Startup pushes Newsstand publication samples to iOS devices through Apple's iBeacons

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Publishers can now promote their magazine apps for iOS by making them available to view for free at specific locations, thanks to a new use for Apple's wireless iBeacon technology created by a digital publishing startup company.

iBeacon


Using iBeacons, publishers can give readers the same ability to browse a magazine that they would at a real, live newsstand. The concept of magazine promotion by iBeacons was created by Exact Editions, which is calling its service for publishers "ByPlace."

With ByPlace, an iBeacon can serve as an "unlocking device" for appropriate applications to connected iOS devices in the vicinity. Using a tiny, battery-powered iBeacon accessory, a publisher could offer free content access to users located within 15 meters.

According to Exact Editions, publishers and developers can attach several applications to a specific ByPlace iBeacon, and that accessible content can be altered remotely when needed.

Exact Editions sees the use of its ByPlace transmitter specifically appealing to publishers, as they will be able to use it to sell magazine subscriptions to users. In particular, publishers will more easily be able to reach niche audiences when an iBeacon is placed at a corresponding venue.

In examples provided by the startup, an iBeacon for a film magazine could be shared in a movie theater, fashion magazines could be browse-able at an art venue, and business magazines could be available in an airline lounge. Exact Editions also suggested that "discreet but noticeable in-app branding" for the venue hosting the iBeacon could be included, stating sponsorship of the free app preview.

Finally, venues that host apps would be able to see which magazines generate the most business, allowing them to choose similar offerings in the future, and potentially turning visitors into repeat customers who may come back for additional free access in the future.

The ByPlace iBeacon technology has already been tested at a number of locations across the globe, with Opera Magazine being offered by The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, The Catholic Herald at Westminster Cathedral in the Vatican, Music Week available to sample for Abbey Road visitors, and both When Saturday Comes and Dazed & Confused available at U.K. pub Bar Kick.

"iBeacons have tremendous potential for publishers," said Daryl Rayner, managin director of Exact Editions. "They offer a discrete, low cost way for publishers to do something they've never before been able to, market their product digitally based on location. At Exact Editions we are delighted to once again be at the forefront of innovation with Newsstand apps."

shopBeacon


iBeacons are a new feature Apple introduced with iOS 7, using Bluetooth Low Energy-based technology to allow location-specific features when within range of an iOS device. So far, retailer Macy's has launched a trial program in New York and San Francisco that track shoppers' movements throughout stores and serve up different offers based on the floor or department the customer is in.

Major League Baseball has also announced plans to use iBeacons to enhance fans' experience at league ballparks, delivering targeted information and offers based on a fan's location within that park. MLB demonstrated the new technology at the New York Mets' Citi Field, showing how fans approaching the gate will have their ticket barcode automatically displayed, while those visiting concession stands may be given a virtual "point card."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.
  • Reply 2 of 29

    This is a fantastic idea. Let's just hope it's *really* simple to use.

  • Reply 3 of 29
    bbbut google already anointed near field communications hardware as the wave of this type of future...

    whatever shall we do?
  • Reply 4 of 29
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member

    Turning this off is as simple as turning off Bluetooth.

  • Reply 5 of 29
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post

    This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.


    Why would I want to "be used to" having my physical location tracked, especially down to the meter (or less).

    The problem with all of this location stuff is that people are being trained to be sheep. To have themselves tracked and tagged 24/7, watching where they go and what they do. Correlating with purchases, what you watch on TV, where you work, what you do with your free time, the list goes on forever. That's not only dangerous (for some people), but demeaning and dehumanizing.

    The technology is so very, very cool, and has the potential to do really neat and flashy stuff. But I wish people would step back and see the large view that being part of this Borg mindshare, being tracked and analyzed at every moment of your life is Bad, no matter who is doing it.

    I mostly definitely trust Apple's motivations above Google's, for the obvious reasons (almost) everyone here understands. But the big, big picture is one of people giving up data about themselves in ways that they cannot possibly understand, and cannot possibly understand how it will be used in the future. So no, I will not get "used to" it.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post

    Turning this off is as simple as turning off Bluetooth.



    Let's hope this is true (and I imagine it will be).

    But now I'm faced with the choice of being physically tracked or using a bluetooth keyboard. Hmm. The real hope is that bluetooth can be enabled without enabling "beacon" functionality.

    Yes, most people are being tracked by their cell phone providers (and frankly the only way around that is to only use your mobile device anonymously, which is extremely difficult), but they cannot provide you service without a physical location. However, the problems are two-fold. First, they should not be allowed to keep that data and aggregate it over time to create paths, tendencies, etc. Second, they should not be allowed to sell it, period. Remember, they readily acknowledge they sell that data to federal government agencies.

