In grocery stores, schools and workplaces, iBeacons are quickly becoming an everyday part of the mobile experience. Announced by Apple in 2013, iBeacons provide micro-location information of mobile devices in a specific area. iBeacons are able to detect when a person is in the shoe section at a retail store or when a person enters an airport terminal. This specific location information triggers actions on devices, such as pushing down coupon notifications or directions to an airport terminal.
[Related: AirWatch Expands OS Support for iBeacons]
To meet the increasing demand for iBeacon management, AirWatch delivered iBeacon support in its 8.1 software release. iBeacon functionality in AirWatch 8.1 included custom grouping for managing large numbers of iBeacons in an organization and automatically installing or removing Wi-Fi as well as VPN. Many organizations have begun iBeacon initiatives that are transforming the way they do business. Here are some noteworthy iBeacon deployments by industry:
Many usages of iBeacons are common and well known in the retail industry. Some organizations deploy iBeacons to enable consumers to make more informed spending choices. The large retail outlet Macy’s delivers detailed product descriptions and coupon offers to store visitors using the Shopkick mobile application. Using iBeacons, Macy’s sends product information and sale notifications to customers based on where they are in the store. For instance, a customer looking at a blender in the kitchen appliance section might receive a link to a promotional video for the blender or coupons for nearby appliances in the store.
The hospitality industry is using iBeacons to increase guest comfort during hotel stays. In 30 of its locations, Starwood Hotels and Resorts is testing iBeacons to simplify check-ins for frequent guests. When guests arrive at the hotel, the front desk is notified, enabling concierges to greet guests by name. In two of its hotels, Starwood is allowing some guests to skip checking in all together with keyless room entry using only a smartphone and the Starwood app. Guests can walk from the parking lot to the room, wave their phone near the room door and gain entry without waiting in line at the front desk. Housekeeping is also leveraging iBeacons to ensure that when guests are still in their rooms they are not bothered by staff for room cleaning.
The Clevedon School in the United Kingdom uses iBeacons and an interactive iPad application to help new students navigate the school hallways. When students are near an iBeacon, their school iPads will notify them that resources are available. Using the student’s location, the handbook application can display campus maps, policies and other relevant alerts. For instance, students entering a science class may receive a notification directing them to science-related material for the class period. The school can also deliver content to users based on their class schedule, such as daily readings or presentations, that teachers can customize throughout the school year.
iBeacons are simplifying the hustle of air travel and creating smoother visits for passengers at the airport. The UK-based airline EasyJet is piloting iBeacons at some European airports to deliver information to customers. iBeacons, coupled with the EasyJet mobile app, can notify passengers of gate information, including gate changes and walking directions, as well as flight delays. Passengers can also be alerted to available seat upgrades and customs wait times as they travel.
No matter the industry, iBeacons are delivering new opportunities for organizations to personalize user experience. Combined with mobility, location-based technology is helping users become more informed and engaged than ever before. With estimates of nearly 60 million iBeacons in the market by 2019, this technology will likely become a large part of our everyday experience in the near future.
To learn more about some of the latest retail technology trends this year, including the growth of iBeacons, check out our “Top Mobile Retail Trends for 2015″ whitepaper.