Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Apple iBeacon - Micro Location Technology

The Federal Communications Commission – FCC filing discovered recently in-depth details on Apple’s first branded piece of iBeacon compatible beacon hardware indicated that the company would very soon introduce the micro location technology to consumer spaces like the `smart homes’.

This was reported by TUAW after the documents were spotted by Securifi. According to OET’s paperwork, `Apple iBeacon’, as the device is labelled, carries the model number A1573.

The original equipment application is the first sign which Apple is testing on in-house hardware solution for location aware iBeacon technology, being filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology- OET. Hardware testing had been done in collaboration with Audix Technology, a facility that was owned by the Chinese company, running assessments by conducting shielding enclosure, semi-anechoic chamber with other equipment, somewhere by April end or mid-May.

The beacon tested had a diameter of around 5.46” and had an operating range between 2402 MHz and 2480 MHz, with the highest frequency of 2.4 GHz in line with the latest Bluetooth protocol specification and the testing passed in all areas inclusive of three selected frequencies was 2402 MHz, 2440 MHz and 2480 MHz.

iOS Enabled Device for Communicating with Transmitter 

The iBeacon technology originally introduced at WWDC 2013, is iOS enabled device for communicating with transmitters through Bluetooth to deliver important information to apps and services whenever the user is within the range, `Made for iPhone, Apple’s introduction with iBeacon specification in February, has brought about an important role for the technology in its services and devices.

However, companies so far have been using third party transmitters such as the Estimote Beacon to work with the technology as well as iOS devices while shopping app Shopkick and Macy’s partnered at the time of holiday season to integrate the technology into stores, last year.

Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association used iBeacons to enhance live events. Apple’s iBeacon has a combination of specialized Bluetooth 4.0 beacons together with wireless data connectivity for location based content services for devices like iPhone or iPad while Bluetooth Low energy beacons can vary transceiver sensitivity with location aware deployment on controlling the system’s effective range.

Capabilities of turning iOS Device into Temporarily Discoverable Beacon 

Besides a dedicated hardware, Apple’s iBeacon platform also has the capabilities of turning iOS device with Bluetooth 4.0 support into a temporarily discoverable beacon and while the company has developed the technology for iBeacon, companies have been rendering services based on hardware use platform made by third party providers since Apple has been using Qualcomm Gimbal products in its own stores.

In the event of the launch, it is yet unknown if Apple intends the product to be marketed to businesses or consumers and it is speculated that the small beacon device would work well with forthcoming feature of iOS 8 like the HomeKit. It is a framework for `smart home’, software and hardware makers.

This forthcoming feature, HomeKit enables monitoring as well as controlling of connected devices such as A/V equipment, lights and other appliances with iOS.

 A HomeKit iBeacon setting could be the most automated home ecosystems on the market with iBeacon installed in home sensing users’ iPhone or iWatches which would be worn by them daily together with Apple TV handling connected device and appliance control.

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