iBeacons are indoor proximity systems powered by low powered Bluetooth. Apple introduced iBeacons with the iOS 7 framework, so essentially any device running iOS 7 can serve as an iBeacon. iBeacons can provide improved user interaction in many different industries including retail, fashion, entertainment, home automation etc.
Consider a scenario where you prepare a shopping list of items at your home and as soon as you walk into the store your shopping list turns into a map indicating where to find the items. Even better it will automatically downloads coupons associated with the items in your shopping list.
At present if you walk into a museum and wants to find anything about a particular exhibit then you have to put on those 80's headphones. With iBeacons technology you can simply walk up to the exhibit and your smart phone will reflect all the information about the exhibit. This provides a more seamless and pleasant experience for the users.
People always forget their valuables at their home or in their car. With iBeacons you can get notified whenever you walk away from your valuable. A great example would be your beloved Pet. You can make your pet wear an iBeacon and then whenever is left behind you will get a notification.
OK! I am sold where do I get one?
Before spending money on the iBeacon device which ranges from ($30 - $100) you can test out iBeacon using your Mac. Yes! your Mac can serve as an iBeacon device. For a Mac to act as an iBeacon make sure your Mac supports Bluetooth 4.0 technology. If you are unsure about your Mac compatibility with Bluetooth 4.0 then download the Mactracker app and see your Mac specifications.
Once, you are 100% sure that your Mac can serve as an iBeacon you can use the MactsAsBeacon open source project to host your Mac as an iBeacon device. I have explained all these steps in my screencast Introduction to iBeacon.
After you have tested the beacons you might be itching to get the real stuff. There are lots of companies that provide iBeacons but two of the popular ones are Estimote and Particle by KS Technologies. Apple is also working secretly on their own iBeacon device which might be an integral part of the home automation.
I am really excited about iBeacons technology and I believe this industry is going to provide huge benefits to consumers as well as organizations.