Beacons beckon. Interact with your surroundings (and get discounts)
Your interaction with the world just entered phase 2.0. Estimote, a Polish start-up, is revolutionizing the mobile world as we know it. The idea is simple.
Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.
Just imagine the possibilities beacons can offer. When going to a store you can find out which products are on sale at a given time, watch videos of the products or even browse product reviews on demand. When at a music festival you could quickly access the concert lineup, check which stages artists will be playing on and much more. How about your companies’ supply chain? If the company decided to change to a demand pull strategy it could implement beacons to control the inventory/stock levels of products at given warehouses or in transit. And these are only the business perspectives!
I believe that beacons will be successful based on 3 key facts:
- Over 40% of shoppers look for offers on their mobile devices while they’re in store
- Only 5% of in-store shoppers have a retailer’s mobile app installed on their phone
- By 2017, roughly half of all in-store transactions will be completed via mobile devices
BI Intelligence conducted some research to find out whether and how Beacons were living up to their expectations. Do they have the power to transform businesses? Some of the more interesting findings are presented below.
- Beacons could speed up the checkout process with a completely contactless payments system.
- Consumers would be willing to try out beacons as a mean of automating their homes. Walk into a room with you smartphone and the light turns on. You don’t even have to clap twice anymore…
- It’s more tricky than expected. You have to have Bluetooth turned on when using Beacons (and we know how fast that kills battery life), you have to accept location services and agree to receiving notifications. The topic is still sticky legally.
The beacon competitive landscape is gaining traction. Apple will most likely soon announce their iBeacons, for which they already have a trademark, Paypall is considering entering the market and small first-movers (including Estimote) are trying to hang on and challenge the giants.
In my opinion beacons will enter our daily lives in the near future. When comparing the low cost of implementation with the big potential benefits it is quite clear that companies will jump at the opportunity to have these products. The only consideration is: will this not be too intrusive into our daily lives? Even more of our data and information will be available to giant corporations…