Apple’s First iBeacon Location Made Public

In the early days of Febuary 2013, Apple was silently installing and testing a new technology called iBeacons at a number of Major League Baseball Ballparks in the United States.  Major League Baseball have been a very early adopter of Passbook and had already been working with Apple months before the release of Passbook. They now accept Passbook based tickets at every venue [1].  Passbook if it were a stand alone company would already be a multi-billion dollar industry [2].

Apple has identified about 30 industries where Passbook, then iBeacons will be tested.

I have been tracking this for quite sometime and for many reasons I had to wait for some public announcements before diving too deep into this relationship. Apple’s First iBeacon Location Made Public and @ Lets Talk Payments we though of covering it first hand. The first location will be Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.

The Perfect Showcase For iBeacons

Major League Baseball is the perfect test ground and introduction path for the use cases of iBeacons and is a genius move on both Apple and Major League Baseball’s part.

MLB app

Example of the Major League Baseball app.

The technology behind iBeacons is currently Bluetooth Low Energy.  However there are more technologies that will be a part of iBeacons in the future, some quite surprising.

We will see just some aspect tested as iBeacons begin to roll out in the 2014 season.  However Citi Field will begin a limited test shortly.

BellID

More Accurate Ticketing And Access Control

Apple owns some very important foundational patents that allow for radio frequency to be the basis of not only ticketing and event passes [3], they also have patents for door locking and access control [4].  The iBeacon technology will form a backbone for these use cases.   Your Major League Baseball ticket will already be in Passbook and certain iBeacon events will interact with the Passbook ticket and grand turnstile iBeacon users only access and ticketing verification.

See also.. Apple may come up with iBeacons Restaurant Ordering & Reservation System, Patent Reveals 

Highly Accurate Indoor Mapping Though Micro-Location

The first use cases will of course be micro-location.  With iBeacons, one could pinpoint a location to with-in 3.5 inches and perhaps more in some circumstances.  The micro-location aspect will allow the Major League Baseball app to pinpoint your exact seat and also guide you to many aspects of each finality.  Just the indoor mapping aspect will be quite amazing.  If you have ever attended finality of in this class, you know just how vexing it can be to find your way around, especially with a lot of people moving though halls and setting areas.

Highly Customized And Highly Targeted Offers

The Major League Baseball app will allow permissions to be set that would allow vendors to craft offers based on a number of important matrixes.  As you continue to use the app, you will find much more useful offers and specials.  These offers can not only be based on who you are, but also where you happen to be located. One example is to create a discount that may be slightly better for people that have a higher distance to the merchant.

Pre Ordering And In Seat Delivery

Since iBeacons can inform the merchant of exactly where you are sitting, in app food and beverage ordering will become a premium feature to this system.  You will not only be able to order from an interactive menu, you can also pay and perhaps tip the waitstaff.

iWallet Payments

One of the foundational reasons for Touch ID is for payments.  As Apple slowly deploys aspects of the iWallet we will see how iBeacons will interact and inform many aspect of the transaction experience.  There are quite a few layers and dimensions to how Apple will revolutionize these payment experiences and iBeacons is just one aspect.  We will see just the bit of how this will work when the 2014 Major League Baseball season begins.

Over 180 Apple Patents Are Related

Apple is creating a very rich foundation for how they see the future of iBeacons will not only include micro-location, ticketing, access, discounts and payments but also other use cases that I think may be even more surprising.  I have studied patents for over 30+ years and in particular Apple patents over the last 20 years.  I can connect perhaps 180 patents directly and indirectly to the future use cases for based on the technology Apple already has deployed and the technology they will soon deploy.

A Mosaic Up Close Makes Little Sense, We Must Take A Big Step Back

We can see that the deployment of the technology is taking place in “Apple Time” and only seems to make sense as the mosaic of what appear to be disconnected pieces begin to finally come together.  But up close they may just not begin to make sense.

The technology behind iBeacons is currently Bluetooth Low Energy.  However there are more technologies that will be a part of iBeacons in the future, some quite surprising.

We will see just some aspect tested as iBeacons begin to roll out in the 2014 season.  However Citi Field will begin a limited test shortly.

More Accurate Ticketing And Access Control

Apple owns some very important foundational patents that allow for radio frequency to be the basis of not only ticketing and event passes [3], they also have patents for door locking and access control [4].  The iBeacon technology will form a backbone for these use cases.   Your Major League Baseball ticket will already be in Passbook and certain iBeacon events will interact with the Passbook ticket and grand turnstile iBeacon users only access and ticketing verification.

Highly Accurate Indoor Mapping Though Micro-Location

The first use cases will of course be micro-location.  With iBeacons, one could pinpoint a location to with-in 3.5 inches and perhaps more in some circumstances.  The micro-location aspect will allow the Major League Baseball app to pinpoint your exact seat and also guide you to many aspects of each finality.  Just the indoor mapping aspect will be quite amazing.  If you have ever attended finality of in this class, you know just how vexing it can be to find your way around, especially with a lot of people moving though halls and setting areas.

Highly Customized And Highly Targeted Offers

The Major League Baseball app will allow permissions to be set that would allow vendors to craft offers based on a number of important matrixes.  As you continue to use the app, you will find much more useful offers and specials.  These offers can not only be based on who you are, but also where you happen to be located. One example is to create a discount that may be slightly better for people that have a higher distance to the merchant.

Pre Ordering And In Seat Delivery

Since iBeacons can inform the merchant of exactly where you are sitting, in app food and beverage ordering will become a premium feature to this system.  You will not only be able to order from an interactive menu, you can also pay and perhaps tip the waitstaff.

iWallet Payments

One of the foundational reasons for Touch ID is for payments.  As Apple slowly deploys aspects of the iWallet we will see how iBeacons will interact and inform many aspect of the transaction experience.  There are quite a few layers and dimensions to how Apple will revolutionize these payment experiences and iBeacons is just one aspect.  We will see just the bit of how this will work when the 2014 Major League Baseball season begins.

Over 180 Apple Patents Are Related

Apple is creating a very rich foundation for how they see the future of iBeacons will not only include micro-location, ticketing, access, discounts and payments but also other use cases that I think may be even more surprising.  I have studied patents for over 30+ years and in particular Apple patents over the last 20 years.  I can connect perhaps 180 patents directly and indirectly to the future use cases for based on the technology Apple already has deployed and the technology they will soon deploy.

A Mosaic Up Close Makes Little Sense, We Must Take A Big Step Back

We can see that the deployment of the technology is taking place in “Apple Time” and only seems to make sense as the mosaic of what appear to be disconnected pieces begin to finally come together.  But up close they may just not begin to make sense.

[1] Passbook now available for four MLB clubs
[2] Almost No One Noticed How Much This One Year Old Has Grown.
[3] United States Patent Application: 0100082491
[4] United States Patent Application: 0110221575

Stay tuned for more payment news, analysis and startup stories on Lets Talk Payments.

Also Read Beacons – Panacea for the Payments Experience?

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Brian

Brian Roemmele, is a mobile payments expert and an avid blogger at Quora. His profile can be found at http://www.quora.com/Brian-Roemmele. Brian is an Apple enthusiast and has deep interests in writing about new technology in payments.

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