iBeacon: Informative or Intrusive?

Apple iBeacons can spam users even if their device is locked, thanks to new change in iOS 7.1 says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. Apple’s iBeacon is an indoor positioning system that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence, explains Beekn.net, but similar Bluetooth beaconing will be available for most smartphones.

IBeacon uses Bluetooth low-energy to send out a broadcast signal. Apple has installed iBeacons at Apple stores, which can communicate directly with devices that have the Apple store app installed.

Businesses can detect devices that have this app installed, as long as the device has Bluetooth enabled. It can also detect how far the device is away from the iBeacon.

iBeacons are transmit only, explains Beekn.net. They don’t receive signals from mobile devices. They just transmit. But iBeacons don’t actually transmit content – they transmit a unique identifier, enabling apps to retrieve and deliver location-relevant content.

iBeacons transmit a unique identifier that can be picked up by a compatible app or operating system. With the changes in iOS-7, businesses will now be able to send messages to the device, even if the device is locked. Previously users had to be running the relevant app in order for iBeacon to send them messages.

Qualcomm recently announced that its Gimbal proximity beacons are commercially available in two models, and accurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors.

Baseball fans at Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles can use iBeacon within the “MLB.com At The Ballpark” app when the app’s 2014 update is released for Opening Day of the 2014 season.

Qualcomm’s IZat location platform uses a variety of mobile, network and cloud technologies to determine your position within 5-meters. Nokia’s HERE maps complements the IZat location platform.

Beacon Development Kits ($49) are available that use AAA-battery powered nodes for experimenting with iBeacon technology and for simple service deployments.

Of course hackers may soon hook them up to 19db panels for 1000 ft range to blast out shopping mall competitors. In-app mobile ad spending will reach $16.9 billion by 2018, up from $3.5 billion last year, according to Juniper Research.

See: Apple Releases iBeacon Specs, iBeacons Come to Grocery Stores and Apple’s iBeacon: Location via Bluetooth 4.0

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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