iBeacon and Geofence

It should be noted that in iOS 4 already present technology with which the application can determine that the user has entered or left a certain location. Core Location framework Supports the so-called Geofence (geofencing). At first glance it may seem that Geofences like iBeacon, but in fact these technologies have been created for different occasions and work in different ways. Therefore, developers are very important to decide which approach is best suited for a particular application.

When to use Geofences

Geofence using iOS location based services (GPS, Wi-Fi and cell tower data) to find out when the user enters or exits a geographic area. Each such region is described by a circle of given radius around a point with known coordinates, and usually they are used in the following cases:

  • Describes the region is not moving (eg, a fixed point on the Earth’s surface like towns, btw see chernobyl tour );
  • It has a sufficiently large radius (usually more than 100 m);
  • At the same time to detect a limited number of areas (usually not more than ten for each application);
  • Multiple areas are not enclosed spaces within buildings.

When to use iBeacons

In the case of iBeacon iOS-devices use only the module Bluetooth LE, which allows them to detect nearby radio beacons, as well as respond to changes in the distance to them. iBeacon recommended in the following cases:

  • The area will not necessarily be fixed, and their coordinates are subject to change;
  • Effective detection range is relatively small (usually less than 50 m);
  • Each area can identify with;
  • Later points may be other areas with similar properties;
  • Areas can be several and they are indoors.

iBeacon against NFC

Google is not in a hurry to add support for Bluetooth LE to Android, cozrev only to version 4.3, which was released this summer. In connection than manufacturers of smartphones on the platform had to create their own implementation, if necessary. Instead, Google is actively promoting NFC – the technology that lies at the heart function Android Beam, which appeared in late 2011 in Android 4.0.

NFC technology has been designed to read RFID-tags, with payment terminals Google Wallet, as well as transfer files in ad hoc between the two in the immediate vicinity of the devices with NFC-chips. Analysts blamed Apple for a long time, because she does not want to follow the example of Google, but the Cupertino company avoids this technology, and therefore the forecasts of analysts about the appearance of NFC in the iPhone 4/4S/5/5s proved wrong a little more than full.

Instead, the company has found an alternative and a more intelligent way to transfer data using BLE and AirDrop (AirDrop), each of which has a number of advantages over the NFC: they work much faster and at a greater range, and does not require the installation of additional chips, as and Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi installed in almost every smartphone or tablet.

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