Apple’s new iBeacons feature for iOS 7 implements a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) profile for micro-location, enabling a series of new geofencing capabilities for app developers.
With iOS7, Apple introduced iBeacons, support for low-cost iBeacons transmitters that can connect an iPhone to a range of devices over Bluetooth 4.0. The device would let the iPhone activate doors, lights and other things as a person holding it moves by.
What are the uses of iBeacons?
Micro-location indoor navigation
iOS 7′s iBeacons can be used by app developers to do things like build an interactive tour of a museum, where the user’s attention is directed to specific exhibits as they walk freely within the building.
In more general terms, the feature can also be used enable indoor navigation similar to GPS in settings such as an airport or underground subway station where GPS signals aren’t available, or specifically to enhance navigational accessibility for the blind or users with other impairments.
Location based marketing and Passbook tickets
This particular application makes iBeacons an extension of the geofencing Apple enabled in last year’s Passbook, which lets an installed pass, ticket or loyalty card popup on the lock screen when you cross the geofence threshold of a defined GPS location. Using BLE, a merchant or other provider can define more targeted “micro-locations” to trigger an alert, in some cases requiring that you be in the presence of an iBeacon in order to validate a Passbook entry .
You can “create ads that specifically pertain to your customers’ surroundings, thereby increasing the efficacy of those ads,” or simply supply additional details on product selection.