By Jordan Joynt on Wed, 10/02/2013
Apple's location and proximity detection technology, iBeacon, will be playing a central role in MLB's soon-to-be-updated At The Ballpark app (free). The app will try to bring a new, interactive stadium experience, utilizing the iPhone's Bluetooth and iBeacon technologies for indoor mapping purposes.
While typical GPS services are great for travel, it isn't particularly effective while indoors. With iBeacon, micro-locations within stadiums will be created with a higher degree of accuracy.
"We've been looking at customizing the app based on where you are within the stadium, but GPS is notorious for not working indoors, especially when you are in a building made of steel," Marc Abramson, iOS developer for MLB, told Mashable. "Instead, we are incorporating Apple's new Bluetooth and iBeacon technologies for iOS 7 and couldn't be more excited about the potential."
MLB recently tested the app's functionality at Citi Field, to demonstrate how the New York Mets and other teams can implement the technology. As you approach a venue like Citi Field, the app tracks your location and gathers information about the stadium. Using Bluetooth sensors located throughout the stadium, data can be pulled from specific areas.
For instance, when you reach the ticket office, your ticket's barcode is pulled up along with a map of your seats. Tickets bought from a third-party ticketing office will appear in the app as well.
Any notable or historic section within each stadium will be referenced with statistics and/or videos. The Citi Field demo played a video for those passing by the Met's apple statue.
Retailers will also have a chance to offer up discounts and savings opportunities to those in the vicinity. Receiving a "virtual hole punch," fans may be able to see added coupons and merchandise for attending multiple games.
It's unclear what teams will be on-board for the service when its available, but the updated At The Ballpark app is projected to be released some time in 2014.