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Apple to launch iBeacon hardware | Lighthouse Blog

Apple’s own iBeacon

A recently discovered FFC filing reveals that Apple may be about to launch its own iBeacon hardware. The document was spotted by Securifi and appears to confirm that Apple is testing its own hardware solution for its iBeacon technology.

Many commentators in the space (including us) speculated that Apple would stay out of the hardware game, but this latest discovery suggests otherwise. It appears that Apple is moving to take full control of the iBeacon ecosystem that it is creating. To date most companies rolling out iBeacon solutions have used beacons made by third parties. Even Apple uses Gimbal beacons in its own retail stores.

It’s remains unclear whether the hardware will be positioned as a consumer or business product, however there is speculation that the device would be the perfect pairing for Apple’s soon to launch iOS 8 HomeKit. With iBeacons deployed in the home environment, a users iOS device could become a powerful home automation tool.

 

via Apple to launch iBeacon hardware | Lighthouse Blog.

Massive improvement in Android support for iBeacon – Pozzey

The ability to filter while scanning for BLE advertisers. The new version of Android will allow filtering on advertising packet attributes of service UUID and service data. This will allow Android developers to effectively duplicate in a battery efficient way the IOS capabilities of CLBeaconRegion – a key attribute of IOS’s support for beacons. This means that Android devices will be able to efficiently scan in the background for beacons and show a notification or trigger something in an app when one matching a certain criteria is detected. This is crux of the killer capability that iBeacon provides and with this new capability, Android will have effectively caught up with IOS.

read more at

via Massive improvement in Android support for iBeacon – Pozzey.

San Francisco Giants (and most of MLB) adopt Apple’s iBeacon for an enhanced ballpark experience

“It’s kind of a no-brainer.” That’s what the San Francisco Giants’ Chief Information Officer, Bill Schlough, said when asked why the team is implementing Apple’s iBeacon technology this season.

For the uninitiated, iBeacon is a small Apple device that communicates with iPhones through Bluetooth to expand the location services in iOS. In practice, it’s a marketing tool that lets apps know when you approach or leave the presence of an iBeacon. This is the first season that pro baseball is implementing the technology with 20 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams participating, though retailers have been using it since last year.

For the Giants, the technology is another way to better engage with fans. “Mobile and digital experiences are paramount to our fan experience,” according to Schlough, “and they have played a role in the fact that we’ve had 246 straight sellouts.” (Winning two World Series in the past five years probably doesn’t hurt ticket sales, either.)

The Giants have long been one of the most technologically progressive organizations in baseball. Fans first enjoyed in-stadium cell coverage in the early 2000s, and in 2004 the club became the first in professional sports to turn its stadium into a WiFi hotspot. Currently, there are 1,289 WiFi antennas blanketing AT&T Park with connectivity good enough to stream video to thousands of fans. Plus, during the offseason, when the Giants installed the iBeacons (it only took a day to do it), Schlough’s team put in an entirely new LTE backhaul system to deliver more mobile bandwidth to ticket holders.

All told, 19 iBeacons are located at all of the fan entry and exit points of the ballpark, per MLB policy. That number will vary at other stadiums — the Dodgers, for example, are reported to have 65 installed, presumably due to the presence of more ways to get inside Dodger Stadium. They’ll be used to check fans in (think Foursquare) upon entry, assuming they have an iOS 7 device running the MLB At the Ballpark app and have Bluetooth turned on when they walk through the gate. The app’s available to both iOS and Android devices — and provides maps, concession info, video clips and the ability to upgrade your seat — but only folks with Apple devices benefit from the bespoke iBeacon experience.

Once checked in, teams can push tailor-made notifications and relevant offers through the app. Fans need not fear that they’ll be bombarded with junk, though, as MLB is soft-launching the technology as a pilot on Opening Day, and there are restrictions on its use… at first, at least. “We don’t want to turn this into some sort of SPAM engine,” says Schlough. So, the club’mms exploring new and creative ways to use the devices to improve, not take away from the gameday experience. Of course, users can always opt-out of the program altogether, too.

Generally speaking, iBeacon strategy is controlled by MLB: the league tells teams where to place the hardware and what sorts of stuff can be sent to folks who check in using the technology. For now, that means fans get a welcome message when they check in, and maybe an offer to upgrade their seat or get a discount on concessions. Schlough wouldn’t tell us exactly what kind of offers the Giants will be making, but he did say that he’s particularly excited about geo-targeting. “It opens up a world of possibilities,” he says, indicating that iBeacons could enable the club to send notifications about activities happening nearby (not everyone sits and watches the game from their seat) or target offers for specific parts of the park.

The expectation is that MLB will let clubs “get more creative” once iBeacon has proven stable and useful for fans. Naturally, the Giants don’t know when that’ll be, but the team will have things ready to go whenever the league office gives the go-ahead. Until then, Schlough’s biding his time and figuring out how to best use iBeacon to service one of the most tech-savvy fan bases in the bigs.

San Francisco Giants (and most of MLB) adopt Apple's iBeacon for an enhanced ballpark experience.

Why Aren’t People Freaking Out About iBeacon? | Cult of Mac

Among these improvements is that Apple has cancelled an element of user permission. Once you’ve installed a store’s app — say, for example, Apple’s own Apple store app — that store can put messages on your lock screen even if the app isn’t running!

