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IBEACON APP DEVELOPMENT

iBeaconApp Development

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iBeacon is a new technology described by Apple Inc. as "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 or 8 devices of their presence." The technology enables a smart phone or other device to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon.

iBeacon use Bluetooth low energy proximity sensing to transmit a universally unique identifier picked up by a compatible app or operating system. The identifier and several bytes sent with it can be used to determine the device's physical location,track customers, or trigger a location-based action on the device such as a check-in on social media or a push notification.
One application is distributing messages at a specific Point of Interest, for example a store, a bus stop, a room or a more specific location like a piece of furniture or a vending machine. This is similar to previously used geopush technology based on GPS, but with a much reduced impact on battery life and better precision.

iBeacon differs from some other location-based technologies as the broadcasting device (beacon) is only a 1-way transmitter to the receiving smartphone or receiving device, and necessitates a specific app installed on the device to interact with the beacons. This ensures that only the installed app (not the iBeacon transmitter) can track users, potentially against their will, as they passively walk around the transmitters.

iBeacon compatible transmitters come in a variety of form factors, including small coin cell devices, USB sticks, and generic Bluetooth 4.0 capable USB dongles.

Functions

An iBeacon deployment consists of one or more iBeacon devices that transmit their own unique identification number to the local area. Software on a receiving device may then look up the iBeacon and perform various functions, such as notifying the user. Receiving devices can also connect to the iBeacons to retrieve values from iBeacon's GATT (generic attribute profile) service. iBeacons do not push notifications to receiving devices (other than their own identity). However, mobile software can use signals received from iBeacons to trigger their own push notifications

Ranging

An iOS devoice receiving an iBeacon transmission can approximate the distance from the iBeacon. The distance (between transmitting iBeacon and receiving device) is categorized into 3 distinct ranges:
1. Immediate: Within a few centimeters
2. Near: Within a couple of meters
3. Far: Greater than 10 meters away

Power Consumption

Battery consumption of the phones is a factor that must be taken into account when deploying beacon enabled apps. A recent report has shown that older phones tend to draw more battery in the vicinity of iBeacons, while the newer phones can be more efficient in the same environment.
The Bluetooth LE protocol is significantly more power efficient than Bluetooth Classic. Several chipsets makers, including Texas Instruments and Nordic Semiconductor now supply chipsets optimized for iBeacon use. Power consumption depends on iBeacon configuration parameters of advertising interval and transmit power. A study on 16 different iBeacon vendors reports that battery life can range between 1 to 24 months. Apple's recommended setting of 100 ms advertising interval with a coin cell battery provides for 1 to 3 months of life, which increases to 2 to 3 years as advertising interval is increased to 900 ms.

COMPATIBLE DEVICES

1. iOS devices with Bluetooth 4.0 (iPhone 4S and later, iPad (3rd generation) and later, iPad Mini (1st generation) and later, iPod Touch (5th generation)

2. Macintosh computers with OS X Mavericks (10.9) and Bluetooth 4.0

3. Android 4.3+ (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2/3, HTC One, Google/LG Nexus 7 2013 /Nexus 4/Nexus 5, OnePlus One, LG G3)

4. Windows Phone devices with the Lumia Cyan update or above. (reports suggest support is not included with Windows Phone 8.1)

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