If you have limited knowledge about the Bluetooth beacon, if you have heard about this new integration in iOS7, if you are interested in using passbook, and most importantly, if you really want to grasp some ideas about them, then let’s discover them here right now.
- What is Bluetooth beacon
Like beacon indicating direction for ships, Bluetooth beacon is just a Bluetooth-based indoor positioning system using stationary beacons to send radio waves and direct position for mobile devices. Improvement of technology in Bluetooth makes all these possible. Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology was merged into Bluetooth 4.0, which could reduce power consumption, lower cost and make location awareness much more precise.
- Bluetooth beacon VS GPS
Bluetooth beacon refers to determine the location of a pedestrian in complex indoor environments, such as high office buildings, airport terminals, shopping malls by giving some clues through strong signals.
Save energy and low-cost：Bluetooth itself has different sleep mode to save energy. And for Bluetooth beacons, even only with a button cell about 2cm in diameter, it could be used continuously for 6 months to one year. Beacons have a low cost since a stand-alone beacon can be roughly assembled by a USB Bluetooth dongle, self-powering hub, and aluminum cooking foil.
Can be used indoors：Bluetooth beacon’s work is simple —it delivers a Bluetooth data package by radio waves every short period of time. The information could be its beacon ID, latitude-longitude, name of the store or anything else. When the mobile device with Bluetooth 4.0 receives it, user can soon set the direction to that position. Then following the Bluetooth is all he/she has to do. Moreover, the position from Bluetooth is very accurate.
GPS is a Satellite-based localization method. As for its high effectiveness in most outdoor environments, people are using it as a common tool to direct the way on the road.
Large power consumption：GPS is very battery-consumptive. Follow your own experience, you won’t open it for the whole day, otherwise your mobile will soon run out of battery.
Difficult to use in indoor environment：GPS are generally not suitable to establish indoor locations, since microwaves will be attenuated and reflected by roofs, walls and other obstructions. For example, in the places like basements, subways and tunnels, you could have a rarely weak signal or even worse. Also, when the mobile network is congested or in some spots that signals of mobile are blocked on purpose, it’s impossible for you to load your direction.
- What’s new about Bluetooth in iOS7
Apple’s iOS 7 is adding improved integration for Bluetooth 4.0. With BLE, iOS users could interact with the position and information of beacon by its low cost signal emitters. Beacons can be set anywhere, even on moving targets, but they are specialists indoors. Even when GPS signals are not available, Bluetooth beacons still work. What’s more, at WWDC, Apple announces that iOS devices can act as beacons. And this is so-called iBeacon. Proximity to one beacon device can be sensed and sent to the moving one, this helps directing the way or finding stuffs around you precisely. Also, iBeacon allows pushing notifications to be sent to iOS users. Imagine right after you approach a store, you get all information about the store popping up on your mobile. This will be an amazing shopping experience right?
- One fantastic application on Bluetooth Beacons–Use in PASSBOOK
Making Bluetooth beacons into business use, an idea that soon comes into mind is that merchants could send their ads to users’ phones whenever they are closed to and then guide the way to their locations. This is just like joining the iBeacon function with Passbook, which is a built-in app from iOS6 and enable user’s collected digital coupons, tickets, membership cards, rewards and gift cards popup onto the lock screen base on the GPS location. However, under BLE technology I talked above, the direction will be instructed in a more specific range, in particular when users are in an indoor area. It will direct them right in the merchant’s place. So you see, this new integration makes Passbook in a more perfect way and benefits both merchants and consumers. As for the content of those popup notifications, it will fully up to merchant’s decision. Let’s say if you are a merchant, you will definitely get the idea what concept you’d like to deliver and what you want to get from the notification. Draw a proper draft to make your ads stand up and arouse attention among all, then you will make it.