The iBeacon is a location monitoring technology that alerts the apps on your phone when you are near or have left a location. It works with low-energy Bluetooth technology that acts like an indoor GPS that is also very cost effective. Much like a buoy, it can detect Bluetooth signals around it to send relevant information in real time to enabled devices.
Uses for the iBeacon
The iBeacon technology has been applied to retail spaces to inform customers about a particular product and/or deals that are available as they approach it. Aside from location-based marketing and customer service, the technology is also foreseen in smart homes. Since it’s contextually aware of your location, this enables your home to automatically cater to your needs in real-time. With the iBeacon technology, your lights can turn on and off as you enter and leave a room, for example, or the TV will turn on to play the favourite shows you missed. This is very similar to how Bill Gates’s house is all rigged up (which he did prior to smartphones and apps). His guests wear pins that allow the house to track their location displaying digital artwork to your liking on the walls as you walk, turning on lights ahead and off behind you, following you with your favorite music through the room speakers, and adjusting temperature to your comfort.
iBeacon’s non-retail applications
iBeacon’s proximity-based technology can also be of educational value to be used in museums or schools to support learning mechanisms. It can also help make healthcare more efficient as health professionals or visitors can see the status of a patient in real time through their mobile device. Other uses of the iBeacon include improving the diffusion of significant information, which helps boost efficiency in travel, tourism, events and conferences. The tech can also help individuals with visual impairment as they navigate around a space. All of this just goes to show how much of a positive impact this technology can make in people’s everyday lives.
If you have an iOS7 device, you may start utilizing iBeacon today by turning on your Bluetooth and accepting location services. With the opportunities this technology provides, third party manufacturers have now released beacons that can send messages to iOS7 devices. We can expect more companies to bank on the potential of this technology for the mainstream consumer in the near future.