Posted on April 15, 2016 by staff

Manchester agency among Google Beacon companies


A Manchester digital agency is helping to make Google’s dream of developing smart cities a reality.

Sparta Digital is working with Google’s Beacon technology on app Buzzin which provides information about users’ location and gives them the opportunity to buy tickets for nearby transport and events.

The scheme is currently being trialled between Burnley and Manchester.Beacon uses transmitters and Bluetooth Low Energy to track location to within feet, but the tech – and similar research at Apple – seemed to fallen off the radar.

However an update to Eddystone, Google’s Bluetooth Beacon format, has added Ephemeral IDs which means data can be exchanged securely and privately.

That will chime well with users concerned at their devices constantly tracking their position.

Sparta marketing director Vijay Natarajan said: “The privacy and security of our customers is important to us.

“Through the use of a rotating Ephemeral Identifier, Eddystone-EID protects our users by preventing spoofing, malicious asset tracking, replay attacks, or just unpermitted access.

“With these new features from Eddystone, it opens the door for wider application within Smart city projects that we are currently working on.”

Joseph Hall, chief technologist of at the Center for Democracy & Technology, told Wired: “The threats that Google’s trying to protect against here is some sort of persistent correlation between your identity, or some location, or the fact that you’re communicating with this thing quite often.”

Sparta is one of 15 companies supporting EIDs from this week with more to follow.

Samsonite’s smart suitcases will help users track their luggage while NBA side the Washington Wizards are using the technology to offer rewards to fans at games.

BusinessCloud recently reported how Manchester is set to become one of the UK’s first smart transport cities via pilot scheme TravelSpirit.