USING PROXIMITY SENSORS FOR RECEIVING SIGNALS IN A FACILITY
Emre Burak Turhan Sokullu
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No.
62/057,433, filed September 30, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.
 This disclosure relates generally to location awareness and social networking technologies. More particularly, the disclosure relates to feeding social networks with location aware activity data captured through mobile devices that listen to and calculate their proximity with an array of low-power sensors (or "beacons") that continuously transmit their identity information.
 Recent developments in iBeacon and Bluetooth low energy (also, "Bluetooth LE" or "BLE") technologies represent opportunities for the social networking industry. Smart computing devices (phones, glasses, watches and any internet connected machine) can feed public or private social networking systems, with valuable, context-rich, relevant data. For example, social networking systems are provided information about a user from a user appliance, such as a mobile electronic device, for distribution to other members of the social networking system who have a friend relationship or other connection with the user. Feeding such user information to the social network does not necessarily require the conscious, deliberate actions of the user.
 While social networking systems may use GPS-generated raw location data (with geographic latitude and longitude information) to feed their own social networking systems, there is a need for an approach that can capture the exact activity of the actor (i.e., the person who has installed that app on his or her mobile device) without the actor's deliberate interaction with any device. For example, to check in to a restaurant one must explicitly state the name and address of or otherwise explicitly select the restaurant. Existing apps can only choose its best estimations based on the geographic location. In such a conventional approach, the app cannot track the exact activity within this specific restaurant. There is also a need for an approach in which the app can know the exact activity that is being pursued by an actor pursuing without actor interaction.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a proximity sensing and location system, according to the embodiments as disclosed herein.
 FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic diagram of an establishment, according to the embodiments as disclosed herein.
 FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating various method embodiments herein.
 FIG. 4 depicts a social networking site 400 that supports new applications, according to the embodiments as disclosed herein.
 FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a machine in the example form of a computer system 500 within which instructions for causing the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies discussed herein may be executed.
 The figures depict various embodiments of the present invention for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following discussion that alternative embodiments of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed without departing from the principles of the invention described herein.
 The present subject matter pertains to systems and methods for calculating a user's proximity to certain indoor and outdoor beacons that transmit their identity information continuously through Bluetooth LE or similar signals.
 The embodiments herein provide automated computerized systems and methods that automate activity postings to one or more social networking systems (such as web sites) through the ordinary use of media and status capturing devices, such as a beacon that may also contain cameras, microphones, etc. With the embodiments herein, the user is identified by a device with a known location, and their social networking systems will automatically be updated with media content and textual descriptions of the user's location and activities, without requiring any input from the user. Further, if the device takes or records audio, video, pictures, or other content, these content items may also be uploaded without any additional input from the user. Moreover, the uploaded content may be appended with text automatically.
 One generalized embodiment herein is a computer-implemented method that identifies a current location of a user based on a known location of an electronic device when a proximity sensor device is in close range of the electronic device. The method
automatically creates a user status data file based on the known location. The user status data file contains data identifies that the user is currently close to the known proximity sensor.
The method automatically uploads the user status data file to a social networking web site associated with the user as an activity post associated with the user.
Hardware and System Related Description
 FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a proximity sensor system, according to the embodiments as disclosed herein.
 In an embodiment, the user device automatically creates a user status data file (using the computerized processor) based on the known location and a point of interest data file, the user status data file comprising data identifying that the user is currently at a point of interest corresponding to the known location. The user device may also capture video, still pictures, and/or audio while identifying the current user location. The device may also automatically add the video, still pictures, audio, etc. to the user status data file. The device then automatically uploads the user status data file to a cloud storage space accessible by a social networking web site associated with the user. The social networking web site processes the content (e.g., location, captured media, etc.) and adds it as an activity post associated with an account of the user with the social networking system.
 A beacon according to embodiments herein is a small stationary device that can be positioned at a venue, which may be persistent or for a particular event. Multiple such beacons can be distributed throughout the venue or for the event. Each device transmits its unique identifier identified with a Bluetooth LE or similar technology, and may have information about its specific location within the event or venue, as well as access to information about that event/venue. The beacon can include, or be connected, to one or more cameras that can take photos or videos of users at their request, as well as one or more microphones that may allow users to add a voice and sound to the information that is transmitted to their account. Alternatively, mobile devices, such as cloud-enabled cameras or cameras that are wirelessly connected to a beacon may be used to upload experience content automatically to a user's cloud storage account.
