Apple's iBeacon tech to be used for fun in CES scavenger hunt

Using a mobile app and location-sensing technology, participants can collect badges and win prizes during the massive technology showcase.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Apple's iBeacon doing its location sensing. Roger Cheng/CNET

One of the world's biggest tech and gadget parties kicks off next week and organizers are looking to bring some extra fun to the shindig -- a scavenger hunt using Apple's iBeacon location-sensing technology.

The idea of the scavenger hunt is to get attendees to explore the event. The way the contest works is attendees download the CES mobile app onto their iOS or Android devices and then work to find iBeacon badges throughout the conference center. The first three players to collect all of the badges will get a prize. This will be one of the first commercial uses of iBeacon to include Android devices.

"This promotional scavenger hunt demonstrates our commitment to leveraging the latest in emerging technologies, making CES the most interactive and engaging technology event of the year," Consumer Electronics Association's senior vice president of communications and strategic relationships Jeff Joseph said in a statement. "This promotion is a fun and novel way to introduce attendees to iBeacon technology and encourage participants to visit important exhibits across the show floor."

For the scavenger hunt, CEA is partnering with Radius Networks, which developed the iBeacon hardware, and Texas Instruments, which created the low-energy Bluetooth technology used by iBeacon.

The way iBeacon works is it sends off short-range transmitters that notify mobile devices when they are within 100 feet of a beacon. This type of location sensing technology can be used for indoor navigation, automatic ticketing, and location-relevant promotions.

"This is one of the coolest proximity-aware apps we have worked on," Radius Networks CEO and cofounder Marc Wallace said. "This is also one of the first, tangible applications that leverages iBeacon technology. And it is a great example of how iBeacon technology is not just about advertising as it is about bringing new and innovative solutions to the marketplace."