Apple’s iBeacon

With launch of iOS 7.0 Apple unveiled iBeacons. They are small range positioning systems based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This article thingy here, is to highlight the uses and increase its popularity (much deserved) among the consumers and developers alike.

With development of BLE i.e. Bluetooth 4.0 , battery usage has been significantly decreased (they claim it will last to 5-10 times as compared to Bluetooth 3.0). And Apple’s iBeacon is built upon the very same advantage.

iBeacon enables us to transmit and receive location of nearby (~50 meters) iBeacons (any device with Bluetooth 4.0 can be a iBeacon and yes, that includes Android devices also) which we can use to send Push Notifications. The reason I am drum-rolling here about the arrival of iBeacon is its capability to enhance user’s life multi-dimensionally.

To check the iBeacon’s range accuracy, here is the link to an app which displays the distance between two devices acting as iBeacons.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/locate-for-ibeacon/id738709014?mt=8

iBeacon

iBeacon

Here are some possible implementations of iBeacons:

# Retail stores
Apple has already activated iBeacons across all their stores in US. Customers can get realtime catalogues, products information and even special offers! All this while just taking a stroll in the store or walking down the street. (A discount coupon just because I was standing in front of a TV which indicated to store people that I am a little interested in that, if this isn’t nifty I don’t know what is!)

# Location-Based Games
Many Games which rely on accurate position( micro-positioning  distinguished from GPS, which isn’t accurate enough and especially lacking in indoor usage) of other players can built upon using iBeacons.( the sad part is that this tech is capable of wholly destroying our conventional hide-and-seek game 😦   buts it’s okay I’m a grown up now, I don’t play that anymore.)

# parking a car
One can be made aware of an empty parking space while driving in the lot and get its location too.Moreover, while sitting at home, one can get the automatic notification if your car is parked in the garage or not. (thus, a problem for your teenage child :P)

# Real-Time Attendance System
Just walking in to your school, college or office is enough to mark your attendance without even a single-damned-click. Moreover you can know about your friend’s presence and location too. (Seriously, this would be really neat. Me being notified of the fact that my boss is nearing my cubicle, so that I can stop playing around and start pretending to work!)

Conclusion:
Developers – Equip yourself so that you can arm your app with iBeacon and start working on changing the world around us. General Public – Don’t freak out!!  Your privacy isn’t being invaded. For your presence to be detected by iBeacon and get all the above said notification, you must have the related app installed on your phone first and even after that you can always turn-off the Bluetooth in your device.

Written By: Gunjit Mittal  , iPhone Developer, Mindfire Solutions

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