iOS 8 includes a new location-aware lock screen button

Apple’s new operating system prompts you to open certain apps when you are in the right location. So if you’re in Starbucks, you’ll see a Starbucks logo in the bottom left hand corner of your lock screen.

Is marketing in your driver seat?

Colin Gibbs, the Gigaom Research curator for mobile, has some well-chosen words on Bluetooth-based mobile marketing. In brief, he warns against heavy push marketing, lack of clear opt out, and messages without value to recipients. (For more on the mobile customer experience, see our new Gigaom Research report.)

But Colin’s concern could well be applied beyond Apple’s iBeacon transmitter and mobile products in general. The Internet of Things and the ‘connected car’ are rapidly bringing this challenge and a potential marketing deluge to ever more nooks and crannies in people’s lives. This week’s Mobile World Congress is bringing a slew of new communications products for automobiles. The description of a new partnership between SAP and BMW is emblematic of how readily new capabilities can be flooded with the potential for ever more advertising–and ever more personalized advertising–to consumers.

The potential revenue from such ads is no doubt substantial and some new forms of advertising will eventually become pervasive. But what does it make of the consumer experience? What does it say about the brand that becomes a leading-edge vessel for yet more advertising? How much of a product’s new communications capability is destined to become an interactive billboard? And how much of a company’s innovation will be focused on treating its customers like eyeballs, with their attention sold to the highest bidder?

The Internet of Things will prove a powerful force pulling marketers, and hence companies, ever closer to the media business. But most companies will be better off remembering what business they are in. As they add new communications capabilities to their products, they should look and listen through the eyes and ears of their customers–customers who should remain in the driver’s seat for the road ahead.


Netflix developers toy with Fitbit integration, NFC at company hack day
This is fun: Netflix just posted a few videos from its recent company hack day on its tech blog, showing what Netflix developers come up with if you give them a card blanche. Some of the hacks include a Fitbit integration that would pause a TV show as soon as you fall asleep and NFC / iBeacon to let you share content across devices.

inMarket starts seeding grocery stores with presence-detecting iBeacons

Mobile shopping app maker inMarket has rolled out Apple’s iBeacon technology in Safeway and Giant Eagle grocery stores, allowing customers with iPhones(s aapl) and other Bluetooth Low Energy smartphones to use their handsets as proximity-based shopping aides as they peruse the produce. The iBeacons detect where a customer is in a particular store, sending them coupons, alerts and other informational and promotional updates based on that location. inMarket is starting in San Francisco, Seattle and Cleveland, but will expand to grocery stores in other cities in the coming weeks. Shopkick announced a similar initiative with Macy’s last year.

Step aside iBeacon, Qualcomm has low-cost Gimbal Proximity Beacons

Apple’s iBeacon isn’t the only game in town when it comes to Bluetooth Smart proximity devices for retailers. Qualcomm’s Gimbal Proximity Sensor is now available, supporting iOS today and Android in the future. Get ready for a hyper-personal in-store shopping experience.