It’s easy to assume we’ve reached the summit of the way we interact with our tech. We’ve gone from simple switches, through to smart phones, then to voice assistants – as evolutionary journeys go, it would seem this journey has reached its peak.

 

But all is not as it seems. Voice is incredible and thanks to Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri it’s now used by billions of people. It’s incredible, but it’s not perfect. It can’t do everything, there’s a definite margin for error, and sometimes it’s quite simply not appropriate to use voice-activated controls.

 

It’s here the smart button comes in. At CES 2019, Google introduced a preview of its Google Assistant Connect platform. This platform is designed to make it easier for companies to integrate their products with Google Assistant and takes much of the heavy lifting away from the company and places it within the Assistant app.

 

One of the devices Google previewed was a smart button which can be used to simplify complex tasks or perform your favourite Assistant routine. If it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for us!

 

We’ve always viewed smart buttons as the next iteration in how we interact with tech and we expect this to flourish in 2019. The best smart buttons open up a world of possibilities while retaining the very quality that made them so attractive in the first place – their simplicity.

 

Picture the scene… you’re fast asleep, your mind’s drifting through different dreams. Then the alarm sounds, jolting you awake. You don’t want to wake the rest of the household so you don’t say ‘Ok Google, start my morning routine.’ Instead, you reach for a button and press it without opening your eyes.

 

The alarm stops. Your lights turn on to the ‘wake up’ scene you’ve set for them. Your morning playlist starts through your wireless speaker, the thermostat kicks in to heat up your home, your coffee machine starts, a note is automatically made in your calendar for when you woke up, and you’ve messaged the office to tell them you’ll be there in an hour.

 

All with the push of a button.

 

This isn’t science fiction. This is right now. And it all happens because of a single click. This could potentially be done with voice but who wants to be saying: “Hey Google, start my morning routine” as soon as they open their eyes?

 

Here’s three ways buttons are changing the way we interact with our technology and, by extension, the world around us:

 

  1. Convenience. A smart button like Flic has three ways to use it. You push it once, you push it twice, or you hold it down. These three commands can then trigger whatever actions you want them to do. It’s simple and it’s convenient. You don’t have to ask a voice assistant to do it for you and you don’t have to scroll through your phone to find the right app to perform the action you want. When it comes to smart home control, this is absolutely crucial and it’s here smart buttons are a true game changer. We are creatures of convenience and smart buttons help us streamline processes in an easy and effective way.

 

  1. Subtlety. Pushing a button can be a very discreet action. If it’s in your pocket, no one will ever even know you’ve pressed it. Say you’re having a bad date you want to get out of it in a polite way, you can’t then turn round and say ‘Siri, make a fake phone call to my phone.’ With a button you can. One press and your phone starts ringing with the emergency call to help you escape. On a slightly more practical level, try saying ‘Hey Google’ in a meeting room full of Android users and see what happens. Buttons can even be used to activate your voice assistant, taking out the need for unnecessary commands.

 

  1. Chain reactions. The beauty of buttons is the ability to create chain reactions which trigger a number of actions at once. Rushing out of home in the morning? Simultaneously turn off all your lights, your heating or air con, open the garage door, close your window shades and arm your security system. Getting ready to go to bed? Then turn on your electric blanket, dim the lights, lock the doors, set your alarm and start tracking your sleep. With integrations with services like IFTTT and Zapier, there are countless possibilities to explore.

 

Buttons are the next step in the way we interact with tech. Like the best technology, they are built to enhance our lives, make complicated tasks simple, and to be a joy to use.

 

So go grab your own buttons and start making your life easier.

 

Shop Buttons 

 

What a start to 2019! For the fifth year running the Flic team went to CES, the global stage for innovation and the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.

Not only did we get to show hundreds of people what Flic is and open their eyes to the power of using a smart button, but we also got to see first hand some of the latest tech that’s set to shape future.

From foldable TVs and phones, enhanced virtual reality, self-driving cars, all the latest smart home gadgets, more wearables than you could fit on your body and everything else in between, CES was a feast of innovation and inspiration.

