Phy.Net’s New Cover Card for Eddy Beacon Broadcasting

The initial exciting promise of Google’s Eddystone-URL was that a beacon could broadcast a website address. Until that day about one year ago beacon broadcasts were directed to native apps. This was and remains a great capability for those who can afford to build and maintain an app that users value enough to return to often. But there are so many other situations in which useful or otherwise engaging content would be valued even if discovered just once. That Eddystone-URL does this so well has engendered some number of commercial efforts to improve upon the engagement and utility of delivering a web experience via beacon broadcast.

My first encounter with a content creation platform specifically designed for the Physical Web came from an invitation to join a beta from Beeemapp. Using their cloud dashboard I could create cards or landing pages (the language varies) offering coupon, information and voting options which I could brand visually, include bar codes, images and text and then copy an assigned URL to direct a beacon to link to the content I made.

At the same time as I was feeling my way around Beemapp I was much impressed with a cloud platform from Phy.Net, whose approach allowed for attaching a URL to any beacon registered to my account, and changing it on the dashboard in seconds – never any need to physically handle the beacon in order to check and change its settings. I have written about my experience with both cloud platforms here. This post is about a new feature just released by Phy.Net and it’s a beauty.

Behold the “Cover Card”. a creation within Phy.Net’s cloud platform that “covers” whatever URL you provide in the creation process. At time of writing only a logo will appear when discovered in an Android mobile device. iOS devices will see a larger image assuming one was used. Clearly one was in the image above, from Phy.Net’s site.
So I created a cover card today. The image above is a crop of what my Android phone displays when I swipe down the notification screen. (The red bars are my addition). If you compare the image to the one provided by Phy.Net you will note the similarity – a logo, and custom meta data below, but no larger image because they are available only to iOS devices for a few more weeks. Were I to click on the link I’d be taken to the retailer’s specials page, which changes frequently. In this example, setting the cover card URL to a beacon means being able to change the meta data at will, and the image, without changing the destination month after month. Here’s how the card looks in the dashboard’s preview:

It’s probably worth mention that while the URL provides is secure, the URL I’ve provided “under” the cover is not. So, the Chrome browser will not display the retailer’s specials page. The “Physical Web” app will. This is likely going to be the best thing that ever happened to https. Use it, migrate to it, or forget discovery from Google.

Cover Cards offer a way to pop out from any screen filled with beacon discoveries and when they can display a large image in Android I predict they’re going to get very hot very fast. Well done, Phy.Net.

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