Apple's iBeacon hits a home run with Major League Baseball while NFC strikes out
Major League Baseball is demonstrating how Apple's iBeacon technology can change the experience of going to a baseball game. The organization has outfitted Citi Field in New York (where the Mets play) with iBeacons that are designed to work with iOS 7 and MLB's At the Ballpark app, according to Mashable.
iBeacons - which work using Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) - help MLB to create "micro-locations within the stadiums" where At the Ballpark users get different information - pulling up your ticket barcode on the screen as you approach the gates, for example, and providing you with a map of where the tickets are located.
The same level of detail can't be provided using other services like GPS because GPS doesn't work well indoors, especially in large steel structures like baseball stadiums, according to the iOS developer for MLB. And because iBeacons can work up to 50 feet away, they're ideally suited for this sort of use, especially compared to Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which requires a proximity of only a few inches. NFC is better suited for payment stations and other situations where you need to be directly near the the device.
The big question is when we're going to see this at other parks beyond Citi Field. The article paints iBeacon's use at ballparks around the country in broad strokes, but the developer says only that "a lot of teams have expressed interest in it so far."
Are you a Major League Baseball fan? Does this make you excited about showing up for games next season? Or does iBeacon seem like a solution in search of a problem? Tell me what you think in the comments.