What is an iBeacon?
How it works
- As you walk past a coffee shop you could be offered a free coffee 'today only - just show this message'. You get one but the friend you are with has to pay for theirs. It's detected both your phones.
- As you walk past a cinema you are told what is now playing.
- As you pass a newsagent you are told there's an update available on a story you've been following.
- When you are near a clothes shop you are told there's a sale of jackets now on.
- iBeacons can be set to only act if it's target has been near it for some time, you won't be bothered with messages about vacuum cleaners if you are just passing by them but may be messaged if you've been in that area for a while.
How it can be abused
- As you browse the books you might get a message telling you it would be much more convenient and cost less to get the book in e-book format at Amazon. Just click this link to download it now to your phone. The link is of course an affiliate link which earns the iBeacon owner a small commission.
- While you wait for a bus outside the store you may get an advert for a game to pass the time.
- A hidden iBeacon may direct shoppers to a competitor's store.