Apple’s iBeacon

Just imagine heading down to your local coffee shop for a cup of brew when all of sudden your phone buzzes and let’s you know about a great deal on a pair of shoes from retail store across the way.  You’ve had your eyes on these pair of shoes for awhile and since your phone is motivating you to buy them, why not.  This is what Apple’s iBeacon is all about.

iBeacon is a new technology that extends Location Services in iOS. Your iOS device can alert apps when you approach or leave a location with an iBeacon. In addition to monitoring location, an app can estimate your proximity to an iBeacon (for example, a display or checkout counter in a retail store). Instead of using latitude and longitude to define the location, iBeacon uses a Bluetooth low energy signal, which iOS devices detect.  Sounds a bit confusing but lets just say it will become revolutionary in retail.  Here’s an example:

Hillshire Brands (HSH) sees the promise of Apple’s (AAPL) iBeacon, software that’s been embedded in iOS 7 for a year. With iBeacon, Hillshire can track a shopper wheeling through a grocery store and send his iPhone a coupon or an ad for sausages just as he approaches the right cooler. Hillshire says consumers in 10 U.S. test cities who received iBeacon messages via apps such as recipe service Epicurious have been 20 times likelier to buy its American Craft sausages. Last year, iBeacon promised Apple a new wave of consumer data and looked like a boon to retailers and advertisers trying to reverse a decline in impulse buys. Using a low-energy Bluetooth signal, the software makes an iPhone’s proximity to certain items easier to track with the help of $10 signaling devices—beacons—mounted on shelves and ceilings, each no bigger than a hockey puck. (Bloomberg Businessweek – Why Apple’s iBeacon Hasn’t Taken Off—Yet – August 28th, 2014)

Hardware companies like Estimote have joined the iBeacon craze early could be ready for a massive boom when the technology starts taking off in the retail sector.  Check out this unboxing of Estimote and see how it works.

Estimote Unboxing

 

 

 

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