New beacon technology offers the potential to revolutionize experiences in the consumer retail industry. This technology brings forth a new dimension for interactions between your customer and you. This begs the questions, though, what exactly is beacon technology? Simply put, this technology uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE); which is a chip operating at low frequency and typically found in cell phones. The chips are designs to communicate with a number of other Beacons to create networks.
How is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Defined?
Individuals use their personal devices to transmit data between short distances wirelessly through a personal network using Bluetooth Low Energy. The name implication is just that, it uses low cost and energy consumption, while creating a range of communication that is similar to the Classic Bluetooth, its predecessor.
Where does the Term iBeacon Fit In?
Apple created a version of the BLE software and it was released for the version 7 of IOS. As users walk through the Apple store, there are notifications pushed directly to the user. This is the beginning of this software’s capabilities; soon the retail niche will be tailoring this software as well.
Beacon and iBeacon can be used as an interchangeable term. Apple coined the term iBeacon as a standard for their technology, which allows for the apps on their mobile devices to pick up signals from beacons carried in physical locations and react to them as programmed. This means, iBeacon technology allows apps to develop an understanding for beacon positioning a scale that is micro, thus delivering this content to the user’s location. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the communication technology that picks up this content.
New beacon technology is becoming especially hot in the retail sales front because they are offering the potential to target consumers at specific moments of opportunity. This is because store displays now suddenly become personalized and interactive. This means a brand is no longer facing the limitation of point-of-sale campaigns or shelf displays as a means of message communication, therefore brand marketers are able to extend past the store shelves or the store floor to deliver digital, personalized forms of outreach to shoppers that are more identified.
This new technology will cause a revolution is customer service. Before long customers could walk into stores with staff members knowing their names, where they shop most often, where they were shopping last time they were in the store, and what their typical spending habits are. With this information, customer service representatives can help develop a shopping experience that is superior for their customers.
At present, the networks containing beacons are closed and fragmented. This may not be concerning when looking quickly, but when thinking into the future, this may cause long-term implications that are negative for developers, consumers, and retailers.
In terms of how brand communication occurs with the consumer, this type of technology should bring forth a shift in that paradigm. Digital extensions are brought into the physical word by iBeacon. This brings a bit of excitement for those who are watching where iBeacon will go in the next few years.
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