Marketing

Here's what Apple's iBeacon really is & why it's going to change everything

Using Bluetooth to send ads between nearby devices sounds both boring and annoying. But that’s exactly what Apple’s iBeacon does — and Apple’s not in the boring-and-annoying business.

The ubiquitous iBeacon is Apple’s portable, low-cost transmitter that notifies other iOS 7 devices of its presence. iBeacon has won raves because of its low power signatures and rapidity of sending push notifications to Apple hardware like the iPhone, iPad, and even iPods.

While Android OS’s can receive adverts from iBeacons, they can’t transmit them. With Apple adding souped-up attribution features in iOS 7.1 recently, the word on the street is that Apple will harness the full spectrum of their power in the mobile ad space.

Chris Damron, chief innovation officer of proximity-based marketing shop BeaconStream, is currently using iBeacon to help small and medium businesses navigate the mobile targeting aspect of their companies.

With the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) opening Monday in San Francisco, Damron laid it out while he fervently believes in iBeacon, and why it will be huge for Apple.

Why iBeacon will be a major strategy in Apple’s grand plan

Unlike Near Field Communication (NFC), iBeacon has more proximity coverage, is more affordable, and requires less power.

Apple implemented this solution by using a mix of iOS and Bluetooth Low Energy devices to serve its customers at stores. iBeacons can transmit data in the absence of a GPS, Wi-Fi, or a 3G connection. Apple is looking for the next big thing, and iBeacon allows for communications in remote places like malls, mines, cruises, etc. In the current version of iOS 7, Apple enabled and implemented iBeacon technology in all of its devices, thus setting the stage for widespread use.

The impact iBeacon will have on consumers, businesses, & retailers

The impact iBeacon will have on consumers is enormous 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. iBeacon will allow businesses to attach digital content to everything in the physical store.

The future is iBeacon. Here’s where to expect it

Rumors are flying that there will soon be a $1 beacon, allowing businesses of any size to use this technology and allowing companies to have multiple touch points with customers. This will change the entire product supply chain with deep analytics that can track inventory and customer needs.

iBeacon as you see it today is just the initial offering. The uses are endless, and we expect to see it combined with other applications that exist in the marketplace today. Combining iBeacon technology with point-of-sale will provide consumers with a shopping experience that is fast and easy and that fulfills both the consumer’s and retailer’s needs.

Ka-ching!


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