You have surely heard the term iBeacon or come into contact with this technology, which has been described as a transmitter that can awaken smart phones. This technology has been the subject of discussion in particular since the most recent Mobile World Congress.
What are iBeacons?
An iBeacon is a beacon that transmits a low-energy Bluetooth signal that allows for phones in close proximity to be detected.
How do they work?
An application is installed on the phone that receives the Bluetooth signal. Once the signal is received, either the phone decides to awaken the application such that the target receives a notification, or the application executes an action (e.g. recovering a video or providing a fact sheet).
What are some practical applications of this technology?
There are many ways in which this technology can be applied. For instance, iBeacons could be set up in shopping malls, where there is a growing interest in the potential to use them to send promotional offers to customers. In so doing, businesses may use iBeacons to collect qualified data, as is the case with e-Commerce, in addition to improving in-store sales. iBeacons also allow for the inexpensive geolocation of customers, who can be tracked by businesses during their shopping experience.
Another potential application of iBeacons is to the tourism industry, where they can be used to complete the automatic check-in of guests upon their arrival at a hotel. Guests enter the hotel’s iBeacon hotspot and receive a message informing them that their room is ready for them on the fifth floor! With iBeacons, tourism can thus become more interactive and personalized.
In the food service industry, customers who walk past a restaurant can receive a push notification containing the menu of the day or information concerning various future events.
How to set up an iBeacon
First, install your iBeacon. To do so, create your iBeacon, then start a new “project” for your iBeacon. What is a project? It is one of several content items that you can associate to the iBeacon in question (e.g. different sets of information sent to visitors at a museum according to whether the visitor is a teacher, a student or another member of the public).
Next, create your content. Create a “place”. What does “place” mean? This term refers to a given beacon (e.g. exhibit A in a museum). However, it is also possible to link several locations to a given beacon (e.g. one beacon in a room for exhibits A, B and C). Next, link a place to your beacon and add a “card” to this place.
Information that you may add as a “card” includes tests, images, audio, video, widgets and web links.
Finally, test your technology. To do so, publish your project, open your application on your smartphone, place your beacons and test them by walking close to them with your device.
You are now familiar with the iBeacon technology and will be able to explain this concept to others.