    There's no choice with cell providers, but there are very few of them and it's at least theoretically possible to legally regulate what they do with that data. But when you allow retailers (and pretty much anyone in the world, at that point, good actors and bad actors) the ability to track you around in real-time, that's Really Bad. Because your location can be tracked with such fine detail, retailers will be able to marry your "beacon ID" with your "real person ID" as soon as you make a purchase. Anywhere, just once! Then when all that data gets aggregated and disaggregated by marketing firms, just like cookies do now on your browser, it will allow all kinds of Bad Actors across the world track your location in real time down to exactly where you're standing. Once you've been "tagged", just one time, there will be no way to ever opt out of their tracking without disabling your bluetooth.

    Why does anyone think this is a good idea, or are people just not thinking it through?
  • Reply 7 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.






    Why would I want to "be used to" having my physical location tracked, especially down to the meter (or less).

     

     

    I must misunderstand what iBeacon is then, as I don't think it tracks you, but more like a beacon for iDevices that only pushes data? 

     

    Quote:


    iBeacon is an indoor positioning system that Apple Inc. calls "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence"


  • Reply 8 of 29
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.






    Why would I want to "be used to" having my physical location tracked, especially down to the meter (or less).



    The problem with all of this location stuff is that people are being trained to be sheep. To have themselves tracked and tagged 24/7, watching where they go and what they do. Correlating with purchases, what you watch on TV, where you work, what you do with your free time, the list goes on forever. That's not only dangerous (for some people), but demeaning and dehumanizing.



    The technology is so very, very cool, and has the potential to do really neat and flashy stuff. But I wish people would step back and see the large view that being part of this Borg mindshare, being tracked and analyzed at every moment of your life is Bad, no matter who is doing it.



    I mostly definitely trust Apple's motivations above Google's, for the obvious reasons (almost) everyone here understands. But the big, big picture is one of people giving up data about themselves in ways that they cannot possibly understand, and cannot possibly understand how it will be used in the future. So no, I will not get "used to" it.



    Your tinfoil hat mentality is the result of watching too many Borg episodes of Start Trek.  Might want to lighten-up on it.



    You don't want to be tracked?  Turn it off.  Better yet, disable internet on your phone.  Wait, phones use cell towers... better not use cell phones either.  Your problem is you love using technology, but hate it at the same time.



    Last night I did a Starbucks run in downtown SF, and it simply saddened me that the place was full of patrons, and every single person was looking straight down on their phones, with zero interaction to the people around them.  No one was talking.  It was sad.  I left my phone in my pocket to simply watch everyone and soak in my surroundings.  I did not like this part of tech.  iBeacon I can handle.  

     

  • Reply 9 of 29

    It sounds like this needs an application installed before someone can receive an iBeacon -- which is a major failing.

     

    What iOS really needs is a "close-location based messaging system" with links, text and pictures and it could use bluetooth or wireless at the same time. Basically a sand box that is automatically trusted on the premise that you are "Close to the transmission source." It would of course be a way to SPAM someone, but that would mean someone could just walk away. Until the user clicks on something in the message "sand box" no other interaction can happen.

     

    I really see a use for this at kiosks, in museums, in POS for queries. You are in the model isle at a hobby shop, and so it would have location-based information. You don't have to look up anything about the Lego Mindbots -- it would be there because you were close to the items for sale.

     

    This is completely different from my rants against Data Mining and sales-driven junk we are inundated with on the web. If I bought a car -- that doesn't mean I want car ads for the next year, I'm done with that. If I go to a car showroom, however, it's perfectly appropriate and useful for me to LEARN ABOUT CARS IN FRONT OF ME. And nobody had to datamine me or know what High School I went to for this information to be useful to me, and to help the company make a sale.

     

    There are other systems that try and offer free wifi in exchange for intercepting people making those "bar code scans" to look for a better deal on the product in front of them. It's an opportunity for coupons, value add, or bidding - maybe pointing out that you can return at this store or get support.

     

    Standardizing this process with something useful, non-invasive and non-abusive is good for everyone.

     

    Right now it's an arms race on the web and I can't even download a file I need from download.com without a dozen adds posing as "Click here to download your file" -- and the legitimate link looks exactly as the spoofed malware links. Malware on a site that is supposed to be legitimate?

     

    So this system must be designed for the user to have total control. This advertising by guerrilla warfare tactics is not helping to produce legitimate sales and positive brand identity -- so one has to wonder why Google, FireFox and a host of other user-facing companies are bothering to support it.

  • Reply 10 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     



    Your tinfoil hat mentality is the result of watching too many Borg episodes of Start Trek.  Might want to lighten-up on it.



    You don't want to be tracked?  Turn it off.  Better yet, disable internet on your phone.  Wait, phones use cell towers... better not use cell phones either.  Your problem is you love using technology, but hate it at the same time.



