Developing for the Micro-Moment: Aruba’s Location Based Toolkit for Custom App Developers

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Recently, I received a notification on my phone to order a gift for my son's upcoming birthday. At the time, I was busy doing other things, and didn't have time to do anything about it, so I postponed the reminder – a common response for me. A few days later, I was waiting for my flight home from Atlanta when the reminder popped up again. This time, I had all the time in the world to do something about it. I ordered him a jersey from his favorite team. A few minutes later, I walked by a store selling that same jersey but didn't stop, because I'd already ordered it online. Had I known about that store, I probably would have stopped and made a purchase.


Little did I know at the time that Google has coined a term to describe these moments of decision. They call them micro-moments. A micro-moment is the time it takes to recognize and act upon a digital impulse, a thought, or a piece of information in the digital arena on a mobile phone or tablet.

As a smartphone user and consumer, I find that my experience lines up with this micro-moments concept. There's almost no gap between when I need information or want content, and when I can get that content. Being always connected to the Internet has reduced this time to almost nothing.

As an ideal, the idea of micro-moments is great, but in reality, our technology doesn't always quite work they way we want it to. As a developer, I often wonder how the mobile apps we design actually impact user behavior. When I first heard of the micro-moment, I realized that it could give me a new way to think about how our apps behave, specifically when designing location-aware apps.

When thinking about micro-moments, it's clear to me in all parts of my life, not just work, that when I receive information in a place and time and I can do something with it, I am more likely to take action on it. I'm wondering how the concept of micro-moments reveals new possibilities when thinking about the role of location in mobile apps.


I find it's helpful to think of new concepts in terms of specific examples. One micro-moment might be a shopper checking the price on an item online before choosing to purchase it in a store. Another might be a traveler checking a flight's status and walk time to the gate, before choosing whether to stop for a coffee. Another might be checking traffic before deciding which way to commute to work.

The Key to the Micro-Moment: Context

Decisions are made in a moment and now we know they can be made in a micro-moment. What happens when you create a micro-moment by giving users a message or a piece of information that could make their life easier? Do they decide to read it or do something with the information? Do they dismiss it as a distraction? How do we influence this micro-moment decision point in time?

In many cases, what a person chooses to do in that moment is related to context. Call it a micro-judgment. In that micro-moment, does a new piece of information seem useful to me? If it doesn't seem immediately useful, I may choose to ignore it or not act on it. Micro-moments can be so powerful if they are relevant and seem to be relevant in that instant. I think adding a location context is one key to developing engaging and relevant micro-moments.

Developing with Aruba's Location-Based Software Development Kits (SDKs)

When Aruba acquired the technology from Meridian to develop indoor location-aware applications, it rapidly expanded the Meridian team's reach to bring exceptional and innovative location-aware mobile apps to public-facing venues all around the world.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of these is Levi's Stadium, home to Super Bowl 50 in 2016. Using the Aruba location-based SDK, the Aruba partner VenueNext developed a world-class location-based mobile app. Since the app's deployment, Levi's Stadium has seen an amazing $1.2 million in revenue as a return on the investment.


Many other locations have used the Meridian team's exceptional SDK to create innovative location-based mobile apps, but I think we're only starting to scratch the surface of what's possible. The micro-moment is one way to think about how location-aware apps can improve the lives of consumers and venues. Consider the apps being developed by some of Aruba's early partners and you'll get a sense of how integral location is to how we, as mobile-enabled users, see and interact with the world through technology.

Location-Driven Micro-Moments for a Mobile-First World

As someone who works on mobile applications, it feels impossible to escape the term "mobile-first," referring to the design philosophy that's been driving many of the trends in mobile technology for the last several years. It's worth digging into what "mobile-first" means, though. With 80% of the world currently owning a mobile phone, many customers do most of their shopping online, requiring venues to meet them with a mobile-optimized application or website. In spite of the ubiquity of mobile devices, there are still many venues and organizations that haven't done this yet.

With the increase in online shopping, many brick and mortar retailers have seen a loss of sales. A location-based micro-moment on mobile devices is an opportunity to reverse this trend. I'm not the only one to think so. According to a recent study published on mobile behavior, 51% of companies worldwide with public-facing venues plan to implement some form of location-based mobile marketing by 2017. That's up from less than 25% in just four years.

Increasingly, venues are seeing the benefit of engaging with consumers while they're at the venue. Many of Aruba's Mobile Engagement early adopters have seen evidence of a positive impact. Retailers have seen increased revenue. Healthcare venues have seen increased patient satisfaction. And all venues report an overall improvement in visitor engagement.

Developing Location-Based Apps with Aruba

It's usually not the person who has the problem that solves the problem. Identifying a problem is only one piece of the puzzle. The person who can take a problem and revolutionize a new process or behavior in response is the one who can view the problem with new eyes, bringing a fresh perspective and new insight. For developers of software and mobile applications, an intimate knowledge of user behavior is key to seeing where new and innovative solutions can thrive. It's not enough to have an innovation. People have to want to use it, too.

This is why Aruba actively looks for and works with partners who know their customers and the unique technology challenges they face. What we've learned since the launch of Mobile Engagement is that development firms who have created mobile applications for retailers, hospitals, or hotels have a unique perspective into how location context can improve the power of the micro-moment for their visitors.

A New Partnership Program for Developer Agencies

With Aruba making the Meridian App Platform available to customers and partners around the world, public facing venues have even more opportunities to use Meridian's AppMaker to develop white-label Meridian-powered apps to improve their visitor experience. These AppMaker apps can be customized to match a venue's branding, but they do have a shared, standard feature set.

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More and more, though, we hear from enterprise clients who want more customized functionality than what they can create on their own through AppMaker. For these inquiries, we have begun to refer them to one of our Aruba Authorized Custom App Development Agency or (CADA) partners, many of which have development expertise in a particular segment of the market, and who can use the Meridian SDK to develop highly customized Meridian-powered apps.

Aruba is currently evaluating partnerships with qualified mobile development firms, with the resources and ability to support enterprise level mobile application development projects using the SDK from Meridian technology and Aruba Beacons. We'd love to hear from firms or agencies interested in partnering with Aruba to develop and deliver custom applications for venues around the world. Interested agencies can inquire about the program at the Meridian Partners Page.

Over the last several months, I have heard from developers for many different public venues on how they are attempting to solve the challenges faced by our new mobile economy. I've heard about self-guided and location-aware factory tours powered by proximity beacons, a way to order a beer in the middle of a golf game, or a location-based multimedia experience in a shopping center. The Meridian SDK gives our partners the tools to drop a location awareness module into a new or pre-existing app, allowing for rich and valuable location-based experiences, all without having to reinvent wayfinding and navigation from scratch. In many cases, the location context is only one way our partners are innovating to provide delightful micro-moments to their users.