System Block Diagram
 Referring to FIG. 1, a proximity and location sensing system 100 may be embodied within a portable user appliance such as a mobile electronic device. The proximity and location sensing system 100 includes a computerized processor 108, which
communicates through a short range wireless or other communication interface (to be described below) to a beacon device 102.
 In an embodiment, the beacon device 102, or a plurality of such beacon devices 104, is located within a facility 140. The facility 140 may be any venue the user might visit,
such as a store, restaurant, health & fitness club, cultural or entertainment establishment, other point of interest, etc., for which information regarding the user's presence at the facility 140 and the user's activities there may be of interest to other members of the user's public or private social networking system. Through this communication interface, the beacon device 102 receives a registration from the user by means of the user's mobile device and the proximity and location sensing system 100.
 The beacon device 102 transmits its unique identifier via Bluetooth LE or similar low energy logarithmic close proximity signals. The proximity and location sensing system 100 may be embodied within a portable electronic device, such as a smart phone (as shown in FIG. 2 and described below). The portable electronic device may run an operating system, such as IOS or Android. The proximity and location sensing system 100 processes the proximity signal, computes the exact proximity of the aforementioned beacon device 102 from the portable electronic device, looks up the beacon's point of interest data file 112 which may provide information regarding the beacon's location, the venue, nearby points of interest, etc. The point of interest data file 112 may have been preinstalled with the app along with the functional aspects of the proximity and location sensing system 100, or may have been preloaded through AJAX calls from the social networking website 106 in regular intervals or on a real-time update basis. Also, a given point of interest data file 112 associated with a particular point of interest may reside within the respective beacon device's point of interest data file 112, and may be transmitted from the beacon device 102 to the user device when proximity is detected.
 The beacon devices 102 may include processors similar to the computerized processor 108 shown within the proximity and location sensing system 100. Further, while certain components are shown as being within the system 100 and other components are shown as being located within the facility 140, those ordinarily skilled in the art would understand that the various components shown in FIG. 1 could be at different locations. For example, the entire proximity and location sensing system 100, or many components and therein, could be located within a cloud application, or could be located within one of the beacon devices 102. In addition while a single proximity and location sensing system 100 and a single computerized processor 108, is illustrated and discussed, those ordinarily skilled in the art would understand that many such systems and devices could be utilized with embodiments herein. Thus, FIG. 1 (and the other drawings) are merely examples of how the embodiments herein could be implemented, and are not intended to limit the ways in which the embodiments herein can be implemented.
 The beacon devices 102 may include or otherwise be associated with a camera, motion sensor, accelerometer or others sensors, as well as processing units that can transmit not only the unique identifier of the beacon, but also some data that will allow the app to estimate the type and attributes of an activity that is performed near the beacon devices 102. For example, if the beacon device 102 is near an exercise machine (i.e.e, the point of interest for the location associated with the beacon device 102), the beacon device 102 may be configured to determine how the machine was used, such as number of reps, calories burned, distance traveled, etc.
 The proximity and location sensing system 100 can be embodied in one or more devices that are physically or logically connected to one another (such as in a cloud environment). Each one of the beacon devices 102 transmits its unique identifier and may provide media and status for its associated point of interest.
 The computerized instructions 110 of the proximity and location sensing system 100 can comprise one or more physical devices, such as electronic storage, magnetic media storage, optical storage, etc. and various necessary elements, such as power supply, physical connections interfaces, etc. The computerized instructions 110 can store (i.e., tangibly embody) one or more files such as a point of interest data file 112, associated data, etc. Such instructions or programs 110 are executed by processors, such as the computerized processor 108, to perform the various methodologies and functions described herein.
 The computerized processor 108 (which is directly or indirectly in communication with the computer-readable storage medium containing the computerized instructions 110, etc.) automatically creates a file entry in a user status data file 114 when the user's presence is identified by one of the beacon devices 102. The user status data file 1 14 comprises data identifying that the user is currently at the facility 140 corresponding to the location of the beacon device 102. The computerized processor 108 then automatically uploads the user status data file 114 to a social networking web site 106 associated with the user as an activity post associated with the user.
 The user status data file 114 can optionally maintain at least one textual data file (which can include database entries) comprising predetermined textual descriptions of the points of interest maintained within the user status data file 114. The vendor's point of interest's specific information is stored in the point of interest data file 112. While a textual description of the user's current location is provided as an example of an item that can be included within the user status data file 114, such textural descriptions are not required. For example, graphical items such as map location identifiers of the points of interest, previously
stored pictures of the points of interest, previously stored logos of the points of interest etc., can be added to the user status data file 114 instead of, or in addition to, any predetermined textual descriptions of the points of interest.
