For the benefit of those who have not heard of the term beacon yet, beacon as defined by the Merriam Webster is
: a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.
: a radio signal that is broadcast to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.
: someone or something (such as a country) that guides or gives hope to others
The third definition is a little hilarious but it actually makes sense. In technology, a beacon is an inexpensive device designed to solve the blocking of cell signals in an indoor space. It is basically about indoor mobile communication. Since most people now spend their time indoors with their smartphones and tablets, and only take the time to go out to get signal, beacons opened a new avenue for companies to make money. As a matter of fact, the leading brand to date is none other than Apple. Yes, Apple is making it big in the beacon technology with their iBeacon.
Here are some important information you need to know about beacons:
- Apple’s iBeacon is actually integrated into its devices and iOS7 mobile operating system.
- It would not be long before we see beacons from PayPal and Qualcomm.
- Retail outlets are already installing beacons to easily present customers with product info and flash sales and to provide faster checkout process.
- Beacons can improve your in-store shopping experience a great deal. As a matter of fact, half of American adults are already using it.
- Beacons are expected to invade even airports and ground transit hubs.
See this chart for more info.