    Last night I did a Starbucks run in downtown SF, and it simply saddened me that the place was full of patrons, and every single person was looking straight down on their phones, with zero interaction to the people around them.  No one was talking.  It was sad.  I left my phone in my pocket to simply watch everyone and soak in my surroundings.  I did not like this part of tech.  iBeacon I can handle.  

     




    This iBeacon doesn't need to know who the customer is. The "tin foil hat rant" as you call it is bringing up legitimate concerns that can hinder adoption.

     

    Apple needs to put users in control and anonymize these kinds of transactions. What does a car company care if they can sell me a car? There are too many companies getting sucked into the marketing hype of KNOWING THEIR CUSTOMER. It's a bad idea and a failed premise. Your customer needs to know and LIKE you. You only need to sell a better product or experience and let someone know about that. Getting into data mining is a lose/lose system that is going to end up having people turn things off and developers not be able to know what anyone is using so they have to design to the lowest common denominator.

     

    For instance JavaScript and CSS can be used for malicious action and data gathering. I can install a plugin to turn it off completely, or turn it on selectively. But that takes thought and work, and you want people to visit your web page. Right now, a few web pages end up broken until I tweak a few settings -- but it's better that than the malware.

     

    The impression a customer has that you might be spying on them is more important than whether you are spying on them or not. And spying on someone gives you useless data or something to be used for extortion -- there is no LEGITIMATE REASON to do it.

  • Reply 11 of 29
    john.b wrote: »
    Turning this off is as simple as turning off Bluetooth.


    Turning Bluetooth off is unnecessary.

    Consider this scenario for apple iBeacons in Target stores.


    With Apple's implementation of iBeacons:

    an iBeacon is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device that broadcasts:
    1. an algorithmically-generated unique ID for each enterprise -- say, 12345 for Target, 40978, for BestBuy...
    2. a Major ID assigned by the enterprise, say, store number 101
    3. a Minor ID assigned by the enterprise or store -- say, 3022 for Uggs Boots in Ladies Shoes

    The concept is that the user can run an app on his iDevice that can listen for iBeacons
    • in any Target store -- UUID 1234
    • in a specific Target Store -- UUID 1234, Major ID 101
    • in a specific Target Store Department/Brand -- UUID 1234, Major ID 101, Minor ID 3022

    Basicly, That's it! The user's iDevice is listening only, for specific iBeacons -- it is not broadcasting anything. It cannot be detected, located or tracked through iBeacons.


    Here are the steps:
    1. Target develops an app that listens for its unique Target iBeacons
    2. The Target app is submitted to Apple's App Store
    3. The Target app is rigorously tested to assure that it meets Apple Privacy and Security standards
    4. You download the Target App from the Apple App Store
    5. You decide that you are going to shop at Target and want to be alerted to Target specials
    6. You launch The Target app on your iDevice
    7. The Target app on your iDevice listens for Target iBeacons
    8. When your iDevice comes within range of a Target iBeacon the Target app based on your preferences can:
      • do nothing
      • notify you, from within the Target App on your iDevice that you are in range of Target iBeacon, say "ladies shoes"
      • display content from within the Target App on your iDevice -- e.g. a special on Uggs Boots
    9. You can decide to take come action:
      • do nothing
      • visit the Target website for more information
      • accept a PassBook coupon generated within the Target App or from the Target web site
      • select the item for purchase within the Target app
    10. when you decide you are through, you can:
      • do nothing
      • purchase the item using WiFi (online or in-store)
      • purchase the item using traditional methods (cash, check, credit card)

    It deserves repeating:

    Basicly, That's it! The user's iDevice is listening only, for specific iBeacons -- it is not broadcasting anything. It cannot be detected, located or tracked through iBeacons.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    blah64 wrote: »
    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442857" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pmz</strong> <a href="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442857"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/>This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.</div></div>

    Why would I want to "be used to" having my physical location tracked, especially down to the meter (or less).

    The problem with <i>all</i> of this location stuff is that people are being trained to be sheep. To have themselves tracked and tagged 24/7, watching where they go and what they do. Correlating with purchases, what you watch on TV, where you work, what you do with your free time, the list goes on forever. That's not only dangerous (for some people), but demeaning and dehumanizing.

    The technology is so very, very cool, and has the potential to do really neat and flashy stuff. But I wish people would step back and see the large view that being part of this Borg mindshare, being tracked and analyzed at every moment of your life is Bad, no matter who is doing it.

    I mostly definitely trust Apple's motivations above Google's, for the obvious reasons (almost) everyone here understands. But the big, big picture is one of people giving up data about themselves in ways that they cannot possibly understand, and cannot possibly understand how it will be used in the future. So no, I will not get "used to" it.

    blah64 wrote: »
    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442906" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>John.B</strong> <a href="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442906"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/><p>Turning this off is as simple as turning off Bluetooth.</p>
    </div></div>

    Let's hope this is true (and I imagine it will be).

