Managing Customer Privacy with iBeacon and the New iOS Swift Codes

Mar 31st, 2016

Managing Customer Privacy with iBeacon and the New iOS Swift Codes

As the iBeacon technology holds the world by sway with its ability to make accurate analysis of consumer behaviour, privacy remains a looming issue that has to be addressed. The BLE technology which is the underlying technology for iBeacon has streamlined interactions and increased business focus for retailers.

The iBeacon transmissions enable receiver to identify things they are near and estimate the distance. Thus, information cannot be collected without permission. It has simple protocols that perform direct instructions and are not tools for advertising, but for creating an efficient and personalized shopping experience.

Two-way iBeacon Communication with Swift Programming

iBeacon can transmit information to another beacon device within proximity of up to 20m. With simple Swift codes, by turning on the Bluetooth, simple messages can be transmitted to the receiver device.

A UIViewController coding enables creation of the Beacon, which is broadcasted by UUID and major and minor numbers and CoreBluetooth and CoreLocation libraries. With the IBAction function, the transmit button is hooked up. The viewController handles the iBeacon’s detection and the customer can than decide whether to view the beacon message.

The Beacon must be started once the region is entered, for this, the didStartMonitoringForRegion and didEnterRegion methods are applied. Once the ad is displayed, if the customer finds it to be irrelevant, they can delete it and unsubscribe from further notifications. Thus, the customer maintains control over what ad is displayed and whether to send status updates or not.

Beacon Security

Beacons are extremely low energy and can only transmit a series of numbers, and no tracking information, content or advertisements can be pushed. Warning messages are built-in all apps that use beacon technology. So, without user consent, the location will not be shared.

With the new Swift codes on iPhone devices, the Bluetooth MAC address of the iPhone does not get exposed to iBeacon identifier information. Thus, without compromising on the listening device’s privacy, the beacon can push advertisements. Also, for protection from unauthorized beacon broadcasts, it becomes important not to change identifiers.

Some measures for protection against unauthorized access

  • Use credentials and passwords to make the discovery and connection with beacon difficult.
  • Use undetectable, complex passwords to avoid the beacon being deployed by unauthorized vendor
  • Use of an encrypted channel with secure simple pairing with a secure password
  • Using security notifications and regular firmware updates
  • Place the beacon in physically secure environment to prevent theft and tampering

Apple has brought a host of new device security features with the latest iOS 9 update and with Swift App Development; the code security is also enhanced. So, customers need not be apprehensive about security breach through iBeacon applications and enjoy its many benefits.

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