21-2-2014 | John Grundy (@_IOHN)
Beacon technology has been hailed as the next big think for location-based content delivery. We completely agree, but we also see their potential for doing much more than that. Finally, with the help of iBeacons, we have a long-awaited solution for indoor positioning. Here are some use cases of how we see it working:
At an airport
Large venues like airports, malls, stations, stadiums, and hospitals can be hard enough to navigate at the best of times. Then you add large crowds and poor signage and an already difficult task can seem impossible. No matter how many millions venues spend on signage, there are always people that still manage to get lost. So, what can be done about it?
Let’s take an airport for example. It’s your first time to here and you’ve just cleared customs. A notification on your smartphone brings up your boarding pass. Gate 21 and boarding will commence in about an hour.
You don’t want to waste the little time you have, so you open the terminal map in the airport’s app. Here, beacons enable the map to show you your exact location. You quickly spot Gate 21 then plan the shops you’ll visit as you make your way towards the gate. After visiting a few boutiques, you stop for a coffee. As you drink you receive a reminder notification. Boarding will commence in 10 minutes. Checking the map once more you see your new location and find out that it’s only a two minute walk to the Gate.
Made it! Thanks to beacons and the airport specifying the location of each beacon in the back-end, you had enough time to finish your coffee, find out where you are, and still make it to the gate in time for boarding.
At a car park
Keep forgetting specific details like where you parked your car? Well don’t worry – iBeacons are here to help.
You’ve just spent a few hours intensively shopping (and probably bought bit more than you were planning). It’s time to head home, but you can’t remember where you parked your car. You’re carrying too many bags to walk through the levels and rows of cars looking for yours. Sound familiar? Well, imagine this:
When you parked your car you created a reference point of its location in the car park map through the shopping mall’s app. As you leave, you pull out your iPhone and see that the beacons within the mall have pin-pointed your current location on the same map. Now, knowing the exact level and space your car is parked in, the app will show you the quickest way to get there – hopefully before you drop all of your shopping bags!
Benefits of beacons for indoor positioning
- Works indoors, unlike GPS.
- Works in all weather conditions, unlike GPS.
- Energy efficient, unlike GPS.
- Doesn’t require WiFi or data connection.
- Accurate (they can even detect what level of a building you are on).