    But now I'm faced with the choice of being physically tracked or using a bluetooth keyboard. Hmm. The real hope is that bluetooth can be enabled without enabling "beacon" functionality.

    Yes, most people are being tracked by their cell phone providers (and frankly the only way around that is to only use your mobile device anonymously, which is extremely difficult), but they cannot provide you service without a physical location. However, the problems are two-fold. First, they should not be allowed to keep that data and aggregate it over time to create paths, tendencies, etc. Second, they should not be allowed to sell it, period. Remember, they readily acknowledge they sell that data to federal government agencies.

    There's no choice with cell providers, but there are very few of them and it's at least theoretically possible to legally regulate what they do with that data. But when you allow retailers (and pretty much anyone in the world, at that point, good actors and bad actors) the ability to track you around in real-time, that's Really Bad. Because your location can be tracked with such fine detail, retailers will be able to marry your "beacon ID" with your "real person ID" as soon as you make a purchase. Anywhere, just once! Then when all that data gets aggregated and disaggregated by marketing firms, just like cookies do now on your browser, it will allow all kinds of Bad Actors across the world track your location in real time down to exactly where you're standing. Once you've been "tagged", just one time, there will be no way to ever opt out of their tracking without disabling your bluetooth.

    Why does anyone think this is a good idea, or are people just not thinking it through?

    See This post:
  • Reply 13 of 29
    blah64 wrote: »
    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442857" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pmz</strong> <a href="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442857"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/>This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.</div></div>

    Why would I want to "be used to" having my physical location tracked, especially down to the meter (or less).

    The problem with <i>all</i> of this location stuff is that people are being trained to be sheep. To have themselves tracked and tagged 24/7, watching where they go and what they do. Correlating with purchases, what you watch on TV, where you work, what you do with your free time, the list goes on forever. That's not only dangerous (for some people), but demeaning and dehumanizing.

    The technology is so very, very cool, and has the potential to do really neat and flashy stuff. But I wish people would step back and see the large view that being part of this Borg mindshare, being tracked and analyzed at every moment of your life is Bad, no matter who is doing it.

    I mostly definitely trust Apple's motivations above Google's, for the obvious reasons (almost) everyone here understands. But the big, big picture is one of people giving up data about themselves in ways that they cannot possibly understand, and cannot possibly understand how it will be used in the future. So no, I will not get "used to" it.

    blah64 wrote: »
    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442906" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>John.B</strong> <a href="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2442906"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/><p>Turning this off is as simple as turning off Bluetooth.</p>
    </div></div>

    Let's hope this is true (and I imagine it will be).

    But now I'm faced with the choice of being physically tracked or using a bluetooth keyboard. Hmm. The real hope is that bluetooth can be enabled without enabling "beacon" functionality.

    Yes, most people are being tracked by their cell phone providers (and frankly the only way around that is to only use your mobile device anonymously, which is extremely difficult), but they cannot provide you service without a physical location. However, the problems are two-fold. First, they should not be allowed to keep that data and aggregate it over time to create paths, tendencies, etc. Second, they should not be allowed to sell it, period. Remember, they readily acknowledge they sell that data to federal government agencies.

    There's no choice with cell providers, but there are very few of them and it's at least theoretically possible to legally regulate what they do with that data. But when you allow retailers (and pretty much anyone in the world, at that point, good actors and bad actors) the ability to track you around in real-time, that's Really Bad. Because your location can be tracked with such fine detail, retailers will be able to marry your "beacon ID" with your "real person ID" as soon as you make a purchase. Anywhere, just once! Then when all that data gets aggregated and disaggregated by marketing firms, just like cookies do now on your browser, it will allow all kinds of Bad Actors across the world track your location in real time down to exactly where you're standing. Once you've been "tagged", just one time, there will be no way to ever opt out of their tracking without disabling your bluetooth.

    Why does anyone think this is a good idea, or are people just not thinking it through?

    sflocal wrote: »
    blah64 wrote: »
     
    pmz wrote: »
    This iBeacon tech has to be picked up and cannot be allowed to fade into niche markets. This needs to go mainstream, and stay mainstream. It has so much unlimited potential, and is something that all iOS users should eventually be used to.



    Why would I want to "be used to" having my physical location tracked, especially down to the meter (or less).


    The problem with all of this location stuff is that people are being trained to be sheep. To have themselves tracked and tagged 24/7, watching where they go and what they do. Correlating with purchases, what you watch on TV, where you work, what you do with your free time, the list goes on forever. That's not only dangerous (for some people), but demeaning and dehumanizing.


    The technology is so very, very cool, and has the potential to do really neat and flashy stuff. But I wish people would step back and see the large view that being part of this Borg mindshare, being tracked and analyzed at every moment of your life is Bad, no matter who is doing it.


