From translating for micro-location and revolutionizing the way you shop, iBeacons will drive the next phase of innovation in retail!
Any brand, retailers, an app or a platform can easily make out about the whereabouts of a customer within the shopping mall premises with the help of an iBeacon network. Marketers and retailers get an opportunity to send highly contextual, hyper-local and meaningful messages in the form of advertisements and instant notifications to customers on their mobile devices.
According to a typical scenario, as soon as the customer walks into a store with his smartphone, the installed apps listen for iBeacons (in case of iPhones only). As the app listens for iBeacons they communicate relevant data in the form of UUID, Major, Minor, and Tx) to its server.
The server in return triggers an action.
This is as simple as push message (e.g. – If a customer enters Target Store, he receives the instant message, “Welcome to Target! Check out Doritos as Aisle 3!).
This often includes targeted advertisements, special offers, and helpful reminders like “You’re soon going to be out of milk, order now!”
What are Beacons?
Beacons are a digital extension to the physical world. Such mobile applications are often known as iBeacon apps, Eddystone apps or indoor navigation apps.
To understand this more clearly, these are simple mobile applications that support Beacon technology and is installed on a mobile operating system that supports one of the Beacon Standards.
How ibeacons came about?
iBeacon is one of Apple's technology standard that allows mobile apps to listen to beacon signals and react in the form of appropriate notifications. In reality, iBeacon technology enables mobile apps to deliver virtual (hyper-contextual) content to users (based on their locations e.g.
if, in a shopping mall, beacons give notifications like what all things they can purchase on the floor they are on)
In essence, iBeacon technology allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, and deliver hyper-contextual content to users based on location. iBeacon standard is supported by Apple smartphones with iOS 7 and above, smartphones on Android 4 and above make use of Eddystone standard.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the underlying principle behind iBeacons that is power efficient (low energy consumption), developed for the Internet of Things applications and devices. BLE is a wireless personal area network technology that is used for transmitting data over short distances.
How iBeacon works?
There is a need to have at least one beacon device, a mobile app (any third party app) and user's permission. Beacons are preferable than RFID (radio frequency identification) due to more personalized experience as it works after getting paired with a mobile app.
Users can still control and have an option to start or stop using it.
Beacons come in all shapes and sizes ranging from standard beacons (size of common Wi-Fi router or even smaller), small beacons (portable, size of credit cards), USB beacons (portable, quick to deploy), Parent beacons (Tracks other beacons) and Special beacons (resistant to exogenous factors like dust, water, UV, shattering and antistatic etc.)
Famous ibeacon Applications
Many stores have implemented beacons in their processes, few of them are:
- Major League Baseball
- CES scavenger hunt
- American Eagle Outfitters
- Lord & Taylor
- Target Stores
- American Eagle and Aerie
- Neiman Marcus
- Apple stores
- Oscar Mayer
- Tap-Lab – Tiny Tycoons (Game)
- Foursquare (Location data)
- Nintendo, and many more
Unexpected iBeacon Use Cases
Beacons help spread location awareness among users. Potential use cases of tying a unique id to a device can be helpful in various ways:
- Potential applications include mobile payments and shopper analytics, retail outlets, airports, theme parks, concert venues, etc.
- Identify passengers in the airport
- Notifications to take out the garbage
- Tracking the location of the movable equipment/trollies by affixing beacons to trollies, pallets, and carts
- Used to authorize access to cars, buildings, etc.
- Used as kiosks and monitors and help in navigating across
- To check ski conditions at the lift
- Smarter signages that help users in translating the message in their own language
Sure Thing: To Develop iBeacon Apps
Beacon technology has definitely brought a paradigm shift in the way various devices communicate amongst themselves.
Considering a few barriers in the successful adoption of beacons,
- Consumers have to make an effort to download the app, opt into location and notifications as well as turn on Bluetooth on to receive beacon-triggered notifications, which sounds troublesome sometimes and creates a barrier to happy adoption of beacons.
- Consumers tend to lose interest if they received more than one notification at one location (subject to trade privacy for accessing consumer’s proximity within store location)
Rest all set, iBeacons are now seen almost everywhere. App developers India
Additionally, with the likes of Facebook’s Oculus or the Nintendo Wii, iBeacons are soon going to make users experience real-like augmented reality. iBeacons are being used for entertainment, travel, automotives, retail stores, personal use, healthcare and many more industries.
This simple implementation is increasingly being adopted by businesses of all sizes which is directly proportional to increment return on investment (ROI).
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