When software meets hardware

Beacons are incredibly powerful piece of electronics that allows you to communicate with devices like smartphones. They give you 2 interesting options: collect data about people around + send them relevant notifications and call to actions. To see how does the technology function and where does it come from watch the video:

The number of places where we can find them is growing every day. Companies like Kontakt.io have over 6 000 clients already (less than year on the market). There are many places where you can feel iBeacons right now and interact with them. Let me show you a few interesting scenarios and explain why such application of iBeacons can revolutionise the market.

"Beacon Technology is all about getting information about real world things and making it something that computers can interact with. As the Internet of Things evolves, new ways of gathering this information will be needed; we will need to go beyond simple beacons to make interactions between the real world and the Internet more seamless and user-friendly. New tools such as our Cloud Beacons are just beginning to bridge this gap between one-way bluetooth broadcasting and something more powerful, but there’s further still to go.

The future of beacon technology will also depend on how it is used; with great power comes great responsibility, and companies who are making use of beacons should keep in mind that like most everything else on the Internet, they are only valuable when they solve a problem for the users. Too many apps flood the user with alerts and notifications or else harvest the users’ data in a creepy fashion. Developers need to make sure that we don’t treat beacons as just a way to carpet-bomb phones with coupons and realtime presence alerts or else consumers will reject this technology despite the strong promise behind it."

Karolina Pura - Kontakt.io

5 places where you can already see Beacons

Shopping center

Implementing iBeacons in your shopping center allows you to send dedicated offers for visitors, collect relevant data and create a profile of the visitor. Connecting data from the online shop + offline activities gives you enormous possibilities to target the user and maybe even predict his next behaviours to be at the right place and the right time with your product.

Have a look, how it works in practice and what is possible right now in the shop:

“We're looking at the near future of beacons with a healthy dose of anticipation and excitement. Retailers of course remain to be the biggest segment and they'll walk in the next year with data gathered after pilots, tests and experiments ran during the Holiday period, so both us and them will have a greater understanding of what works and what doesn't. But there are more and more fields that see the potential of beacons: quite recently we've been seeing a lot of growth in real estate, restaurants and travel - we can't wait where developers will bring contextual computing and micro-location next.”

Wojciech Borowicz - Estimote

City and public space

Imagine, that city knows what to offer you and what would make you happy. If well written software gives you relevant piece of information plus offers, then your life might be much easier and comfortable. One of such examples is prepared by Ifinity. Watch it and get surprised, how powerful is smart application of iBeacons.

Museum and art galleries

Museum is a great place to implement beacons. You can make navigation easier plus collect information about all visitors. You can create environment for people with impairments. Another possibility is mobile payment at specific locations, where you need to pay a fee. Have a look, how Estimote did it with Rubens House.

Apple iBeacon technology applied to classical art in Antwerp Museum from ProphetsAgency on Vimeo

Restaurants and pubs

It’s easy to book a table. It’s easy to pay for dishes and share the receipt costs with others. It’s nice to get free T-shirt for visiting your favourite pub right? They are some guys from Gdańsk, Poland, who spread the beacons around the city and create interesting loyalty program. Check out Everytap

How Everytap works in restaurants

Source: Everytap

“Talking to the owners of restaurants and pubs I clearly see that beacons are the answer to many of their problems. The question now is not whether the technology would work, but when it will be available all around us. My prediction? In 2015 beacons will be one of the hottest topics and a year later a commonplace."

Kamil Łukasiewicz - Everytap

Conferences and events

Some conferences are huge and it’s hard to find right place. People expect gamification and entertainment during the conference. They also want to network with others. Organizers want to know more about visitors and collect relevant feedback. See how company Knoll was using beacons and boosted the conference:

So if you connect smart app like Conventica with beacons you will reach interesting audience and deliver great user experience

“I believe, that beacons will revolutionise the event industry. Organisers will become more creative and they will add gamification to the conference. Additionally beacons will allow them to collect all relevant data about attendees and measure ROI of each event. Software + hardware + data will give enormous possibilities for event organizers and marketers”

Bartosz Rożan - Conventica

Home

Beacons are getting smaller and easier to implement. Soon they will be almost invisible. You will never ever have a problem with keys, that are lost. Your fridge will tell you, that some product is missing and will even order it for you. Sounds unbelievable, right? But it will happen sooner than you think. See how the future in your house might look like:

Conclusions - what will future bring us?

I will point it out:

  • number of beacons in the world is growing like crazy (and it’s less than 2 years on the market)
  • number of places where you can find application for them is huge
  • beacons create huge opportunity for software and UX designers - if you create user story you may solve many current problems
  • you can not ignore the technology, because it will surrounds you anyway. What you can do, is to adapt and make it useful for your needs.
  • marketers have a great chance to collect offline and online data about the user and create predictable models, which allow them deliver relevant content to the audience at the right place and time

If you have experienced beacons in some place already share your feeling about them in the comments.