Beacons have been getting a lot of press lately about how they are going to transform retail, but iBeacons are much more than that.  You can use them for a bunch of cool stuff with your iPhone, your Mac, and a couple of iBeacons.  First, a bit of background. iBeacons are Bluetooth devices that broadcast to your iPhone or iPad to let them know the beacons are nearby.
Here are 10 awesome things you can do right now using iBeacons. All of these work with any iBeacon, but they work great with our Bleu Station iBeacons.  Here they are:
  • “Auto-Lock and walk” your Mac
  • Flip iChat Status to “Out” when stepping away
  • Send a notification as you arrive
  • Create your own “club card” with passbook
  • Remotely snap a webcam photo and email it to yourself
  • Light turn on when you arrive
  • Post to group chat  as staff enter or leave the building
  • Make a dramatic entrance as “Eye of the Tiger” starts playing when you walk in.
  • Keep a log of when you enter and leave your car in google docs
  • Post a message to Twitter when near a beacon
Most of these tips make heavy use of Geohopper for iOS, since it is a great general purpose tool for making things happen when you are near an iBeacon. Geohopper for iOS can be downloaded for free from the App Store. The web services are available as in-app purchases.  Initial setup of Geohopper requires email registration and configuration to add your iBeacons to the list of regions. Setup is easy and in a few minutes you’ll be ready to start using iBeacon triggers.
Geohopper for Mac is the sibling of Geohopper for iOS and, as the name states, runs on your Mac. Geohopper for Mac harnesses the capabilities of your Mac for proximity detection and is available on the App Store for just a few dollars.

Source: twocanoes

Here is a fun drone hack from our Disrupt NY Hackathon. FloNew brings together Gimbal beacons, Esri mapping, Nexmo‘s communications platform and Parrot’s RollingSpider MiniDrones. Using FloNew’s mobile app, you can automatically send your drone to any of your nearby beacons.
During our hackathon, Andre Smith and Gabriel Velez built the mobile app to deploy the drone and hacked into the MiniDrone to be able to control it (Parrot doesn’t make that especially easy). Sadly, the onstage demo failed because the drone didn’t have a line of sight to the gimbal beacon, but the team had set up four beacons and the idea was to have the drone move between them with a push of a button.
Clearly, the practical applications for delivering goods with ParrotMini drones is limited. But hey — it’s a hackathon project, not a competitor to Amazon’s PrimeAir project.The whole system uses Bluetooth LE, so the range is pretty limited anyway.
You can find the code the team developed for this project on GitHub. What’s cool here is that Smith and Velez used Node.js to build this project, so if you ever wanted to use JavaScript to control a drone, this is your chance.
Source: TechCruch
To state the obvious: Modern, smartphone-toting humans spend most of their time indoors.
EstimoteAn Estimote beacon
But indoor spaces often block cell signals and make it nearly impossible to locate devices via GPS. Beacons are a solution.
Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. They are poised to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors. Consumers might even want to deploy them as part of home automation systems.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explain what beacons are, how they work, and how Apple — with its iBeacon implementation — is championing this new paradigm for indoor mobile communication. We also take a look at the barriers in the way of widespread adoption.
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Here are some of our findings:
  • In-store retail and offline payments are in the first wave of beacon applications. Retail outlets are adopting beacons to provide customers with product information, flash sales or deals, and to speed up the checkout process with a completely contactless payments system.
  • Consumers seem receptive to beacons as a way to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Half of American adults already utilize their mobile devices in stores. Consumers could also use them to inexpensively automate their homes. For example, beacons could turn on lights in a room as soon as someone with a smartphone has entered them, or open doors or window shades.
  • But there's a barrier to wide adoption of beacon technology: several layers of permissions.Customers have to turn on Bluetooth, accept location services on the relevant app and opt-in to receive in-store or indoor notifications.
  • People are confused about Apple iBeacon because it has yet to take a true physical form. Apple hasn't manufactured a physical beacon. Instead, Apple's iBeacon is built into its devices and iOS7 mobile operating system. Already, 200 million iOS devices can already serve as transmitters and receivers. But third-party manufacturers have built beacons that can send iBeacon messages to Apple devices.
  • The beacon wars are heating up. PayPal and Qualcomm are gearing up to challenge Apple with beacon hardware of their own. Smaller vendors like EstimoteSwirl, and GPShopper are entering the mix with beacon management and consulting on top of hardware or software platforms.
  • The applications go beyond retail: We expect beacons to be deployed all over airports and ground transit hubs so that notifications on departures, delays, and gate and platform assignments can be delivered instantly to passenger phones.

Source: Business Insider