Beacons are revolutionizing localization applications in industries such as retail, cultural, education, entertainment as well as in intelligent homes. ABI research estimates that the market for iBeacons (Apple) and other Beacons BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) will reach 60 million units in 2019.
Beacons are electronic chips that permit locating smartphones within a close distance to send targeted and contextualized messages. The major advancement of Bluetooth LE technology, that is at the heart of Beacons, is that it allows micro-localization just a few centimeters away indoors, unlike GPS technology that has an accuracy of a few meters and is ineffective in closed spaces.
The purpose of using Beacons is to build mobile apps for enterprise that use them in order to offer fully contextualized solutions in relation to where the mobile user is located.
Of course we hear a lot of talk about the use of iBeacons to send push notifications to consumers in stores, but the list of potential applications is endless as you will see in this article.
Changing the Customer Experience
With iBeacon labels on each shoe model and interactive kiosks in stores, customers can scan the item of their choice and have access to all information on the shoe, available sizes, colors and can also provide the function to ask to try the product on, directly from the terminal.
With Beacon BLE technology, customers no longer need to find and ask a sales clerk to try the shoe model and clerks can be more effective and bring several shoes to the customer.
The use of Beacon technology enables personalized welcomes for VIP guests. For example, in stadiums, the technology can detect privileged clients who rent boxes round year and approach them to welcome them and accompany them to their box.
Museums and tourist sights
Some museums have already developed mobile applications to enhance the visit. The use of iBeacons in museums and cultural sites is primarily oriented towards replacing audio guides in which you must enter the item number of the section you are located in order to hear the audio description of that piece.
Improve the efficiency of processes and teams
On this level, retail has many optimization opportunities with iBeacons. With an application and iBeacons, managers can locate resources on the sales floor and reallocate based on the level of activity of different departments. For example, the manager follows the number of transactions that occur in a 5 minute period in the women's clothing department and women's shoe department. If he/she finds that the transaction volume is too low and the number of clerks is high in a department, he may decide to reassign a clerk to help in a busy department. It is also possible to use the technology so that the first employee that is near where a task was created, is notified and can then perform it.
Beacons can also be used so that clerks can call on managers quietly and efficiently when needed. With an iBeacon, an application will allow calling the manager who is the closest to the cash, for example. There is also the possibility of escalating if the first manager is not responding.
An owner will often have several dealerships in one city and a common practice is to move the vehicles from one dealership to another to provide a rotation in the offers. In these moves, it is not uncommon for employees to lose track of cars and not know where they are parked.
With a long-range Beacon in each dealership parking spot and a simple mobile application, the employee who moves the vehicle can simply indicate in the application where he parked the car.
Warehouses are usually divided into zones identified by codes and handlers must scan the goods that they are putting in and taking out of each zone. However, it is easy to forget to record the movements and lose track of certain goods. With an iBeacon, there is no longer a need to scan the area in which the products are deposited, because it is the beacon itself that locates items.
ImportantIndoor micro-location is a technological breakthrough that pushes back the limits of mobility and multiplies the possibilities of applications. In the US, a real Beacon technology laboratory, 50% of major retailers have initiated an experimental phase in 2014, and should equip 85% of their stores by the end of 2016, according to a report by Business Insider.
The opportunities to exploit mobile technologies are more than ever present today and the race to adoption is definitively launched in all industries.
Download our guide 10 reasons your business needs mobile capabilities today, and see how you can implement such enterprise mobility solutions.