We’re inspired everyday by the work of the becosystem – the loose coalition of companies, individuals and hardware manufacturers who are pushing the boundaries of Bluetooth LE and iBeacon technology.
It can, frankly, be kind of hard to keep up. With the New Year barely a few days old we’ve already chatted with a dozen or so people doing some pretty amazing work, asking some profound questions, and generally challenging us to keep our eye on the horizon for where we’re headed for a connected/proximity-aware world.
So here’s just a taste of some of what we’ve been paying attention to…a kind of suggested reading list if you want to jump-start your creative thinking about beacons.
iBeacon and Retail: Best Fit Mobile White Paper
Best Fit Mobile, a leading integrated mobile solution and creative development shop, has published a crisp and inspiring white paper that rounds up ideas and background on how Bluetooth LE powered beacons will work for retailers.
The 12-pager is a great introduction for those who have no background on beacons and highlights some of its key advantages for retailers.
But it goes further and inspires some great thinking about use cases – not just as a way to prevent ‘showrooming’ but also as a way to support sales associates in a store, the idea of the ‘endless aisle’ and on-demand deals. It’s well-worth the download.
Enhancing the Customer Journey
Over at AppBoy, John Hyman outlines how iBeacon will change the way marketers engage with customers and outlines four key benefits.
I’m intrigued by his take on the future of mobile payments and the incorporation of Siri into the experience:
No need to swipe your phone or scan a QR code at a POS terminal. Use iBeacon functionality to maximize loyalty and grow sales through efficient checkout methods and engaging with customers while purchases are being completed. With services like Siri, users will also have the option for contactless payment solely requiring voice confirmation once relevant information has been set up.
iBeacon In the Grocery Aisle
There was a lot of news this week about inMarket launching iBeacons in Safeway and other grocery chains. To be honest, the press seemed overblown to me – and if the app shots on their website are an indication of how compelling the user experience will be you can count the consumer side of me out.
But I turned to Bloomberg BusinessWeek for a more thorough review of its meaning.
(On a side note, am I the only one who’s been impressed by their thorough and well-researched approach to technology? Bloomberg seems to really get it right, and while I appreciate channels like Forbes giving it coverage, they tend to write, um, spectacular headlines that don’t always match their articles).
In their review, BusinessWeek made note that experience counts, mentioning Apple’s problems with the user experience in their stores (something about which we wrote at length). They conclude that:
While consumers consistently voice concerns about privacy, they’ve also proven to be transactional, and are generally willing to share personal information in exchange for something of value, such as the loyalty cards ubiquitous in supermarkets and drug stores. The technology is now in place for advertisers to begin striking these deals. Whether they can come up with a compelling offer has yet to be seen.
And that’s the ticket isn’t it? Because in a world of beacons it’s not the device that counts – it’s whether the consumer will ultimately care.
Thankfully there are smart people working on ideas, apps and sharing their thoughts and insights to help make that happen.