    I mostly definitely trust Apple's motivations above Google's, for the obvious reasons (almost) everyone here understands. But the big, big picture is one of people giving up data about themselves in ways that they cannot possibly understand, and cannot possibly understand how it will be used in the future. So no, I will not get "used to" it.


    Your tinfoil hat mentality is the result of watching too many Borg episodes of Start Trek.  Might want to lighten-up on it.


    You don't want to be tracked?  Turn it off.  Better yet, disable internet on your phone.  Wait, phones use cell towers... better not use cell phones either.  Your problem is you love using technology, but hate it at the same time.


    Last night I did a Starbucks run in downtown SF, and it simply saddened me that the place was full of patrons, and every single person was looking straight down on their phones, with zero interaction to the people around them.  No one was talking.  It was sad.  I left my phone in my pocket to simply watch everyone and soak in my surroundings.  I did not like this part of tech.  iBeacon I can handle.  

     

    Like this:

    [VIDEO]


    Your San Francisco story reminds me of the first time I took my wife to San Francisco (circa 1966)... we met a friend for breakfast at the Buena Vista. It was a room with a bar, and the rest were large tables like picnic tables -- that could seat 10-12 people. The 3 of us sat at a table that was occupied by 2 other small groups... The Ramos Fizzes flowed, the breakfasts were served, and we got to talking, joking, laughing with complete strangers across 3-4 tables...

    An amazing experience.

    Later, in 1973, my parents took us to Europe... We stayed 4 days in Paris at the best hotel (then the Intercontinental, now the Westin) on the Rue de Rivoli. We were eating at the best (expensive) restaurants with private tour guides. My wife, Lucy and I, had bought the book "Europe on $5 per day". As a lark, we convinced my parents to try a restaurant the locals frequented -- we ended up at a little restaurant by the Bourse (French Stock Exchange) for lunch... Same scenario as the Buena Vista -- except it was wine flowing and nobody spoke English...

    That experience was a major highlight of a 27-day trip through Europe: UK, France, Rhine Cruise, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

    Sadly, smart phones have taken the personal out of "inter-personal interaction".
  • Reply 14 of 29
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    Turning Bluetooth off is unnecessary.



    Consider this scenario for apple iBeacons in Target stores.





    With Apple's implementation of iBeacons:



    an iBeacon is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device that broadcasts:

    1. an algorithmically-generated unique ID for each enterprise -- say, 12345 for Target, 40978, for BestBuy...

    2. a Major ID assigned by the enterprise, say, store number 101

    3. a Minor ID assigned by the enterprise or store -- say, 3022 for Uggs Boots in Ladies Shoes


    The concept is that the user can run an app on his iDevice that can listen for iBeacons

    • in any Target store -- UUID 1234

    • in a specific Target Store -- UUID 1234, Major ID 101

    • in a specific Target Store Department/Brand -- UUID 1234, Major ID 101, Minor ID 3022



    Basicly, That's it! The user's iDevice is listening only, for specific iBeacons -- it is not broadcasting anything. It cannot be detected, located or tracked through iBeacons.





    Here are the steps:

    1. Target develops an app that listens for its unique Target iBeacons

    2. The Target app is submitted to Apple's App Store

    3. The Target app is rigorously tested to assure that it meets Apple Privacy and Security standards

    4. You download the Target App from the Apple App Store

    5. You decide that you are going to shop at Target and want to be alerted to Target specials

    6. You launch The Target app on your iDevice

    7. The Target app on your iDevice listens for Target iBeacons

    8. When your iDevice comes within range of a Target iBeacon the Target app based on your preferences can:

      • do nothing

      • notify you, from within the Target App on your iDevice that you are in range of Target iBeacon, say "ladies shoes"

      • display content from within the Target App on your iDevice -- e.g. a special on Uggs Boots


    9. You can decide to take come action:

      • do nothing

      • visit the Target website for more information

      • accept a PassBook coupon generated within the Target App or from the Target web site

      • select the item for purchase within the Target app


    10. when you decide you are through, you can:

      • do nothing

      • purchase the item using WiFi (online or in-store)

      • purchase the item using traditional methods (cash, check, credit card)




    It deserves repeating:



    Basicly, That's it! The user's iDevice is listening only, for specific iBeacons -- it is not broadcasting anything. It cannot be detected, located or tracked through iBeacons.

     

    Thanks for this post (minus the too-long quote, which I'm doing as well ;-) ), it's informative. Some of what I'd previously read may have been in error.

    I continue to have concerns about how this tech may (probably will) be used in the future, but what you've posted here seems reasonable.

    This works for Apple because their primary goal is selling great, useful products to their users, not gathering their users' personal data for profiling purposes.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Your tinfoil hat mentality is the result of watching too many Borg episodes of Start Trek.  Might want to lighten-up on it.



