MCS: 68. Working with Android Beacons

Beacons provide Android apps the opportunity to detect when a mobile user is in proximity and provide them additional services and messages. In this video for anyone just starting out with Android, we look at building a vanilla Android app to support Beacons (using the 3rd party Android Beacon Library). If you are a seasoned Android developer we recommend you look at the next video which covers what features Oracle Mobile Cloud Service can provide you to make your job easier when working with Beacons.


UK’s Gatwick Airport presently has 2,000 beacons for in-house navigation

Intricate in-house environments just like air-ports and departmental stores can be quite a bad dream to find your way around. And although Google is hunting cell phones with 3D detectors as one possible fix for places GPS won’t precisely reach, another approach is to kit out an interior with a whole lot of Bluetooth beacons – giving smart phone users located-locked pings to fix onto to learn exactly where they’re.

The UK’s second busiest air-port, Gatwick, has opted for the latter approach to power an indoor navigation system it’s launching as part of a wider, multi-year transformation program.

It’s presently finished kitting out its two terminals with about 2 Thousand battery-powered beacons to make sure digital map users will get a more exact blue dot as they walk around. The beacon system will also be used to power an augmented reality wayfinding tool – making sure that mobile users will have the ability to be guided to specific locations in the terminals through on-screen arrows. The beacon system is planned as supporting positioning with +/-3m precision.

Gatwick is about to integrate indoor positioning into some of its apps, and says it’s in discussions with airlines to utilize it for their own apps and services – giving example of them having the ability to send push notifications to warn travellers if they’re running late, or even settle on if they should wait or offload luggage so a plane can take off promptly.

Retail stores and other third parties will also be able to utilize the system for proximity detection of potential purchasers and delivery promoting messages – as a minimum to those who have opted in to receive them.

Gatwick says it won’t be gathering any personal information through the beacons but says “generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones” will be employed to help to improve airport operations – like queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and reducing over-crowding.

The airport has worked with UK new venture Pointr on the system. In addition to developing software and managing the system on an ongoing basis, Pointr offers an SDK with support for 3D AR wayfinding to allow third parties to take advantage of the functionality.


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