What’s all the hoo-haa behind Apple’s new tool for Location Based Marketing & Hyper Local marketing?
Since 2013 Apple has been quietly developing, patenting and spreading the iBeacon technology. And before you can say “Apple”, the tech giant will pretty much “iBeaconise” every major event, retail store and location! Already, tech bloggers are dubbing 2014 the “year of the iBeacon”. Others are claiming that the iBeacon will drop, kick, punch NFC (Near Field Communication) and leave it dead meat in its wake.
Scared of what monster Apple is planning to unleash on us?
Basically, iBeacon technology consists of different sensors or emitters called ‘beacons’ which are specifically placed in any location. They can detect when an iOS 7 or an Android device is in close proximity. Once they detect and process the device’s signals, they can help the customer with an iOs or Android device make payments without using their credit card or cash. But that’s not where it ends, iBeacon allows businesses to send customers personalized promotional offers or directions to products that they may want to buy. The best or worst part of it all (depending on which side of the debate you are on) it’s such a low cost technology that it can easily and massively deployed anywhere at all.
Apple has already launched iBeacon technology in all 254 of its retail stores across the United States. And now that it has gotten its patent approved, it plans to take over the world!
Where you’ll see iBeacon?
While the most obvious industry usage and deployment of iBeacon technology will be in the retail industry, there are many other industries where iBeacons are gaining popularity . Take for instance, the Automatic Smart Driving Assistant which is a small device with Bluetooth 4.0 that can be plugged into a car and because of it you can receive notifications on your iOs or Android about your fuel consumption, driving habits, as well as find parking spaces or emergency services in case of an accident.
You may even see iBeacons at major events like World Cups and Major League games. iBeacon technology is already being tested at the Super Bowl and in Time Square in Manhattan to help guests find their way to the right gates and to assist tourists in finding nearby attractions.
Coca-Cola, which is a major sponsor for the FIFA World Cup, is still considering whether it wants to deploy iBeacons at the event, which is planned to be held in Brazil in June.
Consumer Electronics Association (CES) in the US arranged a unique scavenger hunt at the international CES event which creatively made use of the iBeacon technology. With its special app developed for this purpose, attendees were able to collect special badges each time they came across an iBeacon that were hidden all over the CES event floor.
Is Europe iBeacon shy?
While adoption of iBeacon technology has been quick in America especially at Apple Stores, Macy’s, CES and Major League Baseball (MLB), it seems that Europe has been iBeacon-shy. However, Beaconic, a company that builds the hardware for Apple, plans to change that by offering really simple, affordable and easy to deploy retail kits to European businesses.
So what’s the problem?
Junk, Spam, Intrusion – iBeacon presents the exact same problems as many other location aware marketing apps and technologies. It’s also not compatible with Near Field Communication (NFC) or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies.
Will it gain mass appeal?
We’re predicting that the iBeacon technology, much like majority of other Apple products will find a way to squirm into the consumer’s hearts. First they’ll be major uproar, people will find it intrusive and “spammy” . But, a few months later, we’ll all be secretly addicted to the offers and notifications that come our ways thanks to the iBeacon!
So damn you, Apple!
The good thing is that the iBeacon will truly transform how local marketing campaigns and companies are viewed by the masses and will lead to greater acceptance of their ideas and technology.