Year 2016 will always be known as the year that saw beacons go beyond the buzz about them and deliver enhanced user experiences across sectors. Not only did beacons move beyond retail, but the launch of Nearby Notifications and the announcement around Bluetooth 5, pushed beacons into some of the emerging markets in the world, particularly India. Having toppled the US to become the second-largest market for smartphones, after China, in 2016, India saw a huge buzz around beacons.
And while a number of businesses have come forward and run pilots to test out the grounds with regards to beacon campaigns and potential use cases, few have gone public with them. One such beacon deployment was the one at GVK Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai where beacons were used to successfully launch a new app that was aimed at improving passenger experience to a great extent. In addition to providing users with real-time updates on flights, the app also allowed them to receive information to nearby facilities as they walked through the terminal.
Another interesting beacon pilot was the one in which HasGeek leveraged Google Nearby Notifications at an event called ‘The Fifth Elephant’ to inform guests about the steps required to be taken in order to connect to the event’s local WiFi network as well as provide additional details about the conference schedule.
Inspite of this huge buzz around beacons, most of our conversations with potential Indian clients still revolve around a few questions:
(i) How many users will have Bluetooth turned ON on their device?
(ii) Would users need to be online – on mobile data or by being connected to WiFi, and will that be a deterrent for users?
(iii) We don’t have an app in place. Do we have to launch an app to allow users to interact with beacons? How do I drive app downloads?
Before we dig deep into answering those questions, let’s just get a few basics around beacons straight. Following are some of the basic requirements a user needs to fulfill, in order to receive beacon notifications:
(i) Turn bluetooth ON
(ii) Enable location
(iii) Switch on the mobile data or connect to WiFi nearby
(iv) Install a mobile app that is compatible with the beacons. Now, the kind of mobile app that the user is required to have installed totally depends on the kind of beacons that you plan to deploy.
For example, if you plan to install iBeacon compatible beacons, then the user needs to have the corresponding beacon-enabled app on his/her device (both Android and iOS) to receive notifications. On the other hand, if you plan to deploy Eddystone compatible beacons, then all the user needs to have on his/her device (both Android and iOS) is the Google Chrome app.
Let’s take a look at how the Indian consumer market fares with respect to these requirements.
Need to stay connected (via WiFi or mobile data)
(1) India is expected to have 500 million internet users by 2017
That India is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world is no news at all. The country, currently at its peak of digital growth, comes second after China in terms of number of internet users.
So much so that, India is expected to have 500 million internet users by 2017, 400 million of which will access internet using their mobile devices this year, according to Google India’s Search Quality Strategist Ashish Kalsi. These estimates are in line with the projections made by Google India’s Managing Director Rajan Anandan, who said that the Internet user-base in the country is expected to double to 700 million by 2020.
Another important thing to note here is that, the growth potential in India isn’t limited to just the metros or cities. In fact, as of early 2016, a total of 100 million users had gone online in the rural areas.
(2) Telcos in India to roll out 4G across the country in 2017
While the spectrum auction held in late 2016 did not receive overwhelming response from the mobile operators, spectrum crunch which was once touted as one of the primary factors limiting mobile broadband connectivity in the country has eased to a great extent. This change is primarily driven by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign.
It is no secret that the grand vision of Digital India can be achieved only if we have a reliable, high capacity mobile broadband infrastructure in the country. And now that most of the telecom operators own a sizable chunk of the spectrum, experts predict that 4G – Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology will be rolled out by all, across the country in 2017. This will enhance the quality of service offered by mobile broadband networks to a great extent.
With all this development in line, India is all set to achieve its moderate target of 170 million broadband subscriptions by 2017. However, with proactive spectrum policies, experts predict that India could reset the target to reach 250 million broadband subscriptions by 2017!
(3) Google’s Railwire WiFi is already available at 100 railway stations across India
Early 2016, Google kick-started its project alongside Indian Railways and RailTel aimed at rolling out free, high-speed WiFi at 400 railway stations across the country. And as of 23rd December 2016, Google has successfully rolled out free WiFi to 100 of the busiest railway stations across India. The tech giant also said that with over five million monthly users, Google Railwire WiFi is already helping millions of people discover the benefits of high speed Internet. The company also added that 15,000 first time users have been connecting to its network every day.
Having had a successful start Google plans to go ahead and deploy free, high speed Wi-Fi at the remaining 300 stations it has on the list. Adding on to that, the tech giant recently introduced Google Station, which gives partners an easy set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots in public places.
Need to turn Bluetooth ON
(4) BLE enabled device shipments to reach 8.4 Billion Units by 2020
According to a recent market study by IndustryARC, there is a rising demand for BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) which when coupled with its rapid penetration into electronic devices will ensure that the market revenues reach $10.1 Billion in 2020 growing at a rate of 22.4% during the forecast period.
