If you have an iPhone or an iPad, the chances are you’ve got iBeacons already. Apple released the iBeacon software as part of iOS7 in September 2013, so it’s built into its devices and mobile operating system. Businesses can use iBeacon to launch products and services to their target audience by delivering specific messages to a smartphone or tablet.
How does it work?
iBeacon technology means businesses can discreetly set up a beacon transmitter with a small device placed on a counter or stuck to a wall. This then recognises when someone nearby has a smartphone enabled for iBeacons. Based on contactless technology, the iBeacon then uses a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal to transfer data between the two devices. The iBeacon has a range of up to 50 metres without a loss of precision and requires no extra business electricity consumption.
What can I use it for?
This new technology is great news for the retail business because it can simplify and speed up transactions.
Smartphone payments can be made using BLE. A smartphone or tablet doesn’t need to have a network connection of its own if the customer has installed the retailer’s app, but for those businesses who don’t have their own app, you will need Wi-Fi.
The system also lets you push content directly to the user’s device. You could send a targeted message to in-store shoppers, offering product suggestions or updates on special offers on goods they’re actually walking past!
iBeacons could also potentially be used in hotels, restaurants and coffee shops, letting customers make a reservation or pay. There is great potential for beacon technology to have a positive effect on the customer experience in multiple environments, be it airport terminals finding out departure details or finding out the latest in-store offers.
If you have any tips on how businesses can utilise beacon technology, please leave a comment below.