    I think we should coin a new "law", like "Godwin's Law", whereby any conversation about privacy will eventually have someone make rude "tinfoil hat" comments. Let's call it the Tinfoil Law. Because god forbid there's any truth to the FACT that this kind of tracking and profiling takes place every single day on millions of peoples' phones (and traditional computers as well).

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

    You don't want to be tracked?  Turn it off.  Better yet, disable internet on your phone.  Wait, phones use cell towers... better not use cell phones either.  Your problem is you love using technology, but hate it at the same time.



    You must be confusing me with another Blah64, there are so many of us with that name. I do generally "turn it off", and I'm not sure why you think I love using technology (I'm ambivalent), nor why you think I even own an internet-connected phone. False accusations abound. And I guess you missed my comment above about cell phone tracking by carriers.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

    Last night I did a Starbucks run in downtown SF, and it simply saddened me that the place was full of patrons, and every single person was looking straight down on their phones, with zero interaction to the people around them.  No one was talking.  It was sad.  I left my phone in my pocket to simply watch everyone and soak in my surroundings.  I did not like this part of tech.  iBeacon I can handle.



    But there is certainly room for commonality. I work in coffee shops fairly often and I see this all the time. People sitting "together" at tables, just tapping away at their own phones, ignoring each other for several minutes at a time, jumping like a slave of their devices every time someone texts them. It's depressing, and I do not engage in this at all.

    The sad thing is, Dick's video above is no longer a parody, but reality.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    blah64 wrote: »
    Thanks for this post (minus the too-long quote, which I'm doing as well ;-) ), it's informative. Some of what I'd previously read may have been in error.

    I continue to have concerns about how this tech may (probably <i>will</i>) be used in the future, but what you've posted here seems reasonable.

    This works for Apple because their primary goal is selling great, useful products to their users, not gathering their users' personal data for profiling purposes.


    You are correct to be somewhat concerned.

    Apple's iBeacons is a specific Apple implementation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It is as I described in my prior post, and I've included the Apple's specification of it's iBeacon API (below).


    However, there is more! The Apple iBeacon is a specific implementation of a lower-level API called CoreBluetooth.

    An app can implement both iBeacons and CoreBluetooth constructs.

    Conceivably, an app running on an iDevice could:
    1. listen for iBeacons
    2. act as an iBeacon
    3. perform lower-level CoreBluetooth functions
    4. any or all of the above

    1) No security/privacy exposure as described in my prior post

    2) Now, your iDevice is broadcasting UUID, Major and minor plus signal strength. A CoreBluetooth app running on another device or computer can listen for any UUIDS, detect your iDevice, locate it, and track it (based on signal strength).

    3) At this level devices can broadcast/advertise services, connect to other CoreBluetooth devices read/write values, and exchange data (encrypted, or not). No privacy/security is provided by the API. Technically, this last is a significant exposure. Practically, not so much:
    • When you connect to another device, the two of you are locked together (like pairing) and both of you are unavailable to other CoreBluetooth devices.
    • You can exchange data in packets of 29 bytes... whoa!
    • This type of operation drains the battery of both devices.

    The main use of this level of beacon (not iBeacon) activity is where the beacon can provide some service such as temperature, step count, etc. Periodically another device would connect to the beacon to read (log) or write (reset, calibrate) the beacons services.


    So yes, there is potential exposure with apps making your iDevice act as a: 2) iBeacon;   or 3)  lower-level CoreBluetooth device.

    Enter, Apple's curated App Store -- which is designed to prevent any security/privacy issues not specifically known and approved by the user.

    I have no idea how/what/if other OSes address these issues.



    Here is the Apple's specification of it's iBeacon API:
    Monitoring Beacon Regions

    Beacon region monitoring uses the device’s onboard radio to detect when a user is in the vicinity of Bluetooth low energy devices that are advertising the appropriate identifying information. As with geographical region monitoring, you can use this capability to generate alerts or to provide other relevant information when the user enters or exits a beacon region. Rather than being identified by fixed geographical coordinates, however, beacon regions are identified by Bluetooth low energy beacons that are advertising a combination of the following values:

    • A proximity UUID (universally unique identifier), which is a 128-bit value that uniquely identifies one or more beacons as being of a certain type or from a certain organization
    • A major value, which is a 16-bit unsigned integer that is used to differentiate beacons that have the same proximity UUID
    • A minor value, which is a 16-bit unsigned integer that is used to differentiate beacons that have the same proximity UUID and major value

    Because a single beacon region can contain multiple beacons, beacon region monitoring is suitable for several interesting use cases. For example, an app dedicated to enhancing the experience of customers at a particular department store can use the same proximity UUID to monitor all of the stores in the department store chain, each of which is differentiated by a different major value. When the user approaches the entrance of one of the company’s locations, the app can notify the user appropriately. In addition, the app can use different minor values to distinguish different departments within the same store, providing even more location-relevant information to the user. Although every beacon must advertise a proximity UUID, major and minor values are optional.
  • Reply 17 of 29

    iBeacons / BLE beacons can't "deliver" any content other than their own IDs. Users will have to download apps and content through other networks in order to make use of the iBeacons. The publishers offering magazines will not be able to deliver their magazines through iBeacons.