It is no secret that BLE protocol with it’s ability to establish a simple wireless connectivity with devices such as tablets, smartphones and other hub devices has enabled new innovations in several markets including smartphones accessories, wearable electronic gadgets, computer peripherals, automotive, and many others. Adding on to that, innovations in development of low-powered wireless devices are projected to drive sales in wearable electronic devices and home entertainment systems, thus making it the leading contributor to the global BLE market by year 2020. Keeping in line with this projection, BLE enabled device shipments are forecast to increase to 8.4 billion units by 2020 at a CAGR of 29%, according to a recent study by IndustryARC Analysis.
At the same time, while America is the largest market on the BLE device shipments front currently, APAC (China, Japan, India and Oceania) follows close on heels, followed by Europe. Another important thing to note hers is that, Asia Pacific is forecasted to experience a high growth rate of 32.4% compared to other geographic regions during the forecast period.
(5) India predicted to see a rapid increase in home-grown fitness and wearable device companies
According to a recent study by Tractica, India will see a rapid increase in home-grown fitness and wearable device companies. Being a country with the third largest population of obese people in the world, the leading rates of heart disease and diabetes provide a major opportunity for startups in India to bring innovative fitness and wearable solutions to the market. In fact, an Indian device vendor GOQii is already becoming a key competitor for Fitbit in the Indian market.
Now if you are wondering as to why the sudden talk around wearables, here’s the deal – the quickest way to connect your wearables to smartphones and computers is through Bluetooth. Thus a growing market for wearables promises a drive in Bluetooth usage as well. Just to give you a clear idea about the potential that India holds as a market, the wearable devices market in the country grew by 41.9% in Q2 over the Q1 of 2016, according to a research by International Data Corporation (IDC).
And with Bluetooth 5.0 coming out soon, it will make even more sense to use the technology for connecting all the smart devices.
Need to have an app installed (Google Chrome app or corresponding beacon compatible app)
(6) Google Chrome crossed 1B active monthly mobile active users on mobile
In 2016, Google announced that the Chrome browser crossed 1 Billion monthly mobile active users. While the company hasn’t shared the breakdown for Android versus iOS members, it would be safe to assume that the heavier number might just be on Android’s side.
This is particularly a big news for the Indian market that is primarily Android driven. According to recent forecast by Statista, the number of smartphone users in India is estimated to reach 340.2 million by 2017, while the number of smartphone users worldwide is forecast to exceed 2 Billion users by the same time.
How is this related to beacon adoption in India? Well, given that all Android mobile devices come with a Chrome app installed in them by default, this increases the chances of Indian consumers receiving notifications pushed by Eddystone beacons. Just to a give you a better idea about the kind of Android market that exists in India, 97% of smartphones in India ran the Android operating system in Q2 2016, up from 90% in Q2 2015, according to a report from Strategy Analytics.
Need to enable location
(7) Rise in successful location-based marketing campaigns in India
Unlike common notion among businesses, Indian consumers are very open to location based campaigns. And this is clearly visible in the kind of success that brands have been experiencing of recent with the location driven campaigns that they ran. For example, OLX, a global online marketplace recently leveraged hyper-location targeting to reach second hand automobile & mobile markets using pin-codes. As a part of this campaign, personalized contextual overlay ads in network apps and mobile websites were used to target users. The campaign that was run over a period of six weeks saw over 5, 00,000 unique users sign up at a cost per unique reach of 3 paise. The campaign also saw a click to install app rate that was 4 times more than other campaigns. Adding on to that 60% of the installs resulted in transactions as well.
Another successful location-based campaign was the one run by Bose in their attempt to reach a specific audience in key cities. The objective of this campaign was to build awareness amongst their target audience about their premium noise canceling earphones. As a part of this campaign, Bose leveraged location-based advertising to reach out to their target audience, which included:
(i) Users present within a 500-meter radius of all airports in India
(ii) Users who visited 5-star hotels in the vicinity of airports
(iii) Users who lived in the top 10 percentile of residential areas
The users is each of these segments were shown dynamic banners and landing pages based on their location. The campaign eventually went on to deliver over 5,000 clicks every day.
Thus, as stated in these 7 stats and facts mentioned above, there is a lot that businesses can use to their advantage if they leverage beacons right away.
Looking to learn about the how businesses can use beacons to their full potential?
If you want to learn more about planning a beacon project, the kind of investment it involves, and how to run a successful beacon pilot, check out our recent webinar on ‘Your Guide to Planning a Successful Beacon Pilot’. It will set you up for success.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, 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!