 The computerized processor 108 can automatically merge the predetermined textual descriptions of the points of interest of the facility 140 with the name (or some other identification) of the user to automatically produce a unique string of text describing the user at the point of interest. The computerized processor 108 automatically can add this unique string of text to the user status data file 114. Therefore, with embodiments herein, the user may merely register and appear before the beacon device 102 to have textual descriptions of their current location created and uploaded to their preferred social networking sites, in which case the user need not take any other action to maintain their virtual presence with their friends.
 The beacon devices 102 (e.g., position-known cameras, microphones, etc.) can capture video, still pictures, and/or audio simultaneously while (or near in time) identifying the current user's location. The computerized processor 108 can also automatically add the video, still pictures, audio, etc., to the user status data file 114. Therefore, the social networking website 106 can be automatically updated, without requiring any additional input from the user. This reduces the cumbersome nature of conventional systems and allows users to more frequently update their social networking sites in real time, without any additional effort.
 FIG. 2 depicts a component diagram of a beacon device such as the beacon devices 102 of FIG. 1, according to the embodiments as disclosed herein. As depicted in FIG. 2, the beacon device 102 comprises a short range transmitter 204, and is connected to a smart phone/device 206 and a software application. The beacon device 102 may be coupled for synchronization to the social networking website 106, in a manner similar to the coupling between the proximity and location sensing system 100 and the social networking website 106 which was described in connection with FIG. 1. The beacon device 102 interfaces with a portable electronic communication device carried by a user.
 The beacon device 102 includes a short range transmitter 204. The short range transmitter 204 is deployed within an establishment to be visited by the user, who will be carrying a portable appliance embodying the proximity and location sensing system 100 of FIG. 1, in order to transmit a signal thereto. The beacon device 102 transmits a unique identifier with a Bluetooth LE signal and then the smart phone/device 206 captures the Bluetooth LE signal and computes the proximity with logarithmic calculations. The software
application processes the proximity data along with the unique identifier to feed them into the social networking system 106. In an embodiment, other members of the social networking system supported by the social networking website 106 are informed about the user's activity within the establishment or facility 140.
 FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating various method embodiments herein. More specifically, FIG. 3 depicts using a vendor-offered service. The illustrated method may be embodied in computer program software making up part of the computerized instructions 110 executed by the computerized processor 108. As an example, one computer-implemented method herein maintains at least one point of interest data file comprising points of interest within a computer-readable storage medium. The point of interest data file can maintain points of interest relating to a facility (such as an amusement park, a shopping mall, a conference center, a tourist location, etc.)
 As part of the process of maintaining the point of interest (POI) data file, in Step 302, the embodiments herein allow vendors and other parties to register various points of interest, thereby allowing the POI data file to be continuously updated. In addition, as shown in Step 304, embodiments herein can optionally maintain (also within the computer-readable storage medium) at least one textual data file that comprises predetermined textual descriptions of the points of interest maintained within the point of interest data file. Textual descriptions of the points of interest may be also updated continuously by vendors and other parties.
 As mentioned above, the vendor can obtain permission (step 306) from the customer/user to capture images, audio, etc., and update the user's social networking web sites. One embodiment uses a kiosk or other similar electronic registration device located within the facility 140 to allow the user to register. This registration authorizes one or more additional beacon device 102 to interact with the user while the user is within the facility 140. The user can also (or alternatively) set their preferences in Step 306.
 In Step 308, the method automatically identifies the user's current proximity to a beacon. Also, simultaneously while identifying the current user proximity in Step 308, the method can optionally capture video, still pictures, and/or audio, etc.
 As shown in Step 310, this embodiment automatically creates a user status data file (using the computerized processor 108) based on the known location and the point of interest data file. The user status data file contains data identifying that the user is currently at a point of interest corresponding to the known location of the beacon.
 When utilizing the embodiments herein, a user has the option to have their current location associated with one or more of such point of interest data files. The user status data file created in Step 310 stores geographic data identifying that the user is currently at the point of interest associated with the vendor and can automatically add the textual description of the geographic location to the user status data file.
 In Step 312, the user can optionally be provided some editing choices through the beacon devices 102 located throughout the venue. For example, in Step 312, the user can be allowed to add or remove text, pictures, audio, video, etc., or, in the case of a health & fitness equipment to change their exercise behavior/features from the previously automatically prepared user status data file. Thus, once a user status data file has been created, the user can be provided some form of notice that the automatically prepared user status data file is ready to be uploaded and the user can optionally be provided a yes/no choice of whether to edit the file. If the user declines to edit the file or finishes editing the file, it will then be
automatically uploaded. Alternatively, the user may set their preferences to never edit the file contents, in which case the user status data file would skip Step 312 and upload directly to their personal cloud storage area.
