February 6, 2019

iBeacon

One of the Location technology in the iPhone XS Max is iBeacon micro-location. It's been mention in the iPhone technical specification since 2013.

What is it? How has it gotten better in the iPhone XS Max?

What is iBeacon

The concept of iBeacon is to allow retail establishments to interact with your mobile device based on your location. There is a base station in the establishment that interacts with apps on your phone.

Example #1

Let's say you're in Target and looking at the TVs displays. Wouldn't it be great to know something more about the different models?

Well If you open up the Target App, it will load up the TV Spec page. This is because there's a nearby beacon that's informing the app that you're looking at the TVs.

Example #2

Your at the airport looking for something to eat. You get a notification that Legal Seafood got a large clam shipment and running a special.

This is because you have the airport app open, perhaps to find an eating establishment, and your nearby a Legal Seafood restaurant.

Some places that have installed Beacons: Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, Best Buy, Sports Stadiums - including Fenway Park. NFL Stadiums, NBA Arenas, and NHL arenas have them.

Note: Beacons only work when you use their apps, they can't spam your phone if you don't have the app open.

Getting Your Own iBeacon

If you're a developer, you can buy your own iBeacon base station to do all sorts of creative things to your own apps. iBeacon NYVIDA Bluetooth Beacon is one such device.

iBeacon is Dying?

It's very possible that the next version of iPhone may not include iBeacon technology. This is because some retail establishments are removing the Beacon stations as consumers have privacy concerns. In addition, the beacon signal has a limited range and can easily be interfered by people or objects.

Not dead yet

Just last week Waze announced that they are installing beacons inside NYC tunnels to help navigations - drivers can stay connected and make sure they take the right exit in the tunnel.

Hillsdale College announced the use of beacons to notify students of an emergency situation. Students and Faculty are notified if they are on campus - which avoids spamming people that may not be anywhere near campus.

Looking for Beacon Apps

BeaconStac has a list of the 5 Best iBeacon Apps that are leading the field. It's a good place to learn more about technology and other potential uses. The article is four years old, but I think it's still a good place to learn what cool functionality that developers are using iBeacon for.

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