Being dubbed as the new era of technology, iBeacons have the potential to revolutionise customer experience. The Apple-developed technology has the ability the send a message to a Bluetooth 4.0 Smart connected phone that is in close proximity to an iBeacon. This Bluetooth low energy device is relatively low cost and can self-run for up to 2 years depending on the signal strength settings. Unlike GPS, iBeacons have the ability to work seamlessly indoor- allowing marketing content to be sent inside facilities. Apple has made this technology public and so it is compatible with iPhone and android devices, meaning that businesses can develop integrate the technology in different and interesting ways. A number of providers have entered the market to provide iBeacon devices, these include our two favourites: Estimote and Gelo.
So how do they work?
If a consumer walks within x metres of an iBeacon, a personalised message could be sent to their device, this could include 10% off a hot drink or just a welcome message. iBeacons can give the mobile user an incentive to purchase a product or interact, as they could feel like they're getting a personalised bargain or augmented content.
Who's leading the trend?
With Business Insider predicting that iBeacons alone will trigger $44.4 billion sales in the USA in 2016, European brands are starting to dabble into the idea of the technology. The Groninger Museum has integrated iBeacons into their visitor experience by presenting information about artwork as the visitor approaches each piece. This gives visitors a more in-depth insight into the artwork that they are viewing.
Have they crossed the line?
iBeacons have the ability to send notifications without the user actively having the app open. They have the potential to be revolutionary, however with increasing awareness comes an increasing number of organisations using it and a risk of turning customers away by bombarding them with messages. Smart use will encourage usage, for instance some businesses have more than one iBeacon in store - this way they can track exactly where the potential customer is and can send them a more personalised message. This could include information on a product they are standing in front of. Importantly, iBeacon devices in themselves are incapable of storing data - they merely pass the information to the mobile.
iBeacons will transform the way brands communicate with consumers, opening a new chapter for mobile marketing. Here at Bigwave we have experimented with iBeacons and are excited to see what the next year will bring for this fast-growing technology? are you?
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