Location-Based Services

GE’s bright idea: Bytelight brings iBeacon tech to lighting

GE’s bright idea: Bytelight brings iBeacon tech to lighting

As the iBeacon platform starts to take shape, retailers will start to take notice of the promise it holds. Contextually aware beacons placed strategically throughout a store can push timely information to a smartphone, paving the way for increased sales and data gathering about how customers move through a store. Finding a place to put the beacons may be tough, but GE has a bright idea.

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Qualcomm spins off Gimbal Bluetooth beacon business

Qualcomm spins off Gimbal Bluetooth beacon business

Qualcomm has spun off Gimbal, its location-based services system compatible with Apple's iBeacon, into a standalone company, offering retailers, entertainment venues, and businesses proximity-sensing and geofencing. The independent Gimbal, Inc. will push what Qualcomm described as "the digital sixth sense", feeding personalized information to users iOS and Android devices based on where they are in stores or stadium.

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Big surprise: Facebook will eventually push ads with “Nearby Friends”

Big surprise: Facebook will eventually push ads with “Nearby Friends”

Facebook plans to eventually use its new "Nearby Friends" feature to power new location-based adverts and marketing, the social network has conceded, potentially souring what was generally seen as a privacy-mindful launch of the functionality. Nearby Friends began rolling out last week as a new addition to Facebook's mobile apps, optionally showing those on your friendslist your location, and making it easier to organize impromptu meet-ups. However, Facebook has more in mind than promoting socializing.

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Facebook Nearby Friends tentatively tracks friendslist

Facebook Nearby Friends tentatively tracks friendslist

Facebook has added a new feature to its mobile apps, Nearby Friends, allowing users of the social network to find those on their friendslist when they're nearby, though Facebook is clearly wary of a privacy backlash. The feature, which will be rolled out to the Android and iOS apps over the coming weeks, shows your GPS position and that of your friends on a map; however, Facebook is turning it off by default, and relying on users to opt-in instead.

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Apple outs iBeacon specs (and they’re Android-agnostic)

Apple outs iBeacon specs (and they’re Android-agnostic)

Apple has detailed its specifications for iBeacon, its Bluetooth LE indoor location-based services platform, though exact details of the system are still locked down by the Cupertino firm's demands for secrecy. The specifications have been released under NDA, BEEKn reports, though according to information from those familiar with them predominantly concern how iBeacon devices will be branded, not how they are technically different from other Bluetooth LE transmitters.

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Philips LED lights flicker out a challenge to iBeacon and Gimbal

Philips LED lights flicker out a challenge to iBeacon and Gimbal

Philips has its own plans for location-based services in stores and entertainment venues, eschewing low-power Bluetooth by instead using LED lighting that can communicate with a smartphone app and guide customers around. Dubbed Intelligent Lighting, the connected retail lighting system not only illuminates the store, as you'd expect, but acts as a positioning grid which the smartphone can use to figure out where it is currently.

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Brighter beacons: Up close with Qualcomm’s Gimbal for Apple Stores

Brighter beacons: Up close with Qualcomm’s Gimbal for Apple Stores

With Gimbal, Qualcomm has a device that breaks quite a few molds. Open source, secure, and conceptually cool, Gimbal has the ability to actually make a difference in your day-to-day life. If you’re one to shop at an Apple Store, chances are you already know just how sublimely smooth the Gimbal experience can be. We sat down with Kevin Hunter, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Product Management for Retail Solutions, to find out just how Gimbal makes it happen, both for retailers and consumers.

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Automatic update turns cars into mobile Apple iBeacons

Automatic update turns cars into mobile Apple iBeacons

Automatic has updated its Bluetooth smart driving assistant to turn it into an Apple iBeacon, potentially allowing cars to communicate with stores, restaurants, and other venues as they drive past. The new tweak, added in a recent firmware up for the dongle, expands Automatic from its current role feeding MPG, speed, and other data to a nearby smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0, adopting Apple's location-based platform.

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