Apple retail to use iBeacon location technology

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Date: Monday, November 18th, 2013, 09:08
Category: Apple, Developer, iOS, Mobile, News, privacy, Retail Store, security, Services, WWDC

ibeacon2Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple introduced iBeacon, a technology that would be introduced as part of iOS 7 and new Apple hardware. iBeacon utilizes BlueTooth LE (Low Energy) to provide very precise location data to your device, which can either provide detailed directions inside a building, like a mall, or give you information about a particular item on a shelf that you are standing in front of. Yes, it’s that precise. Since it has to take a location measurement very frequently to provide that level of precision, it uses the BlueTooth LE radio (separate from the regular one generally used), in order to prevent excessive battery drain on your device. This opens up a lot of opportunities for all retailers, not just Apple.

Take for example the Target iOS app; with iBeacon implemented into the app, and transmitters installed in stores, now the app can not only show you available coupons to use in the store, it can also lead you directly to the shelf the product is on. Apple intends to do just that with their retail stores, possibly installing the equipment in some stores within a few days. Look for an iBeacon enhanced Apple Store app coming out in the near future. As 9to5Mac reports, the usage in Apple Stores may include iOS notifications giving you detailed information about a product you are looking at, or events that may be happening in the store that you are in. Apple hopes this can help drive sales of the iPhone as well as other items in the store. Apple is testing other uses for iBeacons which may be added in the future. For example, if you are waiting for a Genius Bar or One on One appointment, not only can it send you a notification that you’re up next, but could also provide location data showing where you are in the store, should they want to go fetch you. It has also been reported thatĀ Major League Baseball has begun testingĀ iBeacons in order to provide iPhone users with an enhanced experience at baseball stadiums. So, for a feature that we’ve barely heard anything about until now, it looks like we may be surrounded by it and its abilities before we know it.

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