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Travel Industry Testing Beacons

“Think about it as a very small lighthouse...”This description, used by beacon manufacturer Estimote, is a good way to sum up the technology – helpfully concise in a field where more specialised terms, such as “geo-fencing”, abound. More specifically, beacons are tiny transmitters, about the size of a coin, that use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) proximity-sensing to send a signal that can be picked up by a compatible app and operating system. The beacons transmit their signal over three ranges: immediate (within a few centimetres); near (a couple of metres); and far (up to 70 metres). A beacon can tell when a smart-device user with the relevant software has entered a region and, once that has been established, can send that device messages and prompts. Beacon technology is already being played with in the retail world.

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