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According to a report on Thursday, Major League Baseball will start rolling out thousands of iBeacons in 20 ballparks across the U.S. next week, the goal being system readiness by opening day in March.
Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, MacRumors reports 20 parks will be rigged with about 100 iBeacons each when opening day rolls around on Mar. 31. Among the first teams to get the microlocation technology are Boston, LA Dodgers, Milwaukee, San Diego and San Francisco.
Using iBeacons built by Qualcomm, the rollout will be one of the largest to date, not including Apple's own deployment in its over 250 U.S. retail stores.
For now, it is unclear what functionality the MLB iBeacons will carry as each ballpark is largely responsible for what features it would like to implement. The MLB provides a team-configurable iOS app that will likely be used in tandem with the iBeacon rollout.
With the MLB.com At the Ballpark iOS app, users are able to check-in for rewards, carry tickets and pull up maps. With iBeacon, the app's functionality could be augmented to include granular location data, automatic ticket-taking and other advanced features.
Apple's iBeacon technology uses the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol to offer two-way wireless communication at varying distances. For example, in a store setting the system can dole out coupons or special deals to end users, while simultaneously gathering customer traffic information.