What is iBeacon
iBeacon is the collective name for devices that emit a Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) signal. A smartphone can use this BLE signal to accurately determine the distance from the smartphone to the sending iBeacon. This can be used for various purposes, for example, to greet a customer who enters a store with a push message, but also for payments and even to enable some sort of indoor navigation.
Contrary to what the name suggests, iBeacon is not only available for Apple products. The standard is based on Bluetooth Low-Energy, which is increasingly being built into Android devices. Software support is currently built into every Android 4.3 and iOS7 device or tablet.
The transmission of an iBeacon signal can be hardware where more and more manufacturers are coming of which EEstimote, Gimbal (from Qualcomm) and Kontakt are the best known. The small iBeacon channels currently cost around $ 99 per set of 3, but it is also possible to build them yourself where the costs are many times lower, or even a few euros each. Every iOS7 device can also be ‘switched on’ as an iBeacon.
For the practical use of iBeacon, software is needed on the smartphone. iOS7 or Android recognizes the iBeacon but an app is needed to actually do something with it. That may be a barrier to development, but there are already enough retailers with their own app where they can integrate this. Then it immediately does more than just show opening times and offers.