With the recent release of iOS 7, Apple introduced a new feature called iBeacon that has the potential to transform the way businesses connect with customers and potential customers at the most ideal time ? during the shopping/buying process.? iBeacon is a technology that uses low power Bluetooth to broadcast a signal or beacon that is detected by a mobile device.
Unlike GPS, iBeacon is Micro-Location technology and works well within buildings, as it does not require clear line of sight. Bluetooth LE has a theoretical maximum distance of?around 50m (160-feet). iBeacons can work from across the room, are very low cost and can last up?to 2 years on a standard watch battery. The beacon signal contains an identifier and the latency between beacon broadcasts determines the distance from the device to the beacon.? The mobile device receives the beacon identifier and uses it to retrieve product information, promotions, coupons, maps ? the possibilities are endless!
Nitro is already working on pilot programs with several of its customers to take advantage of this exciting new mobile technology.? By using Nitro?s patent-pending NitroServer? mobile platform and our Beacon Management System, we are able to do some amazing things.? The following are two real world examples of how we can apply iBeacon technology to mobile business applications.
Example 1 ? Big Box Retailer:
One application for iBeacon technology with the most potential is for in-store retail?shopping.? With iBeacon and a mobile app, the retailer has the opportunity to significantly improve the shopping experience ? and increase sales.
Imagine a customer walks into the store carrying an iPhone loaded with the retailer?s mobile app.? Since the customer?s last visit, she has added items to the mobile app?s shopping list. As she walks into the store, the customer receives a welcome notification and list of relevant promotions related to the items on that shopping list. Each of the store aisles have iBeacons so as the customer moves through the aisles, the items on her list are highlighted based on the customer?s location in the store.? She can even get in-store directions to other products on the list.? As the customer walks through the store and pauses in various areas, she receives relevant promotional and advertising information.? If the customer has questions about an item, she can use the app to ask for personal assistance from a store associate.
With the shopping trip complete, the customer has been able to quickly find the items she needs and has bought three additional items at a discount thanks to relevant coupons that were delivered to her mobile app. The retailer has a very satisfied and loyal customer who bought more than she intended and will be back to buy more.
Example 2 ? Commercial Real Estate:
iBeacon offers possibilities to improve the buying process in virtually any area of local?commerce.? In this example, a commercial real estate company facilitates the property search process by providing a mobile app that applies iBeacon technology.
The prospective customer has downloaded the app to search for office space that matches his business needs. The search results are automatically sorted based on the prospect?s distance from the building. When the prospect sees a property of interest, he adds it to the list of buildings to visit and follows the driving directions to the property. The location is equipped with iBeacons throughout the property to provide a personalized experience based on the prospect?s location.? When the prospect walks into the lobby of the building, the app welcomes him and provides a menu, photos, and overview of the property with a voice over. ?Using the app as a guide through the building, the prospect follows directions to the onsite gym. When he enters the gym, the app describes the features of the gym along with video clips and audio. ?The prospect is impressed and decides to look at the available office spaces.
While the prospect tours the facilities, the app describes the onsite amenities such as the deli, daycare and nearby retail services.
When he enters an available?office space, the app describes the space, square footage and key features. The prospect is interested in this space and wants to learn more.
Using the app, the prospect is able to?get additional information and?immediately contact a representative to meet him at the property.?The?commercial real estate company is able to engage the prospect at exactly the right time and place, significantly increasing the likelihood of closing a deal.
These are just two examples of how iBeacon technology can be employed as a part of a mobile strategy for businesses.? The benefits of indoor location and proximity-based communication can extend to any place where people gather ? public or commercial.? The opportunity is to significantly improve and personalize the customer experience by combining mobile applications with iBeacon technology.?? The good news is that this technology is available today.? Contact Nitro Mobile Solutions to find out more about how we can help your business take advantage of this remarkable innovation.
Look for an upcoming post from the Nitro development team that shares insights into the SDK frameworks and various software considerations when developing mobile applications for beacon location services.