Here are five things we learned from CES 2019…and our advice to any company who are thinking of exhibiting there next year.

1. Technology must serve a purpose.

Just because we can do something, it doesn’t always mean we should. Technology for technology’s sake isn’t going to cut it anymore – new products have to serve a purpose and enhance the lives of the end users. Startups that add technology or the word “smart” to things just because it hasn’t been done before are less common now at CES. You can still find a smart pet toilet, smart nail polish, even a smart pepper spray… but more companies are starting to think if there really is a value in making something smart before selling it.

2. The smart home battle is hotting up.

Google had a huge presence at CES as it looks to make 2019 the year Google Home and Google Assistant become integral parts to the lives of millions. Of course, in the opposite corner, is Amazon and Alexa, who already have the larger market share. The good news for the consumer is more devices than ever before support both options so, ultimately, the customer wins.

3. AI will be everywhere.

Following on from the above, AI is becoming integrated with everything – from TVs automatically changing their settings based on light conditions to golf clubs tracking shots and displaying stats in an app. Traditionally, we’ve viewed artificial intelligence as the ‘robots’ of the future. In reality it’s different and more subtle – AI will exist everywhere, in everything.

4. 5G is nearly here.

And a large part of the above will be powered by 5G. As GQ put it recently: “Every generation of mobile network so far, including 4G, has been about connecting people. And although 5G will likewise be designed to connect people, it will also be about connecting things.”

5G will be at the heart of automation and AI while, at the same time, bringing users greater speeds and greater capacity. We’ve already been close to the action with Sweden’s first 5G network being tested on the KTH campus where our office is.

5. Buttons are coming.

The keyboard came first, then the touch screen, then the voice assistant. Next is the turn of the smart button. Obviously this is something we’ve always believed in but when Google announced they’re planning to open their integration of Google Assistant with the “Google Assistant Connect Platform” one of the things they showcased was a… smart button 😉


Top Tips For Businesses

This was our fifth year at CES and we moved up a floor, away from the startup section, to take our place among the more established companies. This meant a bigger booth and harder work but also lots more people with questions about Flic. Our booth design made a big difference here, too.

Here’s our top tips for businesses who are attending CES in 2020:

– Provide a demo people can use without having to ask – some people like watching/reading before actually asking somebody. Our demo was a set of Flic buttons to control our presentation, showcasing case studies, what our clients use Flic for, how you can get your company’s logo on Flic buttons, and our famous video (which we made available offline as the internet at CES is a little unreliable).

– Set up for press to come to your booth, have a nice spot for interviews, make your booth photography worthy!

– Create a space with a few comfy chairs and a table if you have room – this worked for us because walking around a fair all day is tiresome and people want to take a load off – it was the perfect way to get people to our booth! It’s also perfect for meetings. You can have people come to you so there’s no need to meet in the noisy food court.

– Drive everyone you meet to your website or social media – we did this by running a Flic giveaway on our social channels.

– Everyone has a smartphone so allow people to take pictures of business cards with their phone which will save paper and save you printing a ton of cards. We ran out of them!

– Stay close to the conference venue. Our hotel was within walking distance of the Sands Expo, so we even went home for lunch! It’s nice to get some fresh air and have a break.

 

It happens every year. January 1st arrives and we’re full of positive intent. “This year,” we tell ourselves, “is going to be different.”

With the best intentions at heart, we vow to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. To wake at 5 am and begin our morning routine of meditation, yoga, a run, and a green smoothie before bounding into the office 30 minutes early with a beaming smile on our face and a spring in our step.

Then the third week of January arrives and everything changes. We realize that 5 am morning routines might work for some people but we’re more than happy to have two cups of coffee and a donut before stumbling into the office five minutes late – the ‘new you’ can wait until next year.

And we’re not alone. Only 15% of New Year’s resolutions are kept, the rest fall quietly by the wayside. This happens for a number of reasons. Firstly, we set ourselves unrealistic expectations. Change is tough and requires more than just willpower alone. It requires a commitment of time and energy, and a desire to want to do things differently.

