The State of Beacons in Retail 2014 [Infographic]
iBeacon is the trademark for an indoor proximity system that Apple Inc. calls "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence." The technology enables a smart phone or other device to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon.
One application is to help smart phones determine their precise position or context. With the help of an iBeacon, a smartphone's software can pinpoint its own location in a store. iBeacons can help a phone show notifications of items nearby that are on sale, and it can enable payments at the point of sale (POS) where customers don’t need to remove their wallets or cards to make payments. iBeacon technology works using the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, also known as Bluetooth Smart.
iBeacon uses Bluetooth low energy proximity sensing to transmit a universally unique identifier picked up by a compatible app or operating system. The identifier can then be looked up over the internet to determine the device's physical location or trigger an action on the device such as a check-in on social media or a push notification.
Various vendors have made hardware iBeacons that come in a variety of form factors, including small coin cell devices, USB sticks, and generic Bluetooth 4.0 capable USB dongles.