Edinburgh Web Development

Could iBeacon change the world?

Real-time advertising

by Iain Wilson

29 January 2014
iBeacon from Estimote

Picture this, you're watching TV and the progamme mentions a product that you're interested in, so you tap some details into your phone, and forget about it.  Next day, you're walking down the street or in the shopping mall, and your phone alerts you that the product you were interested in is available from the shop in front of you.

Or perhaps you are wandering around a store, looking at available products.  As you go from location to location, your phone is showing additional information about the products you're looking at.  

Well, this kind of scenario is possible right now with Apple's latest technology idea, called iBeacon.  iBeacon is a cheap, small wireless sensor that can communicate with the latest iPhones using a variant of Bluetooth.  It  has a form of indoor geo-location, so it can establish a physical location for phone users in locations where normal GPS would not work.

Have a look at this video from iBeacon manufacturer Estimote to see what it could be like :

The iBeacon is capable of interacting with the phone in almost any way you can imagine, including taking payments.  In fact, Paypal already have announce a beacon based app that will let you make hands-free payments via your phone.

There have also already been iBeacon trials at Macys, American Eagle and Starbucks so its potential is being checked out by heavyweight retailers.

World changing device, unwanted billboard on your phone, or just another gizmo?  Time will tell.

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