Best of Beacons this Week: Citibank commits to beacons, and more
May 13, 2016
We are back with this week’s best of beacons post. In this feature, we cover some interesting news and updates from how Citibank leveraged beacons to enable easy ATM access to an interesting post on how businesses can choose the best beacon protocol (between iBeacon and Eddystone) for their proximity marketing campaigns. So, sit back and check out the latest stories on iBeacon technology.
In an attempt to enhance mobile banking services, Citibank deployed beacons at select branches (called Smart Branches) in Manhattan in order to allow customers to access ATM lobbies during off hours without the need for a card. The beacons will also be used to send personalized, location-based messages to customers.
This new beacon pilot program is expected to transform the ATM experience by allowing customers to use their Apple Watches or iPhones as virtual keys that unlock ATM lobby doors. For example, if a customer approaches a Smart Banking branch, the beacons will send a push notification to his/her device asking if they want to unlock the ATM lobby door. The customer then has to tap his/her device in order to obtain ATM access. Thus, this innovative service provides great convenience to customers and completely removes time barriers for using ATMs.
Beacons installed at banks can also prove to be highly valuable to branch managers; they can help with a host of banking functions from providing customer traffic analytics to collecting real-time feedback through surveys.
Citibank is among the first few banks to incorporate beacons into their infrastructure, thus signaling the adoption of such advanced technologies and solutions by other leading banks across the world.
ABI Research recently forecasted that the BLE beacon market to is expected to more than double in 2016. Thus, given this growth, the market is predicted to remain on track to break the milestone of 400 million shipments by 2021. Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research said, “We will continue to see steady rather than spectacular growth this year”
As per ABI Research, retail is expected to be the main focus for many beacon vendors today, but this is expected to change and major shipment orders are expected from connected home, corporate/industrial, and IoT sectors, as the market transits from hardware to software-based beacons.
Beacons are also envisaged to impact the mobile advertising market, paving the way for the rise of new advertising companies. In addition to the strong growth of the beacon advertising market, collaboration and aggregation of networks will also be a noticeable trend in 2016.
The report also mentions that the key issues that beacon vendors will be addressing this year include issues of scale, security, and beacon management. Beacons in 2016 will support a five-plus year battery life, concurrent Eddystone/iBeacon transmission, sensor integration, and proprietary transmission of data.
Mobile-based proximity payments have been witnessing significant adoption from both end users as well as businesses. In an interesting report from Prepaid International Forum, 24% of adults in the UK alone have used their smartphones to make in-store mobile payments and 12% do so on a regular basis. Given this upward trend, many brands and businesses are looking to invest in mobile payment solutions in order to deliver frictionless payment opportunities to customers.
Digital wallets like, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and iBeacon technology among others are some of the popular technologies that are leveraged to process mobile payments. iBeacon technology is definitely pitted to be one of the most sound technologies available today, since it provides phone agnostic solutions and allows brands to make business specific customisations. In addition, beacons can also be used to gather useful customer insights.
Given the imminent benefits of iBeacon technology, leading brands across diverse verticals from banking to transportation to hospitality are leveraging beacons. In this post, we discuss how four brands – Danske Bank, Hailo Taxi, Coachella 2016 and PaidEasy leverage iBeacon technology in unique ways in order to deliver easy, convenient and safe mobile payment channels.
The U.S Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has developed a highly valuable solution called, Firefighter Accountability and Proximity system (FFAP) that leverages beacons to relay important information about the exact location of firefighters, if they are down. The system provides the perfect location of the firefighters by measuring the relative distance and elevation between beacons.
The FFAP beacon is automatically activated when it detects motion and immediately sends out an alarm if the firefighter does not move or if the firefighter manually sends an alert through the beacon he/she is carrying. Through the beacon-enabled app, the team lead can also view the exact location of all beacons along with distress areas (marked in red) if any.
2016 is fast becoming the year of beacons, given the large number of beacon deployments and the introduction of Google’s Chrome support for Android devices. Over the past few months, leading brands from RiteAid to Samsonite have all invested in beacon projects in order to deliver enhanced and personalized customer experiences.
iBeacon technology and Eddystone are the two beacon formats available to businesses today, in order to engage in proximity marketing. Both formats come with their own advantages and limitations. A key issue faced by many businesses and proximity marketers today is that they are still unsure about the exact technology and approach to pursue in order to achieve their campaign goals.
If you are planning an Eddystone beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to kickstart your campaign in under 15 minutes. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!