     

    I agree that this is a failing, or at least it limits the applications to those that do not actually derive human-readable content from the local transmission. The "close-location messaging system" proposed in this thread is an alternative that should be developed and is being developed by some, mostly in open-source projects.

     

    It is often confused with Internet cafe, "amenity Wi-Fi", captive portals etc. rather than a direct, location-based, content delivery medium that does not need to sell, give away or even have any Internet access at all.

     

    It can be hard to get supposedly tech savvy people to understand that Wi-Fi is wireless Ethernet and not necessarily wireless Internet. Wi-Fi local servers can broadcast web content, advertising and web apps directly from internal storage. As Shatner observed, there are many applications for it. But there is no rush of manufacturers and developers at that door.

     

    That is not to say that BLE beacons will flop. I think PayPal's beacons will be successful because they are tied into the retailer's payment system.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    yang shen wrote: »
    iBeacons / BLE beacons can't "deliver" any content other than their own IDs. Users will have to download apps and content through other networks in order to make use of the iBeacons. The publishers offering magazines will not be able to deliver their magazines through iBeacons.

    Actually, BLE beacons (not iBeacons) using CoreBluetooth (upon which Apple iBeacons protocol is built) can deliver deliver content.

    If you have 2 iOs 6 devices you can download the "BTLE Central Peripheral Transfer" app at:

    https://developer.apple.com/LIBRARY/IOS/samplecode/BTLE_Transfer/Introduction/Intro.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/DTS40012927-Intro-DontLinkElementID_2


    I agree that this is a failing, or at least it limits the applications to those that do not actually derive human-readable content from the local transmission. The "close-location messaging system" proposed in this thread is an alternative that should be developed and is being developed by some, mostly in open-source projects.

    BLE is not the best vehicle for "close-location messaging system". WiFi offers better performance and less battery drain. Ideally, an iDevice would use the:
    • the app on the iDevice to listen/detect items of interest (listen for iBeacons)
    • the app on the iDevice to present content about the item from within the app (not sent from the iBeacon)
    • the app on the iDevice to, optionally, present additional content about the item from the store's web site via WiFi
    • the app on the iDevice to initiate/consumate checkout with an iPad or iMac register via WiFi.

    I believe that the technology Apple got with the acquisition of WiFiSlam will fulfill "close-location messaging system" requirement that you described -- and, along with iBeacons, will complete the in-store shopping/buying activity.

    It is often confused with Internet cafe, "amenity Wi-Fi", captive portals etc. rather than a direct, location-based, content delivery medium that does not need to sell, give away or even have any Internet access at all.

    It can be hard to get supposedly tech savvy people to understand that Wi-Fi is wireless Ethernet and not necessarily wireless Internet. Wi-Fi local servers can broadcast web content, advertising and web apps directly from internal storage. As Shatner observed, there are many applications for it. But there is no rush of manufacturers and developers at that door.

    That is not to say that BLE beacons will flop. I think PayPal's beacons will be successful because they are tied into the retailer's payment system.

    As I understand the PayPal beacon, it uses the more granular, lower-level CoreBluetooth to act as an intermediary between your iPhone and a smart POST checkout terminal. If any amount of data is exchanged, this is an inferior solution to WiFi -- slower, less-secure, battery-draining, monopolizes both devices.

    For example, WiFi 802.11n is 300 times faster than BLE.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    blah64blah64 Posts: 928member
    This is a great conversation.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Yang Shen View Post

    iBeacons / BLE beacons can't "deliver" any content other than their own IDs.



    Even if this were the case (and yes, I see Dick's follow-up post, digesting), merely sending a UUID could be considered problematic from a privacy standpoint. And yes, I do often come back to that standpoint, because for many people around the world it's not just "in theory", but a matter of real-world safety. Personal data is for sale by data brokers, and they don't give a rip about who wants it, just pony up the $19.99 (or much more, depending what you want) to get your fix.

    In any case, if devices were enabled to respond with a UUID without a master "kill switch" to disable them, a UUID can trivially be attached to a real-world ID at any checkout counter where any kind of electronic payment occurs. At that point your UUID is attached to your person by the retailer, and we all know that data gets shipped out to companies like Acxiom (bad, bad company).

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/09/data-broker-acxiom-launches-transparency-tool-consumers-lack-control

    At the point that your UUID is attached to your real-world ID, unless there is a "master kill switch", everything you purchase, everywhere you go (depending how widespread the beacons become), becomes trackable. The location is implicit based on the business beacons and the UUID is all you need to be transmitted.