Secondly, we rarely have anyone to hold us to account if don’t hold up our end of the bargain and we don’t put a system in place to track our progress. And it’s this that can make all the difference.

We’re not suggesting you hire a life coach to follow you around every minute of the day picking you up on all the bad habits you swore you’d get rid of, but we do have a pocket-sized hero that can keep you heading in the right direction.

Here’s how you can use Flic to stick to your resolutions, not just in January, but throughout the whole year.

Log your activity

Straight out of the box, Flic works with Strava and Runkeeper making it easier than ever to log your activity. If you’re trying to hit the gym more in 2019, you can also use the timer function to record the amount of time your working out or the counter function to count the number of times you’ve been to the gym. With IFTTT and Zapier, you can hook both of these actions up to a Google Spreadsheet so, with every press of the button, you’re logging your sessions.

Measure what you’re eating

Eating healthier tops the charts when it comes to the most popular resolutions. Flic can help you track both your good habits and bad habits. You can stick one on your refrigerator and press it once every time you eat something healthy and twice every time you eat something you said you wouldn’t. You can even take it one step further (like this guy did) and integrate your Flic with Google Analytics to run your very own Data Studio report.

Buddy up

On the accountability front, you can use Flic to easily send messages. Say you’ve made it your goal to quit smoking, at the end of every smoke-free day you can push Flic to send a message to a loved one to let them know you’ve gone another day without lighting up. Or, if you want to read more books in 2019, you can set Flic up to send a message to a reading buddy as soon as you finish a book you’re reading.

Make things simple

Flic can help you make life simple. Rushing out of home in the morning? Simultaneously turn off all your lights, your heating or air con, open the garage door, close your window shades and arm your security system. Getting ready to go to bed? Then turn on your electric blanket, dim the lights, lock the doors, set your alarm and start tracking your sleep. Automating simple tasks can end up saving you a huge amount of time throughout the year – time you can then spend instead doing something you love, whether that’s taking up a new hobby or simply spending more time with friends and family.

Make 2019 your best year yet and let Flic help you along the way.

GET YOURS HERE

 

If you’re looking for a stocking filler with a difference or a gift to unlock endless possibilities, Flic has your festive fun buttoned up.

Flic is the perfect gift for any of your nearest and dearest, whether that’s uber cool teenagers or a gadget-loving grandparent. From controlling smart devices through to automating text messages, here’s our guide on who to give the gift of Flic to and some of the super fun ways it can be used.

🤳 The Teenager

It’s undeniable that selfies are all the rage with teenagers. With Flic, they can level-up their selfie game by taking pictures from afar with the push of the button. It can integrate with their favorite music streaming service, send pre-programmed messages (which even include their location!) to parents and even help them find their phone when they (inevitably) forget where they last put it.

🚴 The Cyclist

Cyclists love having the latest gear. If you have a friend or a loved one that’s dreaming of Tour de France glory one day or simply loves a cycle to the office then Flic is a great gift. Here’s how it could work – on one click: start tracking their ride on Strava. On double click: skip the track they’re listening to on their headphones. On hold: send a message saying: “On my way, ETA 10 mins.” As an added bonus it can also be easily attached to the handlebar!

🏃 The Runner

Sticking with the active theme, runners can use Flic in many of the same ways as cyclists with the added benefit of being able to use the wearable clip included with Flic. As well as Strava, Flic also works with Runkeeper.

👶 The New Parents

If you have kids then you’ll recognize the familiar argument among new parents of who changes the most diapers. It can quickly become a bone of contention in any household! Flic can help diffuse the arguments before they even begin by helping you track who changes the most – just like these parents did.

👵 The Grandparents

Forget teenagers, we know many a grandparent who is constantly glued to their smart devices! But sometimes, getting their tablet or phone to do what they want can still be a bit tricky. With Flic, they can do everything from starting and stopping music or an audiobook to easily calling loved ones, toggling the lights and even muting a pill alarm.

