iBeacon was developed by Apple and it’s a technology that uses Bluetooth low-energy proximity sensing to transmit signals which mobile software use to trigger their own push notifications. Basically, information is transferred at per location, after the signal is picked up from devices that are in the close vicinity and support the sharing of data using low energy Bluetooth. The application is alerted by the device when it reaches the range or it drifts away from the other beacon device, and sometimes, the signal is lost because it meets obstacles such as thick walls, metal doors or other objects. This new technology is a breath of fresh air for businesses, as it can shake up m-commerce, travel, retail and many more.
This protocol was created to bring a new way of offering location-based information and services to Apple’s devices that run on iOS, including iPad, which are capable of emitting and receiving iBeacon signal. However, the beacons aren’t made by Apple, but by third-party manufacturers (BlueCats, BlueSense, Estimote, Qualcomm and others) who must have a license for building them under the MFi Program. The iBeacon app will pick up signals beamed from iPhones supporting sharing data with Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and it will even understand ibeacon distancing.
How Can It Be Implemented In The Real World?
iBeacon was brought alongside iOS 7 and the compatible devices are iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3, iPad mini and iPod touch (5th gen. and later), but the same BLE technology is also supported by Android 4.3 and later and since 2014, it started being used in the US retail stores, airports and many more. So, if you own a business and you’re thinking about taking advantage of the iBeacon technology, here are some ideas that will help you improve your return on investment:
iBeacon for Retail Stores
iBeacon applications are being implemented in more and more retail organizations because it allows users to check out product information, or details about special deals or sales events. When customers enter the store, the app will detect their devices and it will even ask users if they are interested in buying the latest models.
Integrated Into LED Lights
General Electric and Philips started introducing LED lights with Bluetooth LE and it seems that retailers are enjoying these new lower-energy lights because they can cut costs. And shoppers who open a companion app while visiting stores will no longer have to ask around where they can find a specific product, because thanks to the beacons’ communication with their phone, they will know exactly where the item is located on the map of the store.
iBeacon For Travel
Travelers who are using an iOS or Android device will receive relevant notifications depending on their location, such as information about places they can visit, restaurants, where they can eat, or cheap hotels where they can sleep overnight. Also, after checking in at the hotel, customers will start receiving alerts for special offers. Many low-cost companies are using iBeacon to reach the customers in airports and to remind them to present their passport or to follow other rules imposed by the airport management.
iBeacon For Entertainment Industry
If customers play their favorite games within a shop, they receive virtual rewards. Also, when passing by a cinema, mobile users can get information about what’s playing and if they’re in lucky, maybe they can even receive vouchers. Other partnerships can be made between music companies or magazines and public or private transportations, so before customers will board a train or plane, they will receive notifications on what artist to listen to or what articles they should read.
iBeacon For Automotive
Using beacons, users are getting better traffic estimation and forecasts or they are able to unlock their cars and perform similar actions using an additional application such as Silvercar.
iBeacon For Personal Use
Some people “forget” to take out the trash and they need “someone” to remind them to do that. By adding a beacon to the trash can and setting an appointment to “take out the trash” daily, at a specific hour, food debris will no longer sit for days and rot in the trash can. iBeacon will also inform users to take their umbrella if it will rain in that day, and while they’re at home, they will no longer have to manually turn on the lights, as beacons will activate appliances. This means that when heading to the kitchen with the phone in the pocket, beacons will turn on the lights in the room.
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