Want to alert your customer to a special loyalty discount offer when they enter the menswear department in one of your retail stores? Want to present information about a famous artist’s life when a visitor to your museum nears one of the artist’s paintings? These are just two of the many real-world scenarios made possible by the use of iBeacon technology.
This blog post provides an introduction to iBeacon technology and a description of how to build two different MAF apps – one that pretends to be an iBeacon and another that detects iBeacons and uses the local notifications functionality provided in MAF 2.1.1 to inform the user, even when the app isn’t even running.
To deploy these apps to iOS devices you will need an iOS developer account.
What is a beacon?
A beacon is a device that is intentionally conspicuous to draw attention to a location, such as a lighthouse sitting on the edge of a cliff.
In in the Internet of Things (or IoT), a beacon is a small electronic device that transmits a regular radio signal according to the Bluetooth v4 Low Energy spec (otherwise known as “BLE”). A beacon typically does no more than advertise its existence by transmitting a unique identifier and can last for months on a single cell battery.
Any BLE-enabled device, such as a modern smartphone, can detect a beacon by listening for BLE-based transmissions.
Whilst the possibilities appear endless, typical applications for beacons currently include retail stores, exhibition halls, museums, places of employment and homes, where users can be alerted to information pertaining to their current location within a building.
What is (an) iBeacon?
iBeacon is a technology introduced by Apple in iOS 7 that defines a standard for how a beacon identifies itself (or “advertises”) in its BLE transmissions. Any beacon that implements this standard can be called an iBeacon.
Most beacon manufacturers implement the iBeacon standard by default, whilst some can also be configured to use their own proprietary protocol. It’s also possible to configure a post-2012 iOS device, or Mac running OS X Mavericks (not Yosemite), to act as an iBeacon.
Whilst the iBeacon technology is included in the iOS Core Location framework since iOS 7, any BLE-enabled device can detect iBeacons and various libraries exist for use on devices running Android 4.3 or above.
How does iBeacon work? Read the complete article here.
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