iBeacon technology is growing at an immense pace since its launch at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in the year 2013. We can gauge this technology’s influence in the near future through a recent study issued by Research and Markets, which states that the global iBeacon market is set to grow at a CAGR of 200.3% over the period 2014-2019. This growth is being cumulatively pushed by the growing awareness of the capabilities of electronic devices, and mobile devices becoming an integral part of today’s lifestyle.
Last year many experts had claimed 2015 to be the year of the beacons. We at MobStac couldn’t agree more with them. Year 2015 saw iBeacon technology impact over 20 verticals including retail, sports, hospitality, museums, airports, and more. With an incredible year for beacons coming to an end, let us take you through the major developments and in the beacon space this year:
1) Google’s launch of Eddystone
Forecasted to become the dominant standard in the BLE beacon industry by 2020 according to ABI Research, Google’s Eddystone is a protocol for open-source beacons which could be manufactured by any business at an affordable cost. The launch of Eddystone has changed the game for iBeacon technology altogether.
How is Eddystone different from iBeacon technology?
Eddystone takes the primary capability of beacons – their ability to broadcast a unique number via short-range Bluetooth signals – and extends it to a greater degree. There are many more features that differentiate Eddystone from iBeacon, such as broadcasted information packets and manner of communication. You can read on everything you need to know about Eddystone from our blog post on Eddystone FAQs.
2) Beacons connect the physical and digital worlds
The number of smartphone users are forecasted to grow from 2.6 billion to 6.1 billion by 2020, according to Mobility report from Ericsson. Currently, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone before making a purchasing decision. Businesses, therefore, are facing an urgent need to reach out to their consumers via smartphones, at the right place and at the right time.
Image source: londontown.com
Businesses today are fast realizing that beacons have the potential to drastically change a consumer’s experience. Southbank Center, the arts complex of central London, recently announced that they are rolling out beacons in their 21-acre vast location in attempt to augment consumer experience. Beacons will be used to send information and unique content to visitors about facilities and events on-site. This will enhance a visitor’s enjoyment of the artistic events and installations in the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Hayward Gallery, and Purcell Room. Learn how beacons are connecting the physical and digital worlds and how various verticals are leveraging beacons, in this infographic.
3) Beacons break the IoT barrier
With the IoT boom, iBeacon technology is being implemented in many exciting and innovative ways that can take you by surprise. BlueMaestro, a company that develops healthcare and environment solutions, launched a new bluetooth device that revolutionizes the way a baby’s temperature is determined.
Images source: brit.co
BlueMaestro’s device, named Pacif-i, uses an in-built temperature sensor to monitor a baby’s temperature and then delivers the temperature data to an Android or iOS app in the parent’s smartphone. The app then goes on to determine the time when the temperature is most accurate and timestamps it. It even helps with plotting the effect of medication on body temperature more accurately. Adding on to that, parents can also schedule useful reminders and alerts in the app. Read about more such interesting and lesser known uses of beacons in our blog post.
4) Innovative iBeacon apps come into the picture
Most businesses are now choosing to invest in creating their own beacon-enabled app instead of going for a third party app due to concerns over data ownership and privacy risks. This has lead to the emergence of a number of beacon-enabled apps that stand out for their features and novelty. For instance, Wisely is an app that helps link a restaurant’s staff to its guests through iBeacon technology.
Image source: blog.credit.com
Currently, the app is actively used in around 75 Michigan restaurants, and is starting to pop up in cities like Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, etc. Read about the latest iBeacon apps that are breaking new grounds in the iBeacon app space.
5) More brands launch their iBeacon campaigns
By 2020, total BLE beacon shipments are predicted to approach $200 million while BLE beacon advertising network is slated to be worth over $2 billion. One of the major driving forces behind such figures is the demand among brands to mobilize brand experiences with unprecedented levels of engagement using consumer context. Many businesses are thus coming up with novel iBeacon campaigns that aim to drive user experience to a whole new level.
Image source: blog.nordstrom.com
For example, Nordstrom, a retailer based in Seattle, notifies its consumers if any item in their mobile shopping bag is in stock, as they pass by the store which has a beacon installed at its entrance. This helps Nordstrom to provide an enriching online-to-offline shopping experience to its consumers. Read about more such iBeacon campaign ideas that are worth stealing, in our blog post.
2015 has been a great year for beacons. The strong growth in the beacon space is leading to ingenious ideas, experimental campaigns, innovative iBeacon apps, and unprecedented user experience. We need to keep a close watch on the year to come!
If you are planning a beacon pilot, here is a step by step guide to planning and deploying a successful pilot. Also, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!