iBeacons are small boxes that use Bluetooth Low Energy and have a range of up to 50 meters. Via Bluetooth, an app can estimate the proximity of an iBeacon, for example when placed in a store. The iBeacon estimates your location and sends information about the product or artwork that you are close to.
This is how iBeacons works
iBeacons are an alternative to NFC, the wireless technology that also appears in the iPhone. The difference is that NFC only works at a short distance, namely a few centimeters. To make a payment with Apple Pay you have to keep your iPhone fairly close to the payment terminal. With iBeacons, the distance may be much greater, up to tens of meters. iBeacons are therefore mainly used to send information and not to make payments.
Mac as iBeacon
With cheap software such as MacBeacon, you can turn any Mac into an iBeacon. An iPhone or iPad can also function as an iBeacon, but the applications that we have seen so far mainly work with external transmitters, such as the Estimote. This is a small Bluetooth box that is sold for $ 99. In theory, you could also develop your own Bluetooth transmitter.
Set up Apple TV automatically
Apple itself was one of the first parties to come up with a concrete application for iBeacons. With an iOS 7 device (iPhone, iPad or iPod touch), settings can be automatically adopted and set on a third-generation Apple TV. All you have to do is keep the iPhone close to the Apple TV and everything will happen automatically.
iBeacons in different applications
iBeacons have been used several times in the Netherlands. A number of examples can be found below:
iBeacons in cities ibeacons sneekAt the beginning of this file we mentioned the application of iBeacons in Sneek. In this Frisian city, iBeacons are displayed at various locations, which provide information about museums, shops and places of interest. With the app Lightcurb, it is possible to retrieve the information. The advantage is that you can go to all kinds of stores and agencies with one app.
iBeacons in the hospital
With the help of a thousand iBeacons, the Dutch West Frisian guest house has been ensuring that patients and visitors no longer get lost. Together with an iOS app, the person’s location can be determined very accurately, so that they know exactly where they are at that moment and where they need to go. Thanks to iBeacons, the app can, for example, tell you that you have to make a slight left turn after nine meters to get to the right department. You will read more about the use of iBeacons in the article below.
iBeacons and app prevent you from getting lost in the hospital iBeacons and app prevent you from getting lost in the hospital The Westfriesgasthuis in Hoorn makes it easier for visitors and patients to find their way. A special app works with a thousand iBeacons to show the exact location of the user.
iBeacons at Airport
The airport has also been working with iBeacons since 2016. More than two thousand iBeacons spread throughout the airport send travelers to the right gate. The developer of the Airport app chose iBeacons over GPS because it was simply too unreliable with a roof over your head. The next time you walk around Airport you can discover iBeacons if you look closely at the electronic signs with gate numbers and departure times. Read more about the two thousand iBeacons at the Airport in the article below.
iBeacons in stores
IBeacons have never been a success in retail. Rabobank had plans in 2013 to use the MyOrder Sidekick. However, it remained with a few pilot projects.
The idea was that thanks to the MyOrder SideKick beacons, a retailer knows better what customers are in the store so that he can advise them more effectively. After all, online stores know everything about you (address, previous orders) while a retailer has no idea who you are and what you are looking for. After a trial in Leiden, this initiative has become silent.
iBeacons at events
glow festival Eindhoven During the Glow Festival in Eindhoven you could look at light artworks. Every artwork was accompanied by an iBeacon, which specifically sent information to smartphones if you asked. That way you as a visitor were better informed about the artwork and the artist.
iBeacons in supermarkets
In a branch of Albert Heijn in Eindhoven, there has been a trial with iBeacons. Customers who wanted to ask a question could ask for help via an app. iBeacons alerted the nearest employee. We actually thought this was a far-fetched application back then because if you need help, you can also look around for an employee in the area. We would have preferred an iBeacon application that shows you the way to certain groceries that are often difficult to find such as sugar, eggs and long-life milk.
iBeacons in museums
The Groninger Museum had a scoop in March 2014: it was the first museum in the Netherlands to use iBeacons technology to enrich an exhibition. During the exhibition, The Collection people could walk around with an iPhone, iPad or Android device with NFC. They received additional information about the artworks thanks to audio and video clips and photos. It was also possible to assess the artworks with a score.
iBeacons in a tourist attraction
A particularly new initiative is that of Fluwel’s Tulpenland, a Dutch theme park about tulips. Visitors who downloaded a special iPhone app received extra information about the tulip as they walked through the park. The organizer wanted to involve visitors in the park and also hoped to find a better connection with the youth. They were, therefore, the first tourist attraction to use Apple’s technology.