What is iBeacon?
iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create location transmitters. These are small, unobtrusive devices, typically battery based, installed throughout your facility and transmit a “location code” (referred to as Major/Minor Number) using BLE protocol (2.4GHz).
I Love it!
There’s an untapped universe of data around physical locations that businesses can utilize and iBeacon has the potential. It is the right approach. It can transform real-time location-based services across retail, hospitality, healthcare, industrial and many more industries.
Is it something Apple Invented?
Not really. People have always recognized the need for indoor location technologies such as iBeacon as GPS does not work indoors. GPS signals fade away as they pass through solid objects, such as buildings and mountains. Cricket, published a location-support system for in-building, mobile, location-dependent applications in 2000. It allows applications running on mobile and static nodes to learn their physical location by using listeners that hear and analyze information from beacons spread throughout the building. In my book, I also described landmark tags. In landmark system, the locating infrastructure consists of beacons (location sensors) that are small devices attached to fixed locations within the geographic space. Each beacon transmits a data string that uniquely identifies the location of the area where it is fixed and receivers. And so on.
Amazing Open Standard
However, what Apple has done is nothing short of amazing. They created an OPEN standard for beacons. This made the entire location industry come together. Before iBeacons, a particular vendor’s beacons were proprietary. They worked only with that vendor’s software. With iBeacons, now anyone can create iBeacon or location-based services using iBeacons. It is NOT limited to iOS.
We are gradually making a transition to a new era where it is not the computer or mobile phone that we carry but a digital environment that will support us in our daily lives by assisting us in a sensible way. The dream of ambient intelligence where the technology fades into the fabric of daily life, becoming both more pervasive and yet invisible is not far away. I see iBeacon in its current form as the first big step in that direction and we will see many more creative ways to embed iBeacons in our surroundings.
Apple is behind it!
Apple recently killed headphones that are not Bluetooth enabled: A sign that Apple is determined to fix any Bluetooth Adoption issues!