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Ford Testing Beacons for Dealers

 Ford Motor Co. is testing a new way that shoppers browsing on a dealership lot can learn about the vehicles they're looking at. Ford is demonstrating the technology, which it developed in conjunction with Cisco Systems, on an F-150 at the Detroit auto show. The truck has 11 asymmetrically shaped beacons on it, with each programmed to highlight one of its features. Bluetooth-capable "beacons" placed on the vehicles can automatically transmit information to be displayed on a shopper's smartphone. The consumer only needs to connect to the dealership's wireless network, and the information can be shown either through the phone's Web browser or via an app. Unlike some other methods of communicating with a shopper's phone, such as scannable QR codes on window stickers, the beacons can be configured to highlight specific features of the vehicle as the phone is moved near them.

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