IBeacon – Future & Application

Last December, on a Friday, Apple began its iBeacon promotion in 254 cities across the US. Developed in iOS7, iBeacons use Bluetooth LE. Bluethooth LE shines with much lower power consumption than “classic” Bluetooth. Ergo, cost efficiency. With a range of 30 meters, it still fulfills all the functions of wireless Bluetooth data transmission. iBeacons are a small piece of hardware with a lot of power!

Since the beginning of April, we are now developing the corporate identity / design for one of the innovation leaders in the segment. With iBeacons it becomes possible to merge stationary, non-digital worlds with the World Wide Web. Example: In the summer of 2015, two friends are on their way to downtown Cologne – shopping! They get off the subway, up into Schildergasse. The shop windows are colorfully filled, the sun is shining. The two friends take a closer look at a dress. PING! A message appears on their smartphone: “Only for you, only now: 20% OFF!!!”

iBeacon will make it possible to communicate digitally with customers at the POS (point of sale). In return, companies receive information about traffic, frequencies and conversion. Win-win!

But what possible applications can be found outside of classic retailing? In a first research I came across an interesting article by Ryan Fass CITEworld. Ryan talks about ten possibilities of iBeacon technology outside of classic retail. I have translated, summarized and expanded thoughts on his exciting approaches and possible uses once in a nutshell. Enjoy the first part:

1. museums and exhibitions

For museums, galleries, exhibits, exhibitions but also zoos iBeacons offer fantastic application possibilities. Information can be retrieved by the visitor selectively or transmitted automatically. The small beacons are simply installed on walls, boxes or tables. At the same time, hotspots and actions can be freely determined when passing the beacons. While wandering between corridors and paths, it only takes a pair of headphones to guide us auditorily. Likewise, a display is enough to get all the additional information. Information always given at the right time. And always, to the right person. Tablets or smartphones can also be used to follow discussions, link apps or get information from websites. Not as an afterthought, but during and automatically conveyed.

2. hospitals

Anyone who knows hospitals knows how confusing endless white corridors can be. Here is a real approach to help people. Time is often a scarce commodity, especially in hospitals, and it can make or break a lot of things. Whether visitors, patients or staff, an open map is available for everyone, within the building. Also with additional information for users.

But – and here’s the kicker – users in the system can be tracked quickly and easily. This means that doctors can be located and contacted depending on availability and location. Rooms, areas, entire floors and complexes can be individually networked. Simple, location-accurate navigation becomes possible with iBeacons.

3. events and conferences

At mega events, larger festivals and events, tickets are the be-all and end-all. Since the advent of apps, many event organizers have developed their own applications to offer their guests mobile services. If information is generally not very specific, organizers can use the small beacons to share information more specifically and precisely. In this way, users can find out specific details at certain locations in the system, but also exchange data just as easily.

4. restaurants, cafes and bars

Obviously! Obviously. “GET A FREE COFFEE NOW!”. Let’s look at an example: Starbucks. Nearly five million app downloads for Android operating systems alone. Well-placed iBeacons in downtown areas would remind each of these users to stop by again. Campaigns can be created individually. In this way, the length of stay can be determined. If a user is within the transmission range of the iBeacon for more than five seconds, he might be interested in the current offer. PING! “GET 50% NOW! Intelligently placed Beacons give companies with sufficient innovative drive great opportunities to (spontaneously) attract urban walk-in visitors.

Not only advertising for corporations, also small, local providers can buy a starter set and intelligently scatter information. However, companies with sufficient budget are at an advantage, their own app or platform is a prerequisite for push notification.

5. hotels and resorts

Just as in the example of hospitals or museums, iBeacons are excellent for tourism. Here, too, people find themselves in places they have usually never seen. By installing iBeacons in areas, sights or hotel complexes, selective data transmissions would also be possible here. Check-in, check-out, offers of all kinds: everything automated and individually for each location. Entire tour offers can be controlled in this way. Taxi, bus or local transport systems.

The original article (English version) by Ryan Faas (technology journalist and author) on CITEworld