Retailers have been admiring the innovation in Apple products, which can positively impact sales, for years. One such innovation is iBeacon, which opens the window for customers to gain instant access to product information and exact location with ease.
What is iBeacon and How Does it Work?
iBeacon is an indoor positioning system (i.e. network device), which is used to wirelessly locate objects or people inside a retail store. It is a revolutionary positioning and navigation technology that improves navigation capabilities on sensors available in smartphones and existing WiFi networks, without a GPS system.
In practical application, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, “Now a store could tell if you’ve walked in. Once you have, it could, if you wanted it to, alert you to what was on sale in that location. Not only that, but if you said,’Yeah, that sweater looks boss, and I dig that it’s 30 percent off. Where is that fly garment?’ that store’s app, with an assist from iBeacon, could guide you right to it. With stored credit-card information on your phone, payment could also be conducted via iBeacon. Your phone wouldn’t even have to leave your pocket for the transaction to take place.”
What iBeacon Means for Your Small Business
As we know, the popularity of the Apple franchise and its brand value, is undeniable. The iBeacon is poised to become a front-runner in the retail business and mobile payment framework for users.
Apple’s fairly significant update for iOS 7 (i.e. version 7.0.3), adds the iCloud Keychain feature to the mobile operating system. This advanced technology has the potential to strengthen retail businesses in real-time. Brick and mortar retailers, and other large indoor spaces, can now use iBeacon technology to send data over short distances to smart phone devices.
The iBeacon has also opened the door to next generation applications. For example, indoor maps and in-store marketing. This makes the Internet of Things (IoT) a reality, as iOS 7’s iBeacons could solve indoor mapping, make the consumer shopping experience better, and kill near field communication (NFC), “technology that allows cellphones to easily communicate with smartcards and readers, and with other NFC enabled devices … to perform safe, contactless transactions for making payment, for public transportation, or for data transfer.”
As time passes, technology like iBeacon, will strengthen the mobility market. Customers will continue to interact with iBeacon, businesses will harness the data, and relevant in-store incentives will make e-commerce more profitable through mobile push notifications and more.
The Growth Trajectory of Mobile Technology
Numerous studies suggest mobile technology will continue a high-growth trajectory in coming years. Meanwhile, retailers are investing more into the IT segment to develop innovative solutions.
Smart retailers will adopt tools, like iBeacon, as an innovative and secure way to bump retail sales. Meanwhile customers will benefit from enhanced access and accountability through apps like the iCloud Keychain to track account names, passwords, and credit card numbers across approved devices.
Apple’s iBeacon has already made an indelible impact on retail, mobile and IT for early adopters and competitors in the market. For instance, PayPal has announced its own, confusingly named, “Beacon” product to compete. Meanwhile, Tesco’s “low-cost android” Hudl tablet, recently launched, supports BLE. Lastly, Shopkick, the mobile app that gives you rewards and offers simply for walking into stores, is seen by many retailers as an alternative solution to iBeacon.
Technology will continue to bring about innovation, and enterprise mobility is not an exception. Mobile technology offers new opportunities for retailers and customers, alike. As mobile platforms equip themselves to adjust to changing customer behavior and demand, the way we buy, transact, and consume in our local environment will forever be changed.
Jagadish Thaker is a business writer, writing on behalf of Softweb Solutions Inc., an awarding winning mobile app development company. He enjoys sharing technology related articles on mobile, HTML5, and UI/UX. Connect with Softweb Solutions on Twitter.
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