In the past, iBeacon was opt-in. Now, it’s opt-out. In the previous system, iBeacon-enabled stores, stadiums and museus were required to ask permission of the user for iBeacon access to their phones. Now, they no longer need that permission. Apple has already granted permission to the stores to access your iPhone.

Why Aren’t People Freaking Out About iBeacon? | Cult of Mac.

Apple iOS 7.1 Launches Major iBeacon Improvement | BEEKn

iBeacon Now Works When the App Is Closed

Apple launched iOS 7.1 today and with it a major, game-changing improvement to iBeacon.

As of today, once an app is installed it will “look” for beacons even if your app is shut down or you’ve rebooted your phone.

We tested the functionality today to verify the new feature.

After opening an iBeacon app we hard closed it: not just putting it into the background tray but swiping it closed entirely. The phone still detected beacons and sent a message through the lock screen, something which in the past was reserved for apps that were at minimum running in the background tray.

The functionality even works if you reboot your device: after you power down your phone and start it up again, it will continue listening for beacons even if you don’t open up the app again.

A Significant Change

The change is significant. When Apple launched iOS 7 and gave phones and tablets the ability to ‘hear’ Bluetooth LE powered beacons it opened up a new era in proximity-based experiences. Retailers could now send you a coupon when you’re near the cookie aisle or background information about a painting in an art gallery.

But there was a problem: along with a few other glitches in the iBeacon SDK (the software used to create the apps on your phone) there was no way to listen for Bluetooth LE beacons unless your app was, at a minimum, on in the background.

Ostensibly this was to ensure that users had an easy way to prevent spam messages or to opt-out of your iBeacon “experience”.

But with iOS 7.1 your application will listen for beacons even if it was hard closed. The user can still opt out by turning off “location permission” under settings, can turn Bluetooth off, or can delete your app entirely.

But the change is a major boon to iBeacon developers – and will mean you no longer need to find fancy ways to prompt your user to keep an app in background mode.

A Change in Responsiveness?

It’s probably too early to tell from a few quick tests, but we also noted what seemed like a major improvement in responsiveness to Bluetooth LE signals. Region changes, exits, and beacon detection seemed to happen at a significantly faster rate than in iOS 7.0

In the past, for example, we’d see a delay of 1-2 seconds up to a minute on exiting a region. In iOS 7.1 we see it happen nearly instantaneously.

We’re hoping other developers can chime in on this point – either anecdotally or otherwise, to let us know whether you’re seeing a near lightning response to beacon detection (or is that, perhaps, too much to ask? It might just be a low level of radio interference at our offices today).

*yes here at iBeacons.pro the same lightning fast responses! Perfect and finally usable!

In any case, we’re still doing a dance here at BEEKn to find that your app truly can see the world around it, and will find your beacons even if your app is off.

via Apple iOS 7.1 Launches Major iBeacon Improvement | BEEKn.

Apple’s iBeacon turns location sensing inside out

Network World – Apple’s iBeacon location sensing technology, based on the Bluetooth radio in your iPhone, promises to personalize the world around you. For users, this increasingly popular technology changes the question of “Where am I?” into the announcement “Here I am!”

An iBeacon is a Bluetooth Low Energy radio that broadcasts a signal in a given area, say the doorway to a clothing or grocery store. Your iPhone – if it has Bluetooth 4.0..

….read more at networkworld

Apple iBeacon

 

MLB introducing Apple iBeacons to 20 ballparks in March

Now a source familiar with the matter has confirmed MLB will be installing and using thousands of iBeacons in some of its teams’ ballparks by the end of March.

MacRumors says 20 of the 30 teams in the league — including the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, LA Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants — will have their stadiums outfitted with around 100 beacons in March. The iBeacons, which have already been deployed in clothing and grocery retailers, in addition to Apple’s own stores, will connect with MLB’s iOS At The Ballpark app

via MLB introducing Apple iBeacons to 20 ballparks in March | The Verge.

Create a superior in-store shopping experience

An emerging technology, called proximity beacons, can help marketers get a full view of the customers by connecting the digital and physical worlds. Beacons are small and cheap devices that can be powered for years by a single coin cell battery. They can interact wirelessly (using a wireless technology such as Bluetooth® Smart, which is sometimes called Bluetooth Low Energy) with mobile devices by showing notification messages and making apps aware of their proximity to the mobile user. The buzz around beacons comes from recent news by Apple that announced the iBeacon products and introduced support in iOS7, and Google following up by adding Bluetooth Smart support with Android 4.3, although a few companies like

via Create a superior in-store shopping experience.

Ex-Vertu designer launches iBeacon competitor for Android

Datzing’s system essentially behaves the same way as Apple’s iBeacon: when a user is in range of a beacon, their phone will receive a notification in the Datzing app. The difference with Datzing and iBeacon is that Datzing is not limited to Apple’s ecosystem and doesn’t actually require an investment in any hardware to set up a beacon.

ANY WI-FI NETWORK OR BLUETOOTH DEVICE CAN BE USED AS A DATZING BEACON, INCLUDING DEACTIVATED CELLPHONES

The service’s hook is that it lets users set up any existing Wi-Fi or Bluetooth device as a beacon that can broadcast information to users of the app that are within its proximity. Older cellphones with Bluetooth aren’t required to have active service plans to work as a Datzing beacon, giving those old, discarded flip phones a new lease on life. (Datzing

via Ex-Vertu designer launches iBeacon competitor for Android | The Verge.