 After creating and editing the user status data file in Steps 310 and 312, the embodiments herein then automatically upload the user status data file to the social networking web site 106 associated with the user (as an activity post associated with the user), possibly via the user's personal cloud storage space, using the computerized processor 108 in Step 314. As noted above, the user editing in step 312 is purely optional. If the user does not provide any editing input, the status data file is still complete and ready to be uploaded (step 314) as an activity post about the user. The user data file may pass through a personal cloud storage space before being uploaded to the social networking website 106. Many of the foregoing processes are optional. Thus, for example, the process discussed above can be generalized so that the method merely identifies a current location of a user based on a known location of an electronic device when the user interacts with the electronic device. The method automatically creates a user status data file based on the known location. The user status data file contains data identifying that the user is currently at the known location. The method automatically uploads the user status data file to a social networking web site associated with the user as an activity post associated with the user.
 As mentioned above, the user can set their preferences in Step 306, which provides safeguards to the user to maintain user privacy. Therefore, in Step 306, the user can identify (through various menu driven options on the portable device) when and how often
automated activity posts will be generated about them. For example, the creation of user status data files can be limited to certain days, certain times of the day, certain geographical locations, certain frequencies (once an hour, etc.), etc. The user can also toggle on or off the features described herein at various kiosks to only allow user status data files to be created when the user explicitly allows them. In addition, in Step 306 the user can edit generically created point of interest files or textual data files to more closely match their personal style. Further, the user can limit which social networking sites will receive the posts of the user status data files in Step 306. While some preferences are mentioned herein, as would be understood by those ordinarily skilled in the art, these preferences are merely examples and many other preferences can be selected in Step 306.
 Although the capabilities of social networking sites are continually growing, types of automatic updates that are capable with the embodiments herein include the following. The embodiments herein can automatically create a new photo album and upload pictures to the album documenting the user's experience. In addition, API calls may be used to update the patron's site with pictures captured at the event. Similarly, audio clips and video clips can also be captured and shared.
 The embodiments herein can perform status updates in various intervals and granularity— for instance, from posting generic status such as "Serena is touring the
Hollywood Museum in California," to posting more specific status updates such as "Serena is touring the Dungeon of Doom." Also, when particular events or actions occur during the visit, a status update can be made, such as "Serena just became a member of the fan's association of Tom Cruise." Numerous third-party applications can be utilized to further the electronic experience. For instance, a Facebook third-party application "Cities I've Visited" can be updated to automatically place a pin on the city of the venue or event. In another example, museum staff may install beacons in proximity to various ones of their artworks and may program the software application 202 of the beacon device 102 to transmit information about the artworks. The computerized instructions 110 can find out what artworks the user looked at, based on the transmission from the beacon device 102, and can share this information with the user's social networking systems of choice or a private social networking system of the museum itself.
 FIG. 4 depicts a graphical user interface window showing a social networking site 400 that supports new applications. It includes, for example, interaction tools 402; societal items such as social presence, actor profiles, and social graph; and social site application services 406. Web site content and applications are shown as 410, and the infrastructure
services model is shown as 412. The infrastructure services model 412 includes collaboration and content services as well as social networking services. The system 100 of FIG. 1 interacts with the social networking site 400 of FIG. 4 through the site's advertised infrastructure services 412.
 To use the point of interest's application built on such an experience capture platform, the user must first allow the application access to their social networking site. Before attending the point of interest, the user can use a remote computer, mobile device, or local computer to allow the application to access and modify their activity content as well as allow offline access so that it may update content while the patron is not actively on the social networking site 400.
Example Use Cases
 In one example use case of the present subject matter, a museum may decide to install beacons to each of their art pieces. There would be a sign at the entry of the museum that recommends the visitors to install the museum's app to their mobile phone. Once the mobile app is installed and specific permissions are granted on their social networking systems of choice, the visitors would get information on each specific piece of art they look at without interacting with the app automatically through the proximity sensors described above. Besides this utilitarian benefit, this proximity information could also be shared the visitors' social networking system(s) of choice as a status update, such as "Jim has looked at Da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting," or this information could be compiled within the private social networking system of the museum itself and presented on their public web site as an activity stream.
 In another example is an application in a health and fitness club. By having the club staff install beacon devices 102 to certain equipment in the club, the software application installed in the user device can find out whether one worked out with barbells, or ran on a treadmill, or biked on a stationary bike, or swam in a pool, and for how long, and feed this data collected to public or private social networking systems.
