iBeacon can power micro-location revolution
iBeacon, a micro-location technology based on BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), can revolutionize the way one physically interacts with brands and products.
The new protocol allows indoor real-time tracking. Triangulation and precise geo-location is worked out in software by the smartphone receiving the IDs from the nearest beacons.
Instead of connecting all devices to the internet, one can have peripheral devices, appliances and beacons broadcast their ID and their distance to surrounding smartphones which are already connected and retrieve more information from the cloud. In comparison, GPS indoor dead-reckoning or WiFi-based geolocation alternatives are battery-draining for the smartphone user. In retail stores, establishing such a contextual communication channel with consumers ties up very well with Bluetooth-enabled mobile wallets.
Scenarios include available parking spots messaging your phone as one drives by, or setting up beacons at home, so a smartphone could automatically turn on the lights at arrival, or trigger other appliances based on a personalized set up. It could even notify someone else.
Estimote presented a iBeacon Smart Sensor Node packing a CPU, memory, an accelerometer and a temperature sensor. A quite useful application would be a fridge that could open up a shopping list ready for completion at home and later a beacon in the dairy aisle of a supermarket would remind that milk is on that list.
On retail other experiences can now be delivered to consumers. As an example, a first beacon would greet a customer at the entrance of a restaurant at street level, offering the menu, a second beacon at table-level could take the order and pass it on directly to the kitchen. Leaving the table-area in a furniture shop where one would have interacted with different size options from the online catalogue, the next beacon in the chair display area could ping the phone about matching chairs at a discount if purchased with the table.