BLE Beacon Technology and iBeacon

BLE Beacon Technology (iBeacon)

iBeacon is the Apple Trademark for an indoor positioning system that Apple Inc. calls "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence." They can also be used by the Android operating system (limited to central-only). The technology enables an iOS device or other hardware to send push notifications to iOS devices in close proximity.

The iBeacon works on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart. BLE can also be found on Bluetooth 4.0 devices that support dual mode. One potential application is a location-aware, context-aware, pervasive small wireless sensor beacon that could pinpoint users' location in a store; iBeacons could send notifications of items nearby that are on sale or items customers may be looking for, and it could enable payments at the point of sale (POS) where customers don't need to remove their wallets or cards to make payments.

It uses Bluetooth low energy Proximity sensing to transmit a Universally unique identifier picked up by a compatible app or operating system that can be turned into a physical location or trigger an action on the device such as a Check-in on social media. The beacons come in different formats, including small coin cell powered devices, USB sticks and software versions.

In mid 2013 Apple introduced iBeacons and experts wrote about how it is designed to help the retail industry by simplifying payments and enabling on-site offers. With the launch of iOS 7, retailers and other small to medium enterprises will be able to use this Bluetooth 4.0 based technology. On December 6, 2013, it was reported that Apple activated iBeacons across its 254 US retail stores.

Z2 Media is a Phoenix Valley developer for BLE Beacon and iBeacon technology. Call or contact us today if you are interested in developing an app utilizing BLE Beacon or iBeacon technology.

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