One of the announcements that created quite a buzz in the proximity marketing industry was the one around Google Nearby. Coupled with Eddystone beacons, Google Nearby Notifications has got brands and businesses all over the world excited about the prospect of being able to deliver highly contextual mobile-based brand experiences without the need for a beacon-enabled app. By doing so, Google has successfully eliminated one of the primary barriers of beacon adoption – the need for an app.
However, two critical questions are still left unanswered – “How many users will have Bluetooth turned ON on their device? Will the lack of Bluetooth connectivity hinder beacon adoption?”.
If you are a retailer or a marketer or a brand looking to adopt beacons, chances are that this is probably one of the first questions to have struck you on the beacon front. According to a recent Google study, an average of 50% of users have their Bluetooth turned ON.
“But then what about the remaining 50% of users? Is there a chance that every user will want to turn Bluetooth ON on his/her mobile device?” – I’m sure this is the question that has got you wondering now.
Well, here are 3 reasons why you needn’t bother racking your brains over this question.
1) Wearable devices, smart homes etc., encourage users to turn Bluetooth ON
Right from smart homes to wearable devices to virtual reality accessories, the IoT market is all set to grow at a tremendous pace. And this skyrocketed growth has already started to change consumer behaviour and make people more comfortable with turning their Bluetooth ON.
(a) 322.69 million wearable devices expected to be sold by 2017
The wearable devices market is one of the hottest consumer goods markets of recent times. According to a recent study by Gartner, 322.69 million wearable devices are expected to be sold by 2017, up by 39% from 232.01 million in 2015, primarily driven by wrist wearables such as smartwatches and fitness bands.
So much so that, with an approximated sales revenue of $11.5 billion, smartwatches will account for 62.5% of the total sales revenue from wearable devices in 2016. Primarily because, going ahead smartwatches will have stronger appeal among consumers by acting as a multifunctional device that can track exercise as well.
How is this connected to Bluetooth usage, you ask? Well, majority of such connected devices rely on Bluetooth for connectivity.
(b) Smart home market forecasted to be worth $121.73 Billion by 2022
According to a recent report titled ‘Smart Home Market -Global Forecast to 2022’, the smart home market is expected to grow from $46.97 Billion in 2015 to $121.73 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 14.07% between 2016 and 2022. This growth can be attributed to few common factors such as the significant advancements in the IoT market and the increasing need of convenience among consumers.
While each of the standards commonly employed by smart homes – primarily ZigBee, Z-Wave, Thread, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy – have their own attributes, the rise in the adoption of smartphones and tablets gives Bluetooth a huge advantage. Adding on to that, Bluetooth 5 has successfully eliminated the main advantage of using power-hungry Wi-Fi to control smart home devices, by increasing the range of communication by a factor of four. This makes BLE a better choice over Wi-Fi. Particularly because, in addition to reduced infrastructure costs (no access points or routers required), Bluetooth also tends to be easier on battery life than Wi-Fi.
(c) Virtual reality (VR) will have its first billion dollar year in 2016
According to a recent study by Deloitte Global, Virtual Reality (VR) is expected to have its first billion dollar year in 2016, with about $700 million in hardware sales, and the remainder from content. At the same time, while VR is more likely to have multiple applications on both the consumer and enterprise front in the long term, a vast majority of commercial activity is expected to be focused around video games in 2016.
How is this connected to encouraging users to turn their Bluetooth ON, you ask? Well, growth in the VR market is bound to boost growth in VR and augmented reality accessories that work via bluetooth.
For example, having achieved 30M daily active users with Pokemon GO, Nintendo recently launched a new accessory, Pokemon GO Plus, that could help change the way users play the game. It is a bluetooth accessory (i.e it connects to a mobile device over Bluetooth Low Energy) that allows users to enjoy Pokémon GO while they are on the move, without having to look at their smartphones.
On a similar line, Snapchat, a popular app with 150M daily active users, recently unveiled its first hardware product, a pair of smart sunglasses called Spectacles. It allows users to record as much as 10 seconds of video shot by a 115-degree-angle lens and make the video accessible on Snapchat by connecting the sunglasses wirelessly to their smartphones.
2) Apple has removed the headphone jack from iPhone7
Apple has started rolling out a host of devices or products that require bluetooth. One of the major announcements in this direction, was the one which highlighted the fact that iPhone 7 will be shipped without a headphone jack. Particularly because bluetooth headsets are one of the primary drivers of Bluetooth adoption.
With, Bluetooth headphones now accounting for 54% of U.S. dollar sales in the category according to The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, Apple’s timing at accelerating that growth couldn’t be more perfect. In fact, quite a few companies are already following suit. And given how bluetooth headphones have immensely improved with respect to sound and battery life within the past few years, they will get even better by the end of the decade.
Are there any other technology trends or reasons that you think could be pointing towards a drive in bluetooth usage? Please share in the comments below.
3) Apple is rumoured to have introduced a new wireless device with Bluetooth
Following the launch of iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2, the Cupertino giant was recently in news for a new, mysterious wireless Apple device that passed through the FCC. While Apple characteristically requested permanent confidentiality for most of the documents in the filing, the leaked information reveals that it is going to be a low-powered device that includes both Bluetooth and NFC functionality. This further goes on to prove that, Apple is making substantial investments in Bluetooth technologies.
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