05 Dec Beacons, iBeacons and the Future of Indoor Location Services, Facilities Managements, Retail and Mobile Coupons – Cool and Creepy
Engage Mobile started working with beacon and iBeacon technology in late November and it has tremendous potential. It will definitely transform multiple industries from retail to facilities management.
If you have not heard of beacons, you will soon. With Apple’s roll out of the iOS 7 mobile operating system, Apple has set a standard that should allow for the broad adoption of beacon technology. According to Wikipedia, iBeacon is an indoor positioning system that Apple Inc. calls “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence”. iBeacons can also be used by the Android operating system. iBeacon in a single sentence is a technology that enables an iOS device or other hardware to send push notifications to iOS devices within close proximity.
Not to get too technical, but the beacon technology is a location-aware, context-aware, pervasive small wireless sensor beacon which can pinpoint your location in a store. From there, iBeacons could send you personal notifications of items around you that are on sale or items you may be looking for. It could even enable payments at the point of Sale (POS) such that you don’t need to remove your wallet or card to make a payment.
There are dozens of interesting scenarios such as:
- You walk by a coffee shop and you get a coupon for half off of your favorite cappuccino automatically
- You walk into a store (like the Macy’s example below) and you are notified about what is on sale
- Even Major League Baseball is getting into the game, recently announcing plans to leverage iBeacon technology next season to deliver content to fans in their stadiums.
The short video below shows how Macy’s plans to implement the technology in select stores.
All of this can be a little creepy. Retailers knowing where you are and what you want. It reminds me a bit of Minority Report where advertisers target ads to people based upon eye scans:
Engage Mobile is looking at developing several different applications using beacons and mobile devices. Our mobile strategy and mobile development teams are hard at work envisioning the future of this and other mobile technologies. It is a very exciting time.