Apple's iBeacon currently being trialled at UK football stadia
British online gambling group Skybet, which is a UK football league sponsor, has introduced Apple's iBeacon technology at two Championship club stadia – Leeds United and Rotherham United, where football fans can now receive 'push' notifications in a trial program that could find its way to other football venues.
iBeacon is an indoor positioning system, a new class of low powered, low cost transmitters that sends messages to nearby iOS7 or Android devices like tablets and smartphones using BLE Bluetooth Low Energy technology.
In practical terms, punters can opt in to receive notifications of offers available or items around them which they may not have noticed; betting possibilities or advertisements, for example (the technology has been successfully used in the retail shopping industry).
Apple first announced the technology last year, and since then, they have been actively pushing the use of Bluetooth, even turning it on by default for all iOS updates.
In the stadium trials, punters at a match who have their tablets or smartphones with them can receive notifications from Skybet, such as a welcome message which could then take the user to the football betting page inside the Sky Bet app when swiped.
"This is a really exciting opportunity to use our unique title sponsorship with the Football League and its clubs to improve the fan experience at football grounds across the country," said Andrew Walton, Skybet's head of core products.
"The feedback from both clubs has been encouraging and, although this technology is still very new, the potential is enormous. Our customers could soon be receiving tailored messages and offers at every Sky Bet Football League game, allowing them to benefit even further from our sponsorship."
A Leeds United spokesman said: "The iBeacon technology was tested at Elland Road during our game with Sheffield Wednesday. For any of our fans wishing to bet on the game it helps them find the best place for special offers and promotions from our betting partner."
Skybet has confirmed that it hopes to deploy iBeacon at other football grounds, and use it to transmit special offers and live odds to the betting fans.
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