A few years ago, a couple of my friends told me that the Milk Bar from NYC was visiting the Los Angeles area to do a 1-day, food truck promotion with Lactaid. They would be giving away FREE ice cream creations near the beach in Santa Monica, CA. and we absolutely had to go. We double-checked the times and location and headed out for some FREE ice cream. This short trip was the first step towards Beeconz.
We arrived at Ocean Ave. & Wilshire Blvd. around 1:00 pm but the Milk Bar truck was nowhere in sight. We walked up and down Ocean Ave. from Wilshire to the Santa Monica Pier checking side streets, alleys,/ and parking lots all along the way but after more than an hour, it was clear that there would be no free ice cream that day.
Frustrated and hungry after blocks of walking filled with “Where the f**k are they?”, we decided to grab a quick bite and see where things had gone wrong. We checked the Instagram post and discovered we weren’t the only ones who had missed out.
By now I only had two questions:
“Why is it so hard to find a food truck?”
“Isn’t there an app or something that could help?”
One Instagram commenter asked, “Why would you promote in such a way that’s so vague for people to NOT be able to find it?”
The answer: Because Ocean Ave. and Wilshire near the Santa Monica Pier was about as accurate as they could be. What if there wasn’t any parking available at the posted intersection or, they needed to relocate completely? There had to be a better and more accurate way to answer the question, “Where are you?”.
Everyone else answers that question with their address, but trucks move around so an address isn’t an option.
But what if it was? That was it. That was the answer.
We could give food trucks an address, a mobile address. It would be an app that would generate a unique and customizable 6-character code that would be shared with their customers to be used to find them anywhere, anytime.
On a side note, Milk Bar L.A. opened a while later so I was finally able to try them. All I can say is don’t wait for a birthday to try their Birthday Cake.
As I thought about the food truck location issue, it occurred to me that this needed to be more than just a food truck finder.
I drew from my own jobs and experiences to brainstorm other uses for a mobile address.
• For private listings that real estate agents aren’t ready to make public yet.
• Event and pop-up promotion locations
• Booth locations at trade shows
• Locations and staging areas for film, TV and commercials
• Private parties or get togethers.
• For my uncle who drives a semi
And even outdoor and destination weddings could benefit as the hike out to my sister’s wedding reminded me.
The app would need some very specific features if it was going to serve such a broad range of services.
Features such as:
• Customizable codes
• Flexible durations including long term lease options
• In-app scheduling from 1 day to weekly reoccurring
• Ability to make the code public for more exposure
• Need to automatically track your location if needed
• Need to be linkable to your website and easily sharable on social media
And that was just for starters.
I wanted business owners, event planners, and private users to feel like Beeconz was created so their customers could find them.
Other apps make their business one choice among many. Beeconz makes them the destination because, just like any other business, you would find them by searching for their address. In this case, however, the address happens to be mobile.
At that moment, Beeconz was born. A mobile address for anyone, anywhere, anytime.
That was a good start, but I wanted to make the app indispensable for everyday use, so I continued identifying situations where Beeconz could help.
My bicycle got a flat tire so I decided to call a cab to pick up me and my bike. I repeatedly told them “There is no address. I’m at Overland where it crosses the Ballona Creek Bike Path.”
I was informed that they would not send someone unless I could give them a physical address. I ended up pushing my bike up the street to find an address to give them but still had to wait an hour for the cab.
… and Friends
While developing Beeconz, when I told people it would be good for vendors at festivals, they’d reply, “Great, but what I really need is a way to keep track of my friends.”
We all have friends who tell us they’re “almost there.” What If we could see exactly where “almost” was?
How about being able to answer the question, “Where are you?” by actually showing your location with directions?
What if I needed to send someone on an errand and track their progress? I made sure that Beeconz could take care of all of that, too.
The app enables you to:
• Quickly share your location with up to four people at once while also tracking theirs.
• Keep in touch with in-app messaging.
• See live progress updates of your friends while en route to an event or shared destination.
• Get notified when your friends have arrived.
• Display the nearest intersection to convey directions to car service.
After a night of partying, a friend of mine knocked on my door, needing a ride to go pick up his motorcycle. Simple, since he had a pretty good idea where he had left it. It was in the Hollywood Hills at the end of the street.
Maybe not so simple. The Hollywood Hills are a maze of winding streets, most of which have a dead end. After almost an hour of winding through and turning around, we finally found a street that looked familiar.
“It’s right around this corner on the other side of the black Range Rover.”
Finally, our quest was coming to an end. We rounded the corner and, I wish I was making this up, but almost every car as far as we could see was a black Range Rover. It took another hour of driving around to finally find his motorcycle. It was next to a black Range Rover, though. Yep, we needed to add a “Where’d I park?” feature.
“Me Beez” allows you to:
• Tap the “Me Beez” button to mark your current location.
• Show the path and directions back to your pin from your new location.
• Mark where you left your vehicle, or mark a “meet back here” location or anything else.
• Use it in conjunction with other Beeconz features.
I also wanted something to help during an emergency. The situations that kept coming to mind were, “what if someone got lost or went off the road where no one could see them?”
The important “Where are you?” question would be answered by simply holding down one button for a couple of seconds. The app then sends your location with directions to your preselected contacts. It also activates in-app messaging and the ability to call 911 directly from the app, if you’re able.
Beeconz was conceived to address a single problem but developed to be so much more. It went from simply a food truck finder to a finder for anything.
After two years in development, Beeconz officially launched in September of 2019 on the App Store. In February of 2020 we were awarded a patent for our “Beaconing System and Method” aka, the ability to create and find a mobile address.
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