How iBeacons could Change the World – not Just Retail

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How iBeacons could Change the World – not Just Retail

By all accounts, 2014 should be the year of iBeacons.

We have enjoyed an improved mobile experience through location data for some years now, but with iBeacon technology, it moves to another level.

And, with CES, hosting a scavenger hunt using the technology it seems the industry has embraced the era of contextual computing.

iBeacon Facts:


Using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 LE technology, an iBeacon sends a Bluetooth signal to devices that supports this standard (so far, Android KitKat and Jelly Bean, and iOS 7).

The signal triggers a customized app to push specified actions and notifications to the specific device.


A device’s proximity to a beacon is determined by the strength of the Bluetooth signal. Triangulating between different beacons and four proximity levels (unknown, far, near and immediate) the micro-location place a device.

Consequently, it is possible to trigger different actions and notifications depending on your location.


Another differentiating feature is the low power consumption. Most iBeacons will go for as long as two years on the power of one embedded battery.


Furthermore, using Bluetooth LE any device supporting the specific standard can be turned into a beacon. This enables individual users of the same app to identify one another.


Finally, iBeacon technology stands out, by being responsive without your activation.When the app is running, it works in the background while you take a phone call, browse or send a text.

Before we let the retailers engulf this technology – spitting out nothing but a marketing tool – let’s investigate which benevolent potentials it holds.

Attention to Retail

So far, the technology has only been promoted and used as a marketing tool in the retail industry.

American retail giant Macy’s was the first to utilize the technology, beating even Apple to the punch, in partnership with ShopKick.

IBeacon technology is very suitable for the retail industry, supporting every step in the shopping process – from getting you from the street into the store, to your final payment.

While we find the many retail ideas interesting, our hope is to use this pioneering technology to do more than upselling.

An Enriching Internet of Things

A Washington Post article offers a couple of less commercially and more experience-driven ideas. Imagine,

– your front door opening up as it detects you;

– an alarm going off if your car leaves your driveway without you in it;

– or your tablet being the tour guide at your next museum visit.

At Mjølner we find these ideas inspirational, but we are still looking for a more holistically enriching Internet of Things.

Finding Ways to Engage and Inspire Using iBeacon Technology

As part of our quest to find new and more generous ways of utilizing iBeacons, we have partnered with a school for children with special needs.

Our goal is to innovate their ways of teaching and the children’s learning, by focusing on exercise, cooperation and play facilitated by iBeacon technology. The project is only in its beginning phase, but already looks auspicious.

In the coming month you can follow our project progress here.

Learn which obstacles we meet;  how we overcome them; and the benefits of the final solution.

  • mandag jan 20, 2014