Apple iBeacon is a way for stores (any store, not just Apple stores) to push advertisements to you once you are inside the store, using Bluetooth technology. So, when you are inside a department store, for example, in the shoe department, the store might use iBeacon to push an advertisement to your phone saying that they have a sale going on in the sock aisle.
How do they do this? With micro-location tracking of your phone or other bluetooth device. Let us repeat that: micro-location tracking of your phone or other bluetooth device.
What’s more, it is already built into every recent Apple iDevice.
In addition, not only can any recent Apple device be tracked, but any recent iDevice – such as an iPhone or iPad – can be an iBeacon transmitter, so long as it is running iOS 7 or higher.
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Apple says that iBeacon technology offers “a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum, or product displays in stores.”
Of course it isn’t just retailers who are using the Apple iBeacon technology, as Apple suggests above. In fact, Major League Baseball (MLB) is already using it with their MLB at the Ballpark app, which will send you location-specific information and offers, depending on where you are in the stadium.
The fact that so many retailers already use iPads and iPhones in their stores, coupled with the fact that any newer iPhone or iPad can transmit the iBeacons, means that with just a little push, we can expect to have iBeacon transmitters turned on all over the place. All it will take is just a little education from Apple.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Bluetooth has been used to push advertising to nearby smartphones. Several years ago movie theatres were Bluetoothing promitions to movie goers, and in fact it led to several terms for the practice, including Bluecasting and Bluespamming.
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