Apple, IBeacon, and the Internet of Things

IOS 7 in June 2013 presentation focused especially on what everyone expected, the new and radical design change, but in this operating system had many other sections that just they had coverage, and one of them could have relevance in the future. Your name: iBeacons.

This feature of iOS 7 is designed to be a alternative to NFC, and seems destined to take advantage of this increasingly popular idea of the “Internet of things” in which virtually anything around us will be connected to the Internet.

Bluetooth as a basis

The iBeacons technology is based on the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE, also known as Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Smart), who begins to gain strength among different manufacturers and standard that, for example, is present in some of the new smart watches.

Mark compatible with iBeacon manufactured by Estimote

The beacons (beacons) are small wireless sensors that are placed in any physical space and that they transmit relevant data (at least, theoretically) to our iPhone or iPad using the standard BLE.

Application Virtual Estimote Beacon

according to HOMETHODOLOGY.COM,A good example it would have passed by a clothing store: the iPhone would detect that there is a mark, and through iBeacon We would get an alert with, for example, offers about products that may be of interest to us.

Contactless Mobile payments are another option of an idea that also benefits from a consumption infino: the sensors can operate over two years with a simple button cell and integrate an accelerometer, Flash memory, ARM processor and the aforementioned Bluetooth connectivity.

Another possible application is the maps in interiors, GPS receivers can do that front but that could be resolved with the feature of “provice” of the iBeacons, such as those manufactured by Estimote. These sensors have their fixed GPS coordinates and can transmit them via the Internet to create events of input and output (for example, from a museum that we are doing a tour) and provide the key tool for those indoor location maps.

The alternative to NFC and NFC tags

IBeacon technology could be particularly interesting as an alternative to NFC. Although such connectivity is already integrated in many mobile devices – none of Apple, by the way, what justifies even more the emergence of iBeacon-, their benefits do not seem appropriate for the Internet of things that is to be imposed between manufacturers.

One of the key aspects in this section is the fact that although the NFC tags are relatively cheap and its operation is suitable, its scope is very limited. The range of the signal is reduced to just 20 centimeters, Although the optimal range is 4 cm.

In the case of iBeacons sensors, that scope expands 50 metres, which can effectively provide this technology to a much broader possibilities. Although the introduction of NFC chips in mobile devices is becoming wider, the standard technology if manufacturers make up is Bluetooth, and this new version 4.0 with the mode of energy efficiency is more and more present in these solutions.

Apple bets on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

We are watching it for some time: Apple not been integrated ever NFC in their products, and This technology is the big bet of Google, that it has used it for Android Beam from Android 4.0 as a method of data transmission in a simple way.

That Google’s technology came as a counterpart to AirDrop, that is only compatible with Apple computers (mobile and computers), and that allows that file transfer via Bluetooth as well as through WiFi connections. Apple made clear with this proposal their zero interest in NFC, something that has been demonstrated in the presentation of the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 c, none of which.

The future of NFC seems complicated Despite the efforts of Google or from manufacturers such as Sony to boost it. Some play with the acronym and say that NFC means “nobody cares a m *” (“Nobody F * Cares”), and do it with important arguments, as this reduced scope that almost requires that there is physical contact between devices and/or tag NFC.

The same applies to other wireless standards that have tried to impose on the market of the Internet of things, such as ZigBee or Z-wave, with few props and that also they have an enemy clear: the aforementioned Bluetooth Low Energy, It seems perfect candidate to become inseparable from our devices and many other partner yet to see.

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