Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by hitting back. —Piet Hein

Friday, 30 May 2008

Bluetooth Castle

Today I visited Raglan Castle in Monmouthshire with my family. Cadw, the government body that manages the castle, were running a trial to deliver audio files to visitors' mobile phones using Bluetooth. As I walked through the entrance I simply made my phone discoverable, waited a few seconds for the MP3 to download, then started listening to a guided tour of the castle. It's a great use of the technology: it just worked.

The talk only lasted a few minutes, so we had plenty of time afterwards to run around the ruins.

A couple of technical questions that sprang to mind:
  1. How would you set up a server to push files over Bluetooth? (There are loads of ways you could use this - maps of the local area at transport hubs, sharing the schedule at conferences, random photo of the day at home, etc.)
  2. Can you make audio files navigable? That is, make it easy to go to the part of audio file that is about a given exhibit by typing in the exhibit's number? (This problem reminds me of Cliff Schmidt's talk about the Talking Book Device at ApacheCon EU 2008.)


Ross said...

1. Not sure I understand the question, are you talking about how do you distribute the content to the individual 'BT servers' or how do the individual 'BT Servers' work?

2. I believe you can add chapter markers, but it is probably more a case of whether the device allows you to navigate the chapters.

Tom White said...

Hi Ross,

1. I meant what software and hardware would I need to have to run a service that pushes files over Bluetooth? (I don't know anything about Bluetooth, so this may be a stupid question!)


Giorgos Saslis said...

Hi Tom,

What you exerienced was probably a trial by Cadw, of some "proximity marketing" system. There is a number of them available in the market today and they are usually a mini-pc, running either a windows application, which utilizes a windows bluetooth stack, or a custom linux distribution, utilizing a linux bluetooth stack.

I write about proximity and mobile marketing on a Mobile Marketing blog, so if you're interested in this area, feel free to browse through.