📱 The Gadget Dad

Dads love gadgets and, with smart homes now becoming so easy to set up, Dads are discovering their own slice of paradise. As a present, why not bundle up Flics with a Flic Hub and LIFX light or two – you could even set this up for them and trigger different lighting modes on a click or a double click. They’ll LOVE it!

🙋 The Busy Mom

Modern Moms are heroes hiding in plain sight. And most of them are always juggling a hundred things at once. So anything that can make their lives easier must be a good thing, right? A Mom can configure Flic to, on one click, send a text message to her partner or children saying “I’m home soon”, including a link with her current location. Or on a double click how about sending: “Can you pick up the groceries?” Then on hold, setup Flic to reject incoming calls – because all Moms deserve the opportunity to have some peace and quiet when they want it.

💼 The Office Worker

Anything to brighten up the lives of office workers is usually welcomed with open arms. You can set Flic up to change slides on their Keynote presentations – just like Apple’s employees do! What’s more, Flic has remarkable integrations for work, including Slack, IFTTT, and Microsoft Flow.

💡 For the Venture Capitalist, Investor or CEO in your life

If you have someone who finds it hard to dodge meetings that suck both their valuable time and energy then Flic is the savior. Set-up a fake call or discreetly send a Slack message to a colleague for an easy but efficient way to get out of a meeting.

💻 The Coder or Programmer

Coders and programmers love Flic. From making magic happen with a Raspberry Pi to automating builds of their code in Xcode using the Flic Mac app, there’s any number of possibilities for them to enjoy Fli. They can while she’s create their own app to work with Flic! (See the SDKs here)

💞 For the serial dater

Maybe it’s a sibling or a close friend but most of us know that certain someone who is a serial dater. They love to impress and, with Flic, they can take their cool factor up to the max. Flic is perfect for changing the lights, playing music and “setting the mood!”

🔎 For the Secret Agent

Obviously, no one knows an actual secret agent because this information is classified. But if you did, they’ll love being able to secretly record conversations and take photographs with the push of Flic.

Flic is just a button. But it’s probably the most intelligent button you’ve ever encountered. No matter who you are, or who you’re buying a gift for, there are countless possibilities lying in wait for you with Flic.

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November 11th might be Singles’ Day but we want to talk about date nights.

Single or not, we all have an image in our head of the perfect date. For some, it will be mood lighting, champagne, and candles, while for others it might be a crazy party and a night where sleep is the last thing on your mind. Dates come in all shapes and sizes but this doesn’t always mean they’re good. And, actually, bad dates are right up there with some of life’s most awkward moments.

We’ve all been there; it starts with high hopes and ends with shattered dreams. And we feel stuck when a date starts going downhill fast. We want to get out but there’s no polite way of doing so. The evening is unraveling before our eyes and we have no way of controlling it… but what if we did? What if we could push a hidden button to keep control and steer the evening the way we want?

Well, fear not dear reader, for we have the perfect date companion for you. Think of Flic as your very own knight in shining armor (like Brienne of Tarth but smaller). It will always be at your side and when you need saving, all it needs is a push.

Here’s how it can help…

1. Launch your escape plan and get saved by the bell

If your Tinder date isn’t going the way you planned and you’re secretly wishing you swiped left, then push the emergency date escape button and trigger your fake call – make your excuses and find the nearest exit.

2. Make them leave your home

Escape plans are all well and good but what if you’re at your home? Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Get Flic to send a text message to your phone. We find this one from an irate parent works well: “YOU HAVE A LOT TO EXPLAIN. I’m on my way over to you and will be there in 5 minutes.”

 

If things are even more extreme and you don’t want them to ever come back, push the button to trigger your smart lights to flicker on and off, while your stereo plays spooky music and the creepy video from The Ring appears on your TV. Start screaming that the ghost is back and watch them run for the door.

3. Call in the cavalry

Sometimes you might need a friend to come and save you. When you push the button, you can send a text message with your location to a friend so they can call or come and help you out. Set different messages on click/double click and hold. For example – Click: “I’m fine, doing well here”, Double click: “Please call me”, Hold “GET ME OUTTA HERE.”

