Apple have created an alternative to providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. iBeacon has been achieved through the implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology. The beacons themselves are Bluetooth transmitters, that respond with Apps installed on the consumers iPhone when in range. Any iOS device that supports sharing data, using Bluetooth low-energy, can send signals to an iBeacon app.
Virgin Atlantic, for example, is testing iBeacon at Heathrow airport. Passengers will automatically receive an electronic boarding pass in their iPhone’s Passbook app. Additional messages will be received from the beacons in relation to the passenger’s location in the airport.
Retail giants including Tesco and Waitrose have been testing this technology in store too. The range of the signal – may vary due to walls, doors, and other physical objects. Apple adds that the signals are affected by water, thus, the human body itself will affect the signals.
ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED:
- Will iBeacon become an easy way to advertise?
- How can iBeacons be used to engage with the digital visitor?
- Are iBeacons the future or which competitors should you watch out for?