing. The tomatos were perfectly ripe and tasty. I bought a dozen tiny avocados for 10 cents each, 5 juicy mangos for $5 and a lot more of good stuff. I love it so much that I've made myself big mixed juices every morning since then. Here's the thing: I can't believe it took me 5 years to find this place.
You know this feeling when you think that maybe you're missing out on something great? Well, that's what we want to change.
We think that people are eager to connect in more meaningful ways with each other and with the city they live in. What would it be like for a city to be really connected? What would it be like if you could count on other people who live in the same neighborhood as you, or who do the same commute, who like the same sports, or who have similar interests whether it's fashion, food, tech or anything else? What would it be like if no matter where you go, you could easily connect with the right people for the right reasons?
An App, an iBeacon & a Timeline
We're harnessing the power of iBeacons to make detecting other people, things and places a breeze.
Here's how it works: Users have the iOS Booda app on their phone registered with a Booda profile, and they carry an iBeacon tag such as the Gimbal. The iBeacon is linked to their Booda profile using a unique id (we call it the Booda iBeacon). The app detects Booda iBeacons as long as they are in close proximity, and communicates with the backend server to fetch the linked Booda profile if that profile is relevant. If the other Booda profile is relevant, it is added to the user's timeline. Users' app timelines get populated with other people (or places or things) that are relevant to them once they have crossed path.
Content and Context
What can people do with their Booda profile? They can choose to share not only existing content such as their latest Twitter or Instagram feed, but also new content types entered via Booda such as tips about where they live, stuff they like and love. Eventually, the content will be highly contextualized such that users will only be shown content that is relevant to them. When they change context, what's relevant to them changes too. Think: "On my way to work, when I cross path with someone, she will show up on my timeline because she lives in the same neighborhood as I, and she recommends a restaurant there".
That's the vision of what we're building: a way for people to meet, share, discover people, things and places they're really going to connect with.
Hyper-Local Mobile Advertising
We believe that one of the most powerful application of mobile advertising is when people promote the products and services they really love. We think Booda is the future of mobile advertising because it's hyper local and contextual. I show up on your timeline? It means there's something that connects us, and you're more likely to find what I'm promoting useful and welcome. All parties get rewarded: when stuff I like is promoted on other users' timeline, I get rewarded. If they view and buy something I promoted, they get rewarded. The advertisers get rewarded too by acquiring new customers who have a higher chance to love them too.
The prototype we built during the hackathon - using native iOS, Firebase, Macy's and Best Buy APIs - demonstrate how the iOS app detects other Booda iBeacon and udpates the timeline view with those profiles.
We have 3 Gimbal iBeacons with us. Those Gimbal iBeacons are linked to 3 Booda profile users. Each of those users promote products they love such as headphones from Best Buy, a pair of shoes from Macy's, a project from Kickstarter or even a place to visit with the Detour app.
Whenever the app is running (even in the background), it tracks what Booda iBeacons are nearby. Once they are detected, the user profiles are retrieved and added to the app timeline screen. Of course, we do not show a profile every time it is detected (that would be several times a second). But if the iBeacon has not been seen in a while (5 minutes for our demo, but it could be several hours), we show it in the timeline again. The screenshots show the timeline with different Booda users and the things they promote. Selecting a product shows the full product (or service page).
Benefits to Best Buy and Macy's
Your brands have millions of customers buying in your stores and online. Imagine those same customers become advocate for the products they have bought and promote them with our proximity-based social network. We are building a network that connects people based on similar context and content - users who buy your product are also likely to live, work and go with other people who would buy the same products.
Like so many others, we're really excited by the Internet of Things, connected smart objects, iBeacons and wearables, and we want to ensure that those powerful technologies be used to reconnect people to things that matter.
Thank you so much for reading this. If you've made it so far, we would really love your feedback on this project.