Beacons are now an upcoming international tech phenomenon. Although being a conspicuous device ,they have grabbed a lot of attention worldwide . Beacons are analogous to RFID and NFC technologies , which are specifically designed for indoor positioning .
Beacons are devices that can provide you with location based information about any specific thing that you desire to keep a track of. They can be assumed as the descendants of RFID and NFC which are now a well known tech. Beacons are similar to the sirens that you see around in your society on top of many Law enforcement vehicles.
What do these sirens do? They are designed draw your attention towards their location , In the same way beacons that are installed at your home or a factory or a super market can transmit it’s location continuously. Apple has used this beacon technology for their retail purpose for the past few months under the name of iBeacon.
iBeacons are a whole new class of devices powered by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart. BLE can also be found on many other Bluetooth 4.0 devices that support dual mode.They are trade-marketed as indoor positioning system. these devices can transmit unique identifiers that can be picked up by any compatible app or device.these signals can either trigger any action on the device or can be used locate physical location of the device. around mid December, it was reported that Apple activated iBeacons across many of it’s US retail stores. On June 12, 2013,the US patent office released a patent application filed by Apple for an iBeacons Restaurant Ordering & Reservation System. This application covers a unique system in which a iOS device user could be presented not only with options of local restaurants but also wait times and seating availability in real time,and in-restaurant ordering systems that allow customers and staff to place and modify orders. Apple might also release these beacons for commercial use in the near future.
In the nearby future, if the beacons are implemented to the maximum extent, we can expect to experience a shopping life as depicted in the image above. It would as simple as walking in, opening your beacon app, retrieving the location of your desired product and walking out of the store will simply complete your transaction, and thus enabling the users to experience a hassle free shopping. It will also benefit the supermarkets to avoid the losses that occur due to shoplifting, and also provide the shops a free advertising medium.
But beacons as of today, do not have a regulation platform in which the data being shared among the users that are connected to it. Beacons have also a tendency to store the shopping habits and generate special offers for them, and thereby invading users privacy. In the hands of a hacker, they can become a powerful tool to track down people and also might break into their phones, ruthlessly creating serious security issues.