iBeacon – Mobile Marketing with Real-time Messaging

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The dawn of the year 2014, bore witness to the announcement and release of a pioneering technology mobile marketing along with the iOS7 operating system that caught the attention of tech geeks around the world while invigorating the zest of retail marketers globally. This is surmised to be Apple’s response to the NFC. So what is the iBeacon?      According to Wikipedia, iBeacon is the trademark for an indoor proximity system that Apple Inc. calls “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence.” iBeacon is essentially a transmitter, the size of a coin or USB drive, using Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE) technology, precisely, via Proximity Sensing. It enables identification and payments, environmental sensing and indoor localization. Thus, in a real-world scenario, enterprises can set up transmitters which can tell nearby smartphones of their presence. Though it sounds trivial, combined with the right software, it opens various horizons.

As every iPhone and iPad can be used as an iBeacon, the number of devices that support this technology skyrockets to more than 250 million. Keeping this in mind, let’s dwell deeper into this innovative piece of technology. The transmitter of the iBeacon sends a message via Bluetooth when a device with an app that uses iBeacon is in proximity. The user receives a push notification on their screen. The receiver can be both an iOS7 and an Android 4.3 powered device.

It differentiates itself from its closest competitor, the NFC, mainly by virtue of the range it operates itself on. The NFC range is up to 20 cm (7.87inches) but the optimal range is less than 4 cm (1.57 inches) while the iBeacon’s range can span up to 50 meters.

Custom push notifications is an innovative method to promote event sponsors with mobile marketing. On reaching their booth, push messages are received instantly. Location-based services, wherein recognition of the floor you are on and direction of your potential customer to the desired floor is another efficient way to use the iBeacon and attract customers. Similarly, iBeacon’s could also be used to replace useless promotional USB sticks (or worse brochures) with much more targeted messages when attendees approach a promotional stand.

If the biggest problem that you face is that of people lining up in front of your stall waiting for you to attend to them or predominantly waiting to enter the venue, the iBeacon can be your savior. You could send a QR code once the attendee reaches the venue and simplify the check-in. In addition to this, you could reward the attendees that access specific areas of your event venue. With iBeacon, retailers will be able to deliver highly targeted product and store information, guiding shoppers around their store, providing details and content – and, most importantly, delivering exclusive in-store offers and deals. The iBeacon is a novel way and also an amazing opportunity to garner real-time analytics for both crowd and flow management.

Another real-world situation can be: purchasing things nearly seamless. When iBeacon is able to identify what object you picked up and with the help of Touch ID you will be able to just leave the store with it. All the rest would be automatically billed and paid for. Online and offline scenarios usually create large gaps between themselves resulting in a stark failure of market strategies. Apps using iBeacon can close the gap between online and offline opening a great scenario of real-time mobile marketing and analytics.

Now there definitely are many concerns relating to privacy and intrusion. But when compared to the numerous possibilities that the iBeacon offers, it tends to become negligible. Given this fact, the enormous push that the service is receiving is really worth the attention of every tech-savvy event professional.

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