But what if you don’t need saving? What if you want your date to go to the next level but all the hints you’ve been dropping have fallen on deaf ears? Flic can help here too by dialing up sexy to the max.

You can…

– Push the button to trigger your ‘Netflix and Chill’ playlist while making your home shimmer in red.

– Discreetly push it to turn everything off while you’re watching TV and claim the power’s out. (Did you know that more babies are born nine months after a power outage?)

– Configure Flic to send a message to your loved one (think hearts, flowers, or the eggplant emoji ) so they finally get the hint!

The possibilities are endless with Flic and with our Singles Day Flash Sale, what better time to try them for yourself?

Flic Singles Day Flash Sale

 

Let’s talk about meetings. They’re impossible to avoid, they can quickly clog up our busy diaries and they leave many of us feeling frustrated due to the amount of time they steal in a working week.

When you look at the stats, it’s not hard to see why. The Wall Street Journal found that CEOs spend an average of 27 hours per week in meetings while a further study found, out of the companies they surveyed, the average employee has 62 meetings a month – and half of them said they thought meetings were the biggest time waster in the office.

We all have a lot of meetings in our schedule and it seems that, rather than inspiring us and turbocharging our productivity, many of the meetings we attend leave us feeling frustrated and with a bitter taste in the mouth.

There’s a huge number of great articles out there (like this one) showing you how to hold effective meetings, but we want to show you the simple ways you can make your meetings fun – all of which you can do with the push of a button.

1. Keep things running on time

The curse of bad meetings centers on time being wasted. That’s why it’s so important to keep things on track, on schedule, and on time. You can use Flic to start a timer or a countdown and trigger a siren sound (or even an air horn!) when the time is up.

2. Keep the caffeine (or other refreshments) coming

Board meetings, strategy sessions, and workshops all take up large chunks of time. We’ve all been in the place where we slowly feel ourselves drifting out of the room and tuning out to what’s being said, thinking about when the next coffee break is or wondering what we’re going to have for lunch. A great way to stop the drift is making sure there’s a constant supply of coffee and other refreshments, but no one wants to be getting up all the time to keep them topped up. With Flic and a simple push, the office manager can be alerted that a resupply is needed and, with minimum interruption, fresh coffee can magically arrive.

3. Power up your presentations

Great presentations help make meetings more memorable and keep the people attending engaged. Flic has become an integral part of delivering great presentations thanks to its popularity as a ‘Keynote clicker.’ We’re delighted to announce it’s just got even better with the latest update to our Mac App which you can download here.  

4. Be creative

Flic boats endless possibilities. Want to run a quiz at your meeting? Flic is your ready-made buzzer for answering questions. Want to count the number of times someone deviates from the agenda? Count them with a push of Flic. Want to use your smart lights to help emphasize a point you’re trying to make with some dramatic effects? Flic’s got you covered. You can even integrate Flic with Google Analytics and start using data and insight to revolutionize your meetings. The only limit is the scope of your imagination.

5. Sometimes you need a ‘strategic interruption’

It might be a pitch you’re listening to or simply a meeting that’s gone on for far too long and you need to discreetly bring to a close – this is where a well-planned ‘cry for help’ or ‘strategic interruption’ can come into play. You can use Flic to notify a team member not in the meeting that they need to come and ‘rescue’ you or even to trigger an ‘urgent’ phone call that you simply have to take. We hope situations like this are rare but it always helps to prepare for all eventualities!

In an age where life and business hacks are all the rage and we’re always looking for ways to refine and enhance any experience, isn’t it time we did the same for meetings and turned them into a force for a good rather than them being met with a groan and a sigh?

Why not try out Flic for yourself and see how you can transform your meetings with the push of a button?

Shop Now 

 

Picture the scene… you’ve spent days, maybe even weeks, preparing a presentation to be pitch perfect. You know you’ve got a killer slide deck and you’re ready to ‘wow’ your audience. But then disaster strikes and all your best-laid plans slip by the wayside.

It happens more often than you’d think: your tech doesn’t work properly, the audience is different to who you were expecting, or you’re simply beset by a bad case of nerves. It’s easy for presentations to go wrong but, equally, it’s just as easy to level-up your presentation game and ensure you crush it every time you step up to the plate.

