Apple’s near field location identification technology, iBeacon, is starting to get some buzz. We’ve known about the service since Apple demonstrated iOS 7 in June of 2013. Just recently, we heard about BySpace from Exact Editions. The tech company wants to make it possible for magazine companies to offer free editions of their publications within a store, office, or waiting room.
The Associated Press has reported that, today, Apple will roll out iBeacon connectivity across 254 U.S. retail stores. This near field location tracking service makes it possible for Apple to send you notifications about products while you are looking at them in the store.
The Associated Press was recently invited to demonstrate iBeacon technology in Apple’s Fifth Avenue retail store in New York City. Apple has installed 20 iBeacon transmitters throughout the store. As customers browse the showroom floor, they will receive notifications regarding iPhone upgrades, accessory possibilities, and even whether your device is ready to be picked up from the Genius Bar.
Users must have the Apple Store app installed and give permission to track them and receiving notifications. Then, when the user walks into an Apple retail store, the technology will activate.
Services include the ability to notify you when your gadget is ready to be picked up, special offers on in-store purchases, and even the ability to check the status of your iPhone for upgrade availability and to see whether you can get money for trading in your old one.
Once Apple shows off what iBeacon can do, it is sure to catch on with retailers. This near field location tracking works better than GPS because it can zero in more closely with a shopper’s location. GPS doesn’t recognize when you are five feet from the front entrance of a store. Nor does it have the ability to track you inside of buildings.
This technology could be very useful for large scale buildings like airports and malls. It could also be useful for helping students figure out how to get from one part of a college campus to another. Of course, retailers will love being able to offer immediate sales to consumers who happen to be passing by the coat section.
As iBeacon becomes more common, we will be able to see what kinds of services people connect to it.