Apple’s iBeacon micro-location technology is brimming with potential, but most people have yet to realize its value. I’ve enjoyed talking with our clients about how they can put iBeacon technology to work. I thought sharing a few use cases would help make more clear the potential power and benefit of iBeacons.
iBeacon is a positioning technology that uses a small, low-powered, short-range transmitter – an iBeacon – to make smartphone apps aware of the phone’s position relative to the iBeacon. A few companies manufacture them and newer iOS devices are also iBeacons. Apple backs the iBeacon technology, but new Android devices also support it. When iBeacons gain wide adoption, it will be app developers who will release the massive potential. The 5 iBeacon use cases below provide a few real-world examples of what can be done with the technology today.
- Dutch Bros. Coffee shacks are popular in Eugene. Dutch Bros. could improve their iPhone app by adding an iBeacon rewards feature. An iBeacon at every Dutch Bros. location would make it possible to track each time a user of the Dutch Bros. iPhone app visits a location. Dutch Bros. could reward frequent visitors with a free drink.
- An employer that uses a time clock system could develop an app that reminds employes to clock-in as they enter the workplace. Furthermore, the employer could add iBeacons around the office to enable a feature that would show the location of each onsite employee.
- A trip to Costco with my wife’s shopping list in hand is not how I want to spend my weekend, but it happens. Finding specific things in the warehouse is always difficult. Costco could improve their app by using iBeacon technology to direct users to the location of the "Warehouse Offers" featured in their app. Mapping the entire warehouse would be a challenge, but adding location data to items already featured in the app would be a reasonable starting point and make it a lot easier to quickly find ad items. Or, better yet, alert browsing customers as they pass ad items.
- iBeacon technology could be put to use in our open spaces to measure usage and provide a more interactive experience for visitors. For example, the National Park Service and the Yosemite Conservancy could build a feature into the NPS Yosemite app that encourages users to log their Yosemite visit. iBeacons could be placed in key locations throughout the park. As users follow the “One-Day Itinerary” feature, the app would react by logging the visit and displaying information about the nearby landmark.
- My son is huge fan of Hasbro’s Nerf products. Manufacturers like Nerf could use iBeacon technology to encourage their customers to interact more frequently with their point-of-sale displays. For example, Nerf could build a simple app that provides kids with a way to catalog their Nerf arsenal. When a kid enters a store, the iBeacon enabled feature could notify a kid that a new Nerf Blaster – one currently missing from his collection – is available for sale. As a kid passes a Nerf point-of-sale display, the app could also remind him to pick up extra Nerf darts. Additionally, he could earn points for making a run to a Nerf “supply depot”.
This technology is still new, but I’m confident we’ll soon be seeing more applications in the real-world. For example, I just read that U.S. sports arenas are starting to use iBeacon technology to push seat upgrades to fans using team apps in the arena - I think this is a great idea.
If you have questions about how iBeacon technology can be put to work for your business, please contact us, we’d love to explore with you.comments powered by Disqus