iBeacons Debut in NBA Arena

Published on April 1, 2014

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By: Jordan Manser, Marketing Intern

iBeacons, introduced in July as part of Apple’s iOS 7, generated immediate buzz among developers and have been picking up steam ever since. iBeacons are small, low-power wireless,  location awareness  sensors that transmit data over short distances to iPhones via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). In previous blog posts we mentioned iBeacon’s use in retail applications, but retailers are no longer the only ones developing iBeacon implementations. Apple Insider recently published an article titled, “Apple’s iBeacon Used to Push Seat Upgrades in Nosebleeds at Sporting Events”. The article reports on the Golden State Warriors’ use of iBeacons to offer ticket upgrades to fans.

According to the article, the Oracle Arena in Oakland California, home to the Golden State Warriors, is now equipped with several dozen 2x2 inch Sonic Notify Sensors. Using BLE, these sensors offer ticket upgrades to fans who are on their way to seats at the top of the stadium. Once fans step off the escalators, sensors use BLE to communicate with iPhones that have the team’s app installed. This implementation makes the Warriors the first team in the NBA to use iBeacon technology; although the NFL and MLB have been experimenting with iBeacons for some time now. Last season, professional baseball teams used BLE to sell seat upgrades to fans, and 20 parks are set to implement the technology in the 2014 season.  The NFL also tested out iBeacons by sending personalized ads to fans during the 2013 Super Bowl.

Businessweek also wrote on this topic. According to the article, Sonic Notify estimates that less than 30 percent of Warrior fans who have phones with BLE keep it turned on regularly. However, as the technology continues to gain momentum it is expected that more users will enable it on their smart phones. The article also references a Forrester Research Study which reports that only about 30 percent of smartphones in the U.S. have BLE at all, but about 80 percent of phones will have it within the next 18 months as people upgrade their devices.

Retailers and sports organizations are just among the first to implement iBeacons.  The next few years will see an increase in innovative uses of the technology. For Laird iBeacon specific information, watch our iBeacon demo or visit the BL600 product page for application notes, Laird’s iBeacon smartBASIC application, and links to all detailed technical documentation on the BL600 series.