iBeacon, tiny device powered with Bluetooth Low Energy has been released by Apple, that stick to walls or sit on objects on 2013. Their main uses so far has been to help retailers and other merchants establish greater engagements with customers who are willing to identify themselves in a store. iBeacons are a direct example of the hugest step of Internet of Things (IoT).
Not wanting to leave the territory entirely to Apple, Google also join in the business by creating their iBeacon. Now, it is stepping out as a lead hardware player in Google’s answer to Apple in iBeaconry.
“Our core premise is that you should be able to walk up to any “smart” physical object such as a vending machine, a poster, a toy, a bus stop, a rental car and interact with them without first downloading an app. The user experience of smart objects should be much like links in a web browser: i.e., just tap and use. At its base, the Physical Web is a discovery service: a smart object broadcasts relevant URLs that any nearby device can receive. This ostensibly mundane capability can unlock exciting new ways to interact with the Web.”
When a user’s smartphone catches the beacon signal (within 54 yards, the range of BLE), the beacon will send notifications or information. If the user chooses, without any dedicated app, she can initiate a dialog with it. The App comes with a customizable URL, which can be set to take an Android device to a mobile Web page, where the user can learn about the object of interest, check its inventory, or even buy it, whatever the firm deploying the beacon wants.
As Google steps up its commitment to the IoT, other hardware providers will likely enter the market, as they have for Android phones and tablets. Google’s preferred role is to provide software and development and data services to partners, who then sell directly to the public.