iBeacon is the latest technology from Apple, launching within iOS 8 it uses Bluetooth to send push notifications to nearby devices. Now, this doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it actually has a lot of potential to change how we advertise via mobile devices.
Unlike Near Field Communication (NFC), iBeacon has more proximity coverage, is more affordable, and requires less power. Called a beacon as it continually transmits and receives a signal, it will allow advertisers to constantly target their consumers with personalized and relevant messaging. In addition, with iOS 8, Apple is building on iBeacon by allowing what looks to be unobtrusive push notifications to show up on an iPhone or iPad’s lock screen.
A good way to describe what iBeacon could offer is by referring back to popular culture and borrowing a great analogy from imediaconnection. If you have ever seen Minority Report, the film where John Anderton (Tom Cruise) takes a trip to GAP, virtual billboards call out his name and bombard him with offers as he walks through the mall, retinal scanners flash left and right, an AI hologram offers up his own personal greeting – “Welcome Back to the Gap! How’d those assorted tank tops work out for you?” It’s not quite 2054, and we haven’t quite perfected PreCrime, but ad tech is taking some big steps in the Minority Report direction.
One of the first ways apple has used to technology has been via their Apple Store application, which offers iBeacon notifications when a user enters an Apple store. These notifications can contain anything, from coupons to product information, or even be part of a wider customer experience. By knowing the micro location of customers, businesses now have the option to offer customers relevant, valuable, and timely interactions in a shop, museum, and airport or wherever that business is located.
But how will this really impact consumers and businesses? Well, it could be enormous for consumers in that people will have access to information, deals, videos, and electronic coupons that are relevant to their specific interests, all in real time. No more coupons from retailers that don’t apply to their needs. Businesses and retailers will be impacted by the fact that they will now have a direct line to their customers, drawing them to their location, as well as enticing them to buy additional items while still in the store.
However, most importantly iBeacon will allow businesses to attach digital content to everything in the physical store. This means that in the future, with the possibility of increasing iBeacon touchpoints and honing the consumer experience, the uses for this technology could be endless.