Now Playing at a Screen Near You: AppleTV and OSX supported by the Kontakt.io SDK

3 March 2016

This has already been a busy start to the year for us, what with launching Kontakt.io Secure in January and our USB Beacon Beta and the first revisions to our website in February. Here it is the 2nd of March and we already have more news for you again! We’ve recompiled our Kontakt.io SDK for AppleTV and OSX! That means that you have virtually all of the functionality of our Cloud Beacon, wrapped up in hardware that’s got a ton of other features as well. We’ve created a few demo apps that you can use to see how this works, but first let’s think about what you can do with this if you’re carrying a beacon around or attaching a beacon to items you want to track.

Possible use cases in retail

  • Display ads on nearby AppleTV screens which are relevant to who’s around like a certain movie you've probably seen.

  • Have electronic displays hooked up to AppleTVs or Macbooks already know your preferences when you walk up to them; like a McDonald’s knowing your favorite order when you walk up to the kiosk.

In shared workspaces

  • Book meeting rooms seamlessly through a touchscreen and an AppleTV
  • Show an attendance list on the Office Manager’s computer of every employee carrying a beacon who’s in the building
  • Wake up your MacBook when you walk up to it.

In the home

  • Get reminded to take the garbage cans out to the curb before you boot up Netflix
  • Check if family property like bikes or cars are in the garage or if they’re being used

And so on.

The Demo Apps

There are two of them: one for AppleTV and one for OSX. They’re both on our github, but the AppleTV app serves a different function that the OSX one does. The AppleTV demo app will show you all Kontakt.io beacons that are in range and let you set a pop-up that appears when a given beacon moves close to the AppleTV. Pretty simple, but you can develop it further from there.

The OSX demo app finds all Kontakt.io beacons in range of your Apple computer and displays all of their information: Proximity UUID (or Eddystone UID), Major, minor, Tx power, battery life, firmware level, and so on. From there, you can use either of these apps to build your own solutions and tinker around.
The Source Code
You can find the source for our new AppleTV and OSX SDKs on github as well as the demo apps.

So go download it and play around! Be sure to let us know what you come up with and you may find yourself featured on the Kontakt.io blog. 🙂
For the more technically inclined of you, let me go into exactly what we’ve done:

How it Works:

We have duplicated virtually all of the functionality that exists in our Kontakt.io Proximity SDK for iOS onto the rest of the Apple ecosystem. There is a caveat, though. As you may (or may not?) know, there’s no Core Location framework on AppleTV or Mac OSX, because they aren’t expected to move through space and trigger enter / exit functionality like an iPhone does. So instead of that, we’re using KTKDevicesManager as a substitute for Core Location on these platforms. There’s no enter/exit region functionality as you have in Core Location, but there’s everything else you’d use for a beacon. We also have KTKEddystoneManager to detect devices using Eddystone format beacons instead. Although you can’t range beacons and trigger actions on near / far zones, there’s still many ways you can use beacons with KTKDevicesManager. You can discover devices, read RSSI, manage them, shuffle and deshuffle them, access our cloud, and—of course—trigger actions in your AppleTV or OSX app with them.
Interested? Want to know more? Check out the source, test it out, and let you know what you think! This is our version 1 of the SDKs for AppleTV and OSX, so we’re going to be adding more functionality in the future, but we wanted to get this inot your hands as soon as we had something ready to show. Bon chance!

Trevor

Head of Product @Kontakt_io. Writer, public speaker, banjo player, and general geek. Hit me up if you want to talk about product, beacons, or all things proximity. :)

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