Moving Toward the Internet of Things : Beacons and Apple’s iBeacon Technology

Recently, I’ve been working with IOS 7 and using XCode working on a side project and I bumped in to some new ways of creating ‘beacons’ and I thought others might be interested in this. This has nothing to do with my app but I found beacons, iBeacons and Bluetooth Smart technology really interesting.

Beacon’s are becoming one of the key enablers of the new internet of things.  One kind of beacon is a low energy Bluetooth transmitter or receiver. You can find more about Bluetooth Low Energy at the BLE technology site.

Apple.  iOS 7 includes iBeacon – a Bluetooth-based protocol that offers a way for devices to communicate with each other. A nice overview article :

wired_iBeacon

TechCrunch is covering Apple’s iBeacon. Clearly this is Apple’s current answer and entry into building Beacon-based technologies. Retailers and various establishments are using iBean technology and rolling out use-cases such as ones which provide offers and discounts as you approach stores and restaurants and within particular products.

These two videos explains what are Beacons (in Apple parlance – iBeacons) and why are they important in the Internet of Things. Part 1:

Part 2 :

Toshiba. At the SC Business Fair in Yokohama, Toshiba showed off low-energy Bluetooth-enabled beacons in signs.  The signs allowed information connections between smart signs and a user’s cell phone.

toshibasignbeacons

Estimote. One of a number of companies that are productizing beacons is Esimote.  An interview with Estimote’s CEO :

Estimote’s use-case advertisement :

You can see an example of what people are doing with Estimote’s product from this video.

Starbuck’s Transaction Demo. Interesting demo showing a use case around ordering at Starbuck’s using Beacon technologies.

Finally – a nice wrap-up video going into a fair amount of detail.

For those of you interested in beacons and more specifically doing this with Android – Android is including BLE technologies but third parties are also providing tools. Here is a nice write-up on Beacon support in Android.