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iBeacons Presentation

Presentation about iBeacons shown on May 26th, 2014 in Zürich CH, August 13th in Leeds UK, August 14th in London UK, September 30th in Amsterdam NL, and October 28th in Durban, South Africa.

Introduction

This presentation is about iBeacon - a new technology based on Bluetooth – for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. iBeacon offers unprecedented opportunities to communicate with the user via your mobile app. There are no complicated configuration or setup, no need to scan QR codes, etc.

iBeacons is the new frontier. Or at least that is what the press says every day. Using iBeacons, shops will be able to analyse in detail consumer behaviour, transport companies will be able to offer better information to their customers, conferences rooms will become intelligent and aware of their attendees, and the list goes on and on.

iBeacons show lots of promise and potential, but they raise lots of new questions; what are the costs? What are the implications in terms of UX? How about privacy? This 1-hour talk provides an overview of iBeacons from a conceptual point of view.

This presentation is targeted to both technical (developers, system architects) and non-technical team members (marketing managers, CEOs, project managers) interested in the characteristics of this new technology. It includes live demos of how to use iBeacons and a showcase of different options available in the market today.

Setup

This application uses 3 or 4 iBeacons, all using the same UDID: 49EF247E-00B4-4693-A61C-A63C7BD34085. These beacons would sometimes include Estimote beacons, but also custom-built Bluetooth 4.0 software running in dedicated devices.

The (major, minor) pairs used in the application are as follows:

  • MacBook: (1, 0) (not possible anymore in Yosemite, see below)
  • Raspberry: (1, 1)
  • iPad: (1, 2)
  • Estimote Ice: (1, 3)
  • Estimote Mint: (1, 4)

Mac OS X

This presentation used to include an iBeacon running on my MacBook Pro computer, created using Matthew Robinson's OS X iBeacon Code which unfortunately no longer works under Yosemite.

iOS

During the presentation, I used Localz's Beacon Toolkit app to simulate a working iBeacon on my iPad Air.

Raspberry Pi

During the presentation I set up a Raspberry Pi unit to broadcast that same UDID. The application uses the "major" and "minor" numbers to detect the proximity of any of these beacons, and displays the corresponding information page in the screen of the iPhone.

The code of the Raspberry Pi can be found in the Raspberry Pi folder in this repository. The start.sh and stop.sh scripts must be run as sudo and require the bluez library, which must be installed separately (sudo apt-get install bluez.)

About

This presentation is about iBeacon - a new technology based on Bluetooth - for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

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