    The devil is in the details, of course, and Apple can choose to make a default implementation work sanely. But look how many of the Android apps work. They ask for permission to access all kinds of stuff, and if you say No to any of it, then your app just doesn't launch. Imagine if Facebook decided they really wanted to get a foothold in this, they could make their app require iBeacons, then tap into that steady stream of data (not that they don't have enough of their own!), but you get the drift, right? Insurance companies are already using this data, and it's only going to get worse:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/06/15/data-mining-ceo-says-he-pays-for-burgers-in-cash-to-avoid-junk-food-purchases-being-tracked/

    Note that if he's using any kind of iBeacon-enabled apps that would transmit his UUID (without requiring his explicit permission each time), even paying cash doesn't necessarily keep you safe from tracking/profiling.

    It's far from clear how this will all play out, but there are definitely concerns.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    blah64 wrote: »
    This is a great conversation.

    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2443176" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Yang Shen</strong> <a href="/t/161035/startup-pushes-newsstand-publication-samples-to-ios-devices-through-apples-ibeacons#post_2443176"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/><p>iBeacons / BLE beacons can't "deliver" any content other than their own IDs. </p></div></div>

    Even if this were the case (and yes, I see Dick's follow-up post, digesting), merely sending a UUID could be considered problematic from a privacy standpoint. And yes, I do often come back to that standpoint, because for many people around the world it's not just "in theory", but a matter of real-world safety. Personal data is for sale by data brokers, and they don't give a rip about who wants it, just pony up the $19.99 (or much more, depending what you want) to get your fix.

    Ehhh... No! UUIDs do not necessarily identify you -- they can just differentiate you. Say, Target has acquired and assigned UUID of 1234 to all its in-store iBeacons. Target's shopping app on your iDevice listens only for iBeacons with a UUID of 1234.

    At the same time Target management could say: "Hey, when someone visits our store, we'd like to track him (with his permission). " One way to do this is for Target to acquire another UUID, say "dd1fe1a0-5d39-11e3-949a-0800200c9a66". We'll call this the Target Visiter UUID. Target includes this UUID in the Target App on your iDevice. When you opt to let your iDevice broadcast -- it uses this, second, Target Visiter UUID. to broadcast with randomly-generated Major and Minor IDs. What this does is differentiate you from any other iDevices broadcasting and any Target Store iBeacons (UUID 1234).

    Now a Computer, iPad, or cash register POST, could listen for both UUIDs using CoreBluetooth. It would recognize you as a "Target Visitor iBeacon", and along with the 3 closest (to you) Target iBeacons, could approximate your location through trilateration.

    There is no way the above identifies you or your device -- it just differentiates you from everyone else -- as long as you're in this particular Target store.

    There is no magic in UUIDs other than they have a very high probability of being unique. They can easily be computer generated as needed.

    Here's the web site I used to generate the "Visitor" UUID, above.

    http://www.famkruithof.net/uuid/uuidgen


    Finally, you can use any UUID you want -- instead of:

    "dd1fe1a0-5d39-11e3-949a-0800200c9a66"

    use

    "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"


    In any case, if devices were enabled to respond with a UUID without a master "kill switch" to disable them, a UUID can trivially be attached to a real-world ID at any checkout counter where any kind of electronic payment occurs. At that point your UUID is attached to your person by the retailer, and we all know that data gets shipped out to companies like Acxiom (bad, bad company).

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/09/data-broker-acxiom-launches-transparency-tool-consumers-lack-control

    At the point that your UUID is attached to your real-world ID, unless there is a "master kill switch", everything you purchase, everywhere you go (depending how widespread the beacons become), becomes trackable. The location is implicit based on the business beacons and the UUID is all you need to be transmitted.

    As illustrated above, it's not your UUID, it's a Target "Visitor" UUID Assigned/generated to you when you enter a Target store. It says nothing about you or your iDevice.



    The devil is in the details, of course, and Apple can choose to make a default implementation work sanely. But look how many of the Android apps work. They ask for permission to access all kinds of stuff, and if you say No to any of it, then your app just doesn't launch. Imagine if Facebook decided they really wanted to get a foothold in this, they could make their app require iBeacons, then tap into that steady stream of data (not that they don't have enough of their own!), but you get the drift, right? Insurance companies are already using this data, and it's only going to get worse:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/06/15/data-mining-ceo-says-he-pays-for-burgers-in-cash-to-avoid-junk-food-purchases-being-tracked/

    Note that if he's using any kind of iBeacon-enabled apps that would transmit his UUID (without requiring his explicit permission each time), even paying cash doesn't necessarily keep you safe from tracking/profiling.

    It's far from clear how this will all play out, but there are definitely concerns.


    Again, I don't know/care about other OSes implementations -- I trust Apple based on 35+ years of experience dealing with them.
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