Like a Beacon in the Night

A Gator Booster walks into Pugh Hall and her phone beeps. She glances at the display and it shows upcoming events hosted by the Graham Center.

A student walks into the Academic Advising Center and sits down at an empty chair. The computer at the receptionist desk flashes a notice that the student has shown up for their appointment, and informs the appropriate advisor.

A delivery person gets lost in Turlington Hall. He pulls out his phone and it shows him a digital map of where he is and the quickest route to his destination.

This may sound like a distant future, but it is a reality that will be coming soon due to a technology called Bluetooth Beacons. Most people that have visited a Disney Park in the past few years have probably been exposed to the ‘MagicBand’ system and a Bluetooth Beacon is very similar. UFIT will be conducting a pilot project to begin deploying Bluetooth Beacons in Spring 2017 for content publishing in the Harn and Florida Museum of Natural History.

What are the potential uses?

Using Bluetooth Beacons, content publishers can produce location specific information that is displayed automatically on a client device. The Florida Museum of Natural History and the Harn will be using this technology to present digital content, including audio-visual information, on key exhibits this spring.

Another potential use is for location specific assistance and help. Beacon enabled applications, if enabled by the device owner, will be able to log a person into a specific location. Potential uses for this could be for appointment scheduling or check-ins, automated attendance for a course, way finding, location tracking for EMS, and others.

While this technology may prove to be a benefit to the campus, UFIT is aware that there may be privacy concerns regarding the deployment of Bluetooth Beacons and have asked for feedback from the Shared Infrastructure Advisory Committee. Please feel free to share your feedback and concerns with the CLAS SIAC liaison, Ken Sallot.