 A third scenario involves devices not related to an event. A tourist in New York City may spontaneously decide to visit the Empire State Building. There could be a beacon device 102 available at the top of the building for taking people pictures with a NYC skyline background. The tourist registers directly with the beacon device 102 to send experience content to their cloud storage account or their user device, and specifies profile information such that the content is associated with the current NYC trip.
 In the example of an event setup, guests of the event can install an app which acts both as a Bluetooth LE transmitter and a sensor. This way, the attendees can find out who is exactly where and can network more successfully and efficiently.
System Block Diagram
 FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a machine in the example form of a computer system 500 comparable to the computerized processor 108 of FIG. 1, within which instructions for causing the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies discussed herein may be executed. In alternative embodiments, the machine operates as a standalone device or may be connected (e.g., networked) to other machines. In a networked deployment, the machine may operate in the capacity of a server or a client machine in a server-client network environment, or as a peer machine in a peer-to-peer (or distributed) network environment. The machine may be a personal computer (PC), a tablet PC, a set-top box (STB), a personal digital assistant (PDA), cellular telephone, a web appliance, a network router, switch or bridge, or any machine capable of executing instructions (sequential or otherwise) that specify actions to be taken by that machine. Further, while only a single machine is illustrated, the term "machine" shall also be taken to include any collection of machines that individually or jointly execute a set (or multiple sets) of instructions to perform any one or more of the methodologies discussed herein.
 The example computer system 500 includes a processor 502 (e.g., a central processing unit (CPU), a graphics processing unit (GPU), or both), a main memory 504, and a static memory 506, which communicate with each other via a bus 508. The computer system 500 may further include a video display unit 510 (e.g., a liquid crystal display (LCD) or a cathode ray tube (CRT)). The computer system 500 also includes an alphanumeric input device 512 (e.g., a keyboard), a user interface (UI) navigation device 514 (e.g., a mouse), a disk drive unit 516, a signal generation device 518 (e.g., a speaker), and a network interface device 520. The computer system 500 may also include an environmental input device 526 that may provide a number of inputs describing the environment in which the computer system 500 or another device exists, including, but not limited to, any of a Global Positioning Sensing (GPS) receiver, a temperature sensor, a light sensor, a still photo or video camera, an audio sensor (e.g., a microphone), a velocity sensor, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a compass.
 The foregoing description of the embodiments of the invention has been presented for the purpose of illustration; it is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to
the precise forms disclosed. Persons skilled in the relevant art can appreciate that many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above disclosure.
 Some portions of this description describe the embodiments of the invention in terms of algorithms and symbolic representations of operations on information. These algorithmic descriptions and representations are commonly used by those skilled in the data processing arts to convey the substance of their work effectively to others skilled in the art. These operations, while described functionally, computationally, or logically, are understood to be implemented by computer programs or equivalent electrical circuits, microcode, or the like. Furthermore, it has also proven convenient at times, to refer to these arrangements of operations as modules, without loss of generality. The described operations and their associated modules may be embodied in software, firmware, hardware, or any combinations thereof.
 Any of the steps, operations, or processes described herein may be performed or implemented with one or more hardware or software modules, alone or in combination with other devices. In one embodiment, a software module is implemented with a computer program product comprising a computer-readable medium containing computer program code, which can be executed by a computer processor for performing any or all of the steps, operations, or processes described.
 Embodiments of the invention may also relate to an apparatus for performing the operations herein. This apparatus may be specially constructed for the required purposes, and/or it may comprise a general-purpose computing device selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program stored in the computer. Such a computer program may be stored in a non-transitory, tangible computer readable storage medium, or any type of media suitable for storing electronic instructions, which may be coupled to a computer system bus. Furthermore, any computing systems referred to in the specification may include a single processor or may be architectures employing multiple processor designs for increased computing capability.
 Embodiments of the invention may also relate to a product that is produced by a computing process described herein. Such a product may comprise information resulting from a computing process, where the information is stored on a non-transitory, tangible computer readable storage medium and may include any embodiment of a computer program product or other data combination described herein.
 Finally, the language used in the specification has been principally selected for readability and instructional purposes, and it may not have been selected to delineate or
circumscribe the inventive subject matter. It is therefore intended that the scope of the invention be limited not by this detailed description, but rather by any claims that issue on an application based hereon. Accordingly, the disclosure of the embodiments of the invention is intended to be illustrative, but not limiting, of the scope of the invention, which is set forth in the following claims.