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Added 30 January, 2014

Hyper-local beacons are now beaming ads to mobile devices

A new technology is being installed in stores, streets and stadiums all around the world. Designed to locate mobile devices within a few feet, these beacons beam local information and advertisements that are relevant to your exact place in the world at this moment. The beacon technology is getting a high-profile launch in New York City this week at the pre-game Super Bowl festivities on Manhattan's Broadway. While Google Maps can easily help you find an address, beacons can help you find the location of a pair of pants in a store at that address. This personalized advertising and mapping will also be used at the game's MetLife Stadium via the N.F.L. Mobile app, where users can find the right gates, seats and souvenir shops. The brand new technology works with tiny wireless transmitters that are places in strategic locations. Beacons are being installed in hundreds of stores and public locations in the next few months, and will include Major League Baseball stadiums and major chain stores, including Apple Store locations. When users install new apps, they will be asked for permission to connect with beacons, and pop-up adds will appear when the mobile device is near a marketing opportunity. Enthusiasts see this as a terrific way to reach people in the right place at the right time. But privacy advocates are concerned with this super geo-location that potentially reveals more than the mobile owner would like. Either way, it's coming to a phone near you.
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