In Facebook’s biggest hardware effort yet, the social media giant has been shipping out their newly developed beacon devices that communicate with your smart device via Bluetooth when nearby. Aimed at business promotion all a company needs to do is ask and currently they shall receive, for free.
The Idea behind the hockey puck sized devices not necessarily new as other tech companies have experimented with similar devices and ideas. When you are nearby one of these beacons, it injects information having to do with the business that it belongs to into the News feed section of the Facebook mobile app. This could be useful in many ways such as promoting a nearby business, revealing relevant news to a customer, or even reminding you to check in. Facebook say to expect “Fun, useful and relevant” information to come from the devices with an emphasis on being unobtrusive.
All information currently is one way with no plans to change and the do not collect information of any kind according to Facebook. It is also known that the feature to receive such info may be turned off on your device.
Facebook says currently they are not letting businesses advertise but that will most likely change in the future.
New York has been a testing ground for the device for the past few months with more than 100 businesses locally using them. iOS devices are currently the only devices supported, yet an Android version is in develop as we speak. The technology as a whole is being labeled as “Place Tips” by Facebook.
The beacon is reportedly powered by Apple’s preprietary “iBeacon” protocol that was revealed at WWDC in 2013. Apple has tested the technology in their own stores before. Bluetooth v4.2 is expected to eventually replace the iBeacon protocol at least in Facebooks hardware.