Here are our top tips for delivering knockout presentations every single time:

1. Delivery is everything

Great presentations should educate, engage, inspire, and, when appropriate, entertain. It’s hard to do any of these well if your delivery isn’t on point. From striking the right tone and making eye contact with the audience through to not stumbling over your words and rushing through everything, presentations delivered well have the biggest impact. This video from TED is a great starting point if you want to find out more about nailing the delivery, but you’ll be putting yourself in the best possible position to deliver a great presentation if you…

2. Prepare

Great delivery will often come down to how confident you are. And one of the best ways to go into a presentation brimming over with confidence is to prepare and practice. Know your presentation inside out. Practice it in the shower, in the car, while you’re cooking dinner… whenever you get a spare moment. Visualization also plays a key role in your preparation. Sit down and visualize a “perfect” presentation, or listen to a playlist with music that makes you feel confident, powerful or whatever feeling you want to feel during the presentation. The better you prepare, and the more you practice, the stronger your presentation will be.

3. Be memorable

To quote Maya Angelou: “People won’t remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel.” Of course your content needs to be relevant to your audience (more on that later) but the chances are, months after your presentation they’ll have forgotten the specifics you went into, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. Leave a lasting impression by surpassing expectations and by giving your audience something they didn’t have before (whether that’s knowledge or a feeling you want to leave them with.) There are many ways to be memorable but start with the easiest and deliver your presentation with energy and enthusiasm – something anyone can do.

4. Know your audience

If you’re presenting to the board of directors maybe it’s not the right time to roll out slide after slide of memes. Equally, if your audience is packed full of Millennials, don’t bore them to death with dull slides of bullet points (in fact, it’s probably best you ditch the bullet point slides altogether). If you want to engage your audience the content you deliver has to be relevant to them and then you need to pitch your delivery accordingly. Start with doing your research. Know who your audience is going to be and tailor your content and delivery to their needs.

5. Have a clear narrative and tell a great story

Presentations are mini-stories and, as such, they need a clear structure and narrative arc. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, presentation guru, Nancy Duarte, says: “The most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved.”

Picture yourself as the guide in the story (the Yoda to the audience’s Luke Skywalker). Your job is to show the audience you understand what their challenges or problems are and then share with them your insight and wisdom as to how they can overcome them. The best presentations resonate and stay with us because they tell a story.

6. Be smart with your tech

Whether it’s video, audio, lighting, or even the software and hardware you’re using, make sure you’re smart with your tech. You want the tech you’re using to supplement your presentation and make it better, not to detract from it in any way. For example, why use a clunky clicker to change slides when you can do it with the subtle push of a button you have hidden in your hand? Something as small and seemingly simple as this can help you focus your energy more on the delivery of your content. Also, if you are using different forms of media in your presentation test everything first to make sure it’s working!

Perhaps the most important thing is to remember to enjoy yourself. Slap a big smile on your face and dazzle your audience. After all, they’ve made a choice somewhere along the line to listen to what you have to say so repay their faith by delivering something memorable.

Flic has become an integral part of delivering great presentations thanks to its popularity as a ‘Keynote clicker.’ We’re delighted to announce it’s just got even better with the latest update to our Mac App which you can download here.

 

Power up your presentations with the push of a button

The Flic Mac app is an essential tool for any Apple computer owner. From productivity and presentation apps to music and smart home control, create shortcuts triggered by the push of a Flic button. Just like you would on your phone, but even better: unlock Mac-specific actions you don’t have on your phone.

Download App

 

We’ve fixed some bugs and updated the Mac app’s features for an even smoother experience. Just pair your Flic button and add actions as you would in the phone app. Here are some of our favorite actions:

Keynote: Fully control your presentation with Flic as a clicker, like Tim Cook should have done in the recent Apple Keynote opening film.

 

Spotify: Play/pause your music or skip to the next song with the push of a button. No phone needed.

 

LIFX: These amazing smart lights now work through a local network connection. This means that turning your lights on/off has literally almost no delay.

