Beacons, Digital Displays Will Boost IoT

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Bluetooth-enabled beacons and public digital signage are two technologies that will enable Internet-of-Things communication and integration in industrial, enterprise and retail spaces, according to IoT company Zebra Technologies.

Zebra Technologies Senior Vice President Philip Gerskovich highlighted the two technologies in a recent summit on IoT in Cambridge, Mass.

"The latest smartphones have a version of Bluetooth that can receive signals from these things called beacons. Beacons are small, little battery-operated tags that can be placed anywhere in a retail or industrial environment," Gerskovich explained to CRNtv.

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Big vendors have already begun exploring beacon capabilities -- Apple has prototyped one version called iBeacon. Beacons can provide low-cost indoor locationing, which will serve a number of purposes beyond just improving customer experience in retail stores.

Public digital signage and displays are another way enterprises can communicate with employees and customers in realtime. With constantly updating digital displays, people don’t even need the investment of a mobile device.

As an example, "In a health-care environment you can give directions to your health-care workers about the state of the person on the gurney that just was wheeling by," Gerskovich said.