As finalists of Startup World, we were invited to a tour of the Facebook campus in Menlo Park. At the first stop in the tour, we were greeted by a flatscreen displaying a map and directory (see above). Immediately our eyes grew wide: had Facebook developed a live, interactive directory of everyone present in the building?
Hyla Wallis, our tour guide and veteran Facebooker, explained that these flatscreens, located throughout the campus, indicate the familiar “you are here” dot, list where everyone sits and display which meeting rooms are available and booked (green/red). All but the latter are based on static information. This is where our technology could shine.
We’ve been operating a live directory with flatscreens at Notman House in Montreal for well over a year now, having started as an experiment in our FounderFuel cohort. You can check it out right now, it’s simply a responsive webpage. Our cloud knows who/what is present because they carry a little keyfob device that is uniquely identifiable by sensors we installed in the building (see our technology).
How cool would it be to have this installed campus-wide! What amazing features could Facebook build with real-time knowledge of the presence of everyone and everything at points of interest?
- Live locator: take the existing Facebook flatscreen application and add real-time information about any person you might look up. Are they at their desk, in a meeting, playing ping-pong, not even on campus?
- Meeting notifications: did the meeting room you’ve booked just free up? Did the first person scheduled for that meeting already arrive? Last-minute room change? Could be a friendly reminder in the ticker.
- Friend suggestions: did you spend time with someone new in a meeting, at lunch, at a hackathon? We know! How about you become friends on Facebook?
- Auto login: did you just arrive on campus or at your desk ready for work? Let the system log you in automatically so that your colleagues know. Leaving campus for home? Log out automatically.
- The physical Like button: do you like one of the restaurants on campus, or one of their menu items? Like what another department is working on? Enjoy the satisfaction of pressing a real, big Like button. Your presence associates this with your account.
Of course, we’d expect the creative minds at Facebook to dream up uses far more awesome than these. But the point is that all of this is possible today: we would merely provide the tools to identify the presence of people throughout the campus at points of interest so that their in-house team could build the rest using our API. Since there are already network cables running everywhere (see photo below) installing our sensor reels would be a plug-n-play breeze. We’d love to create a custom keyfob design in the shape of the iconic “f” for everyone to carry with their badge. And of course, there’s the potential to add BLE beacon functionality to the Facebook app so that anyone can opt-in and participate using the latest smartphones.
A corporate campus is a hotbed of opportunity for our technology. The Facebook corporate campus takes this to a whole new level.