When it comes to the internet of things, there is much excitement surrounding the potential for automation and data collection that will make all of our lives easier. With the advent of bluetooth low energy (BLE), we are starting to see more and more applications for internet of things devices because now the devices can be produced at extremely low cost while also not having a large impact on cell phone battery life.
Of particular interest to me is iBeacon, a protocol developed by Apple that allows an application programmer to determine the distance from a BLE device. The protocol requires a device send a unique id and the device’s transmit power. On the other end, libraries have automated the process of determining the distance from the device and allow a developer to tell if the user is within four ranges of the device, the the closest being 10-20cm.
With this in mind, you can quickly think of some interesting applications that can improve user experience. For example, the Starbucks application could automatically send a notification when walking into a Starbucks so that the user could pay with his or her gift card easily without having to dig through pages of apps.
The act of sending a notification is a simple application of the proximity awareness that BLE and iBeacon can give us. As applications become more complex, we need to think of ways to ensure security of the action taken by considering attack vectors.