 

Keyboard Maestro: Simulate any key press or combination. Ideal for making keyboard shortcuts even shorter!

It’s also a great way to add interactivity to your project with no programming skills needed. We used Keyboard Maestro to make an easy way to choose a video to watch at our stand at the CES fair last year.

IFTTT: The sky is the limit! The Mac app now supports IFTTT tags too. Here are some of the applets Flic users love.

Xcode: Run, Build, Clean… Shortcuts every developer needs while coding.

 

Speaking about coding, we’re about to launch a new integration in the Flic app you’ll love… Stay tuned 😉

 

Here’s a list of changes in version 1.1.3:

– New: LIFX Local Network action

– Improved: IFTTT tag feature now supported

– Improved: Keynote now supports Start/Stop presentation

– Fixed: IKEA action now supports latest bridge firmware

 

Download App

 

What features would you love to see in the Mac app? Let us know in the comments!

Google Analytics is normally used to track visitors on websites, but with a little creativity and a Flic button, it can be used to track events in the real world.

 

When Google Analytics launched universal analytics, they also launched a new API, called Measurement Protocol, to send data to Google Analytics from all kinds of places – not just from websites.

Today I will show you how you can use your Flic buttons and Google Analytics to track events that happen in the physical world. Like when someone takes a Pepsi cola from the fridge.

To be able to track Pepsi consumption in Google Analytics you need 4 things:

  1. A Flic button to push, when you grab a Pepsi
  2. The event data to be sent to Google Analytics
  3. A URL you can request, which will send the data to Google Analytics
  4. A nice way to visualize the data

 

1) Flic buttons are perfect for sending data to Google Analytics

I recently received my first Flic Hub as the latest addition to my Smart Home. I use the clever little buttons all around my house to control my other smart devices, such as my Philips Hue lights.

I have a Flic button taped under our couch table, which we use to change between different Philips Hue light modes, like a dimmed light for movie time.

 

The buttons can do three things: one click, two clicks, and a long click.

Every type of click can easily be configured to do a specific thing in the Flic app. Anything from Spotify, Philips Hue, IFTTT, Slack, Zapier, Chromecast, etc. can be controlled.

Basically communicating with a lot of predefined services.

Flic can request any URL = unlimited options

Besides the long list of predefined services, the Flic button can also be configured to request a given URL, defined in the app. This means you can call any given API or create your own API endpoints, that can do whatever you configure – the sky is the limit.


An example of such a URL is the Google Analytics API (Measurement Protocol) which can be used to send a tracking request to Google Analytics when you click the button.

2) Build the Measurement Protocol URL which sends the data

Google Analytics has a very neat Hit Builder to build the URL for you to call.

 

The documentation also includes a list of frequently used examples that can be used as a template to build from. In this example, I will use an event to track when someone grabs a Pepsi. Google Analytics events can consist of multiple data fields, that is structured in a hierarchy in the Google Analytics interface.

 

  • Event category
  • Event action
  • Event label
  • Event value

 

 

 

The complete Google Analytics event request consists of the following values:

 

  • TID is your Google Analytics property ID
  • CID is the website users cookie ID, which is not relevant in this case. We will, therefore, click the round arrow icon to generate a random ID.
  • ec is the Event Category and is set to “Fridge”.
  • ea is the Event Action and is set to the Pepsi you grab from the fridge, in this case, a Pepsi.
  • el is the Event Label and is set to the person who takes a Pepsi, in this case, me.
  • ev is the Event Value and is set to 330 because there are 330 ml in a can of Pepsi in Denmark.

 

We use the different clicks (1 click, 2 clicks, long click) to track different people taking a Pepsi. You could also use the different clicks to track different beverages like beer, soda, water, etc.

 

3) Validate the final URL

Hit Builder can validate the final URL and make sure all values are correct before you start using it.

 


Now that the URL is validated, we need to add

https://www.google-analytics.com/collect?

