At the end of December, the Deloitte Digital Fremont studio in Seattle launched a brand new tool to help visitors navigate their way from wherever they may be, all the way to their specific meeting room. We call it the Deloitte Digital Concierge app, and it’s now available in the App Store.
After downloading, the visitor enters a code provided by the meeting organizer. The app is then able to update automatically, providing turn-by-turn directions based on the user’s geographical location. Once inside the studio, the app uses indoor positioning with iBeacons to direct visitors to their meeting room. Wall-mounted iPads detect the visitor’s location to display customized directions along the way.
The app also provides detailed meeting information specific to the appointment, including profiles for the host and attendees, and a list of room resources such as number of seats and which type of video display is available.
A hackathon and an opportunity to use new technologies
This app gave us the opportunity for the first official Deloitte Digital hackathon in the Fremont studio. The hackathon format puts together a full, cross-functional team into one for a day or two room with few breaks. By the end of the two-day Concierge App hackathon, the team had built out the app’s framework so that it was robust enough for stakeholders to provide feedback. This gave the team the guidance they needed to continue development through launch. The first version of this entire system was built in four weeks.
This app also offered the chance for people in the studio to put their heads together and use some of the latest technologies and development techniques available in mobile, including:
Contextually Dynamic Updates
By combining context-specific information from iBeacons, geo-fencing, and the relative time to an event, the application can update its display with personalized, contextually relevant content for the user. For example, the indoor studio map is displayed when the user is inside a Deloitte Digital studio.
Bluetooth LE (BLE) provides a communication range of approximately 50 meters, while consuming very little power to operate. This allows proximity-based interactions or micro-location identification to multiple devices in the area.
iBeacons are BLE devices that broadcast a brand or business’ message. Mobile devices with BLE capabilities can detect and respond to these beacons once nearby.
A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic areas. In this application, we use geo-fencing to determine whether someone is near a Deloitte Digital studio.
Because of the amount of requests the DD Concierge app sends to the services, it was important to use a fast, concurrent web server. We used JRuby and Rails in order to quickly build a RESTful interface. And we chose the Puma web server, as it works very well with concurrency via threading with JRuby.