BEACONS: What They Are, How They Work, And Why Apple’s iBeacon Technology Is Ahead Of The Pack

To state the obvious: Modern, smartphone-toting humans spend most of their time indoors.

But indoor spaces often block cell signals and make it nearly impossible to locate devices via GPS. Beacons are a solution.

Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. They are poised to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors. Consumers might even want to deploy them as part of home automation systems.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explain what beacons are, how they work, and how Apple — with its iBeacon implementation — is championing this new paradigm for indoor mobile communication. We also take a look at the barriers in the way of widespread adoption.

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Here are some of our findings:

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