In front of the URL to get the complete URL we can insert into the Flic app.
This becomes the final URL:

https://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&t=event&tid=UA-12345-1&cid=2dfc43a9-f225-4e20-81a8-af29ae8c834b&ec=Fridge&ea=Pepsi&el=Jacob&ev=330

 

Insert the URL in the Flic app

I have configured three things the button can do:

 

  • 1 click: My wife takes a Pepsi
  • 2 clicks: I take a Pepsi
  • Long click: We take a Pepsi to share

 

In the app, I enter these three urls.

 

 

Testing the button in Real-time Analytics

Time to test the button!

 

1 click, 2 clicks, long click.

 

And then you just need to mount the button in an obvious place so you remember to click when you take a Pepsi from the fridge.

 

View the new data in Google Analytics

After the button has been mounted it is time to view the new data in Google Analytics.

 

 

Very cool, but let’s add some charts.

 

4) Dashboard in Google Data Studio

By taking advantage of the built-in dimensions in Google Analytics you can break down the events by hour and day, to see a what time during the day and week, you are most likely to grab a cold Pepsi.

 

 

You can change the name of the Y-axis from “Total events” to something like “Pepsi during the day” by clicking on “AUT” in the blue box.

 

We drink most Pepsi in the first days of the week

At least that’s the trend at my house. What is the trend for you?

8 pm is Prime Time for Pepsi in our family

 

It is clear to see that we often enjoy a cold Pepsi when our 2-year-old daughter is asleep at around 8 pm and it is time to relax on the couch.

 

And what better thing to watch on the TV than the new Data Studio dashboard broadcasted to a Chromecast.

 

Flic button at the changing table?

I love adding data to decisions (or important bets). Therefore we also have a Flic button at the changing table.

 

 


About the author: Jacob Worsøe is a Google Analytics expert from Denmark who enjoys collecting data to better understand the world around him – both online and offline. Flic buttons is a perfect way to collect data about the offline world. Follow him on Twitter at @jacobworsoe.

Article originally published (In Danish) on https://www.jacobworsoe.dk

 

Scare your guests with Flic this Halloween! Here are some sneaky tricks you can try.

Flashing electricity

Press Flic discretely to suddenly kill all the lights in the room. If you’re all at the dinner table and no one has their phone out then your friends will think the power is out. Press again after a while to turn the lights on. Make sure you act surprised!

If you have music running, add a play/pause trigger to a Flic press as well, to make the effect stronger.

Pro tip 1: Some smart lights (especially LIFX) are quick in flashing. To make creepy lightning flashes, add a short stroboscope effect to a double click of your Flic button!

Pro tip 2: If you’re running Android, you can delay an action after a click of Flic. Here is a spooky sequence idea: Click to turn the lights off and kill the music. Act as you have no idea what happened. 30 seconds later, have your lights flash, and a thunder sound play. Repeat a few times, then – in total darkness – play the intro to Black Sabbath (by Black Sabbath) loud and make your lights flash in dim red. Now, the Halloween party can start!

Monstrous music

Flic is great to take control of the music without your guests understanding how. If you want to scare people, interrupt the dinner music with something unexpected.

For dark rock, try these:

  

For electronic music, try these:

  

Sudden TV horror

Youtube is filled with creepy videos. Run Flic with Chromecast to suddenly turn something unsettling on to your living room TV. Perhaps the classic Salad Fingers?

This one is a real scare to surprise someone with if you turn the volume up – not for the faint of heart:

Creepy text messages

Imagine having dinner with your spouse. At the same time, you get a text message from him or her:
“I was captured by a doppelganger who is impersonating me. I got free, on my way home. If you think you’re with me, it’s not me!! Ask about our honeymoon.”

Set it up with Flic and press to send the text when you see that your partner is watching his or her cellphone. Set a second similar text on double click. Act as if you don’t remember your history together. If you have an Android, why not set up your phone to call your partner when things heat up. As he or she picks up, maybe it’s time to show how you did the prank!

Bonus prank:

Put your phone under a cushion and use Flic’s random fart generator to make your guests blush! Just like the classic fart cushion, but digital!

Creeps,
Joacim and the Flic Team