BLE, iBeacon, Eddystone and the Physical Web

This month we’re happy to have Beat Zenerino of BKON and Bitvana come talk about Bluetooth LE, iBeacons, Eddystone, and the Physical Web!

First, he will introduce a high-level overview of the Bluetooth Smart protocol including services and characteristics. He will also go over how two devices discover each other and subsequently connect. With this knowledge, he will then cover how iBeacon and Eddystone utilize this protocol to provide location based services. he will touch on the differences between CoreBluetooth and CoreLocation in iOS and how the iBeacon protocol uses these libraries. Then he will conclude his presentation with a code walkthrough on how to use the Bluetooth LE Sample code from Google to scan for beacons on Android.

Come prepared with Android Studio, Xcode, or both for some hands-on learning!


London’s Gatwick Airport now has 2,000 beacons for in-house navigation

Complex in-house environments similar to air-ports and departmental stores can be quite a pain to find your way around. Although Google is thinking of getting mobile phones with 3D detectors as one probable solution for places GPS won’t correctly reach, another approach is to kit out an interior with quite a lot of Bluetooth beacons – giving cell phone users located-locked pings to fix onto to learn where they’re.

The UK’s second busiest airport, Gatwick airport, has chosen the 2nd approach to power an indoor navigation system it’s launching as an element of a broader, multi-year transformation program.

It’s currently completed providing its two terminals with around 2 Thousand battery-powered beacons to make certain that digital map users will get a more exact blue dot as they stroll around. The beacon system will also be used to power an augmented reality wayfinding tool – guaranteeing that mobile users can be guided to a particular locations inside the terminals via on-screen arrows. The beacon system is slated as supporting positioning with +/-3m precision.

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

Retail stores and other third parties will also be able to utilize the system for proximity detection of potential customers and push advertising and marketing messages – at least to those who’ve signed up to receive them.

Gatwick says it will not be collecting any personal data with the beacons but says “generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones” will be employed to help to improve airport operations – similar to queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and eliminating obstruction.

The airport has worked with UK startup company Pointr on the system. As well as developing software and managing the system on an ongoing basis, Pointr provides an SDK with support for 3D AR wayfinding to enable third parties to access the functionality.

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