Suhas Manangi, Ash
Koppal, Russ Mahoney,
Laura Craig, Colin Hart
B BUS 525: Technology and
Physical Web – connecting physical things with
the online world. Physical web is an open
approach to enable quick and seamless
interactions with physical objects and locations.
Physical web’s goal is to enable people, to be
able to walk up to any smart device – a vending
machine, a poster, a toy, a bus stop, a rental car
– and interact with the device through their
phone without having to download an app.
What is it?
The Physical Web enables you to see a
list of URLs being broadcast by objects in
the environment around you. Any object
can be embedded with a Bluetooth Low
Energy (BLE) beacon, which is a low
powered, battery efficient device that
broadcasts content over Bluetooth.
Beacons that support the Eddystone
protocol specification can broadcast
URLs. Services on your device such as
Google Chrome or Nearby Notifications
can scan for and display these URLs after
passing them through a proxy.
How does it work?
Everything is a tap away: Walk up and interact with
any object -- a parking meter, a toy, a poster -- or
location -- a bus stop, a museum, a store -- without
installing an app first. Interactions are only a tap
See what’s useful around you: See web pages
associated with the space around you. Choose the
page most useful to you
Any object or place can broadcast content: When
anything can offer information and utility, the
possibilities are endless.
Physical Web as an Emerging
Retail: Auto check-out (mobile payment), proximity-based
product information and discounts.
Location Based Services:
Mass Transit: Marketing messages to passengers, bus
schedule and bus proximity aid for the visually impaired.
Museums: Proximity-based art information.
Navigation: Directional information within a mall,
commercial complexes, city centers or campuses.
Pay Parking: Interact with parking meter to select parking
duration and payment.
Advertisement: Dynamic advertisement, digital display
Physical Web as an Emerging
NFC: Disrupting Retail
NFCs can be used in retail to support auto check-out, thus
disrupting the existing retail payment model and bringing in
new customers who use online purchasing to avoid wait
times and the hassles of navigating through stores. NFC will
replace and extend the services offered by the existing PoS
systems. While Amazon GO is an innovation in faster check-
outs, NFCs provide a simplified, low-cost solution that
achieve the same goal.
Beacons: Disrupting Location-based Services
Beacons can be used in museums and booths to provide
information on display items, thus creating new market
altogether for location-based services.
To estimate the diffusion timeline, it was assumed the
physical web would diffuse at roughly the same rate as
tertiary technology, in this case Bluetooth. Using the Bass
Model of diffusion there was an estimated 450 Million
users, an innovation rate of 1%, and a imitation rate of
9%. This lines up with the known Bluetooth diffusion
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 52 56 60
Based on the analysis, Physical web will be mainstream by early 2019
and will be disruptive in the retail industry and in location based service
industries. It means that retailers/business do not have to invest in
developing and supporting a custom app, or in marketing the app, thus
allowing focus on content and customer. It also means consumers can
discover and interact with physical things, thus enabling market
innovation to follow providing richer consumer experiences.
• It’s where the Internet of Things (IoT) intersects the legacy physical things, thus creating
new market opportunities for connecting existing legacy physical things with internet.
• It’s a fundamentally new way for consumers to discover and interact with physical
• It’s a platform primed for new innovations around providing richer consumer