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What is iBeacon? Apple’s New Retail Technology

Apple’s new iBeacon app allows shoppers and retailers to interact in new ways that were previously only imagined. Apple will be starting off first by testing their new technology within their own Apple Stores across the US. The possibilities are limitless, and if proven useful this could lead the way for Apple to market this technology to other retail chains. By using location-tracking software already built into the iPhone, Apple will be able to tell who, when, and where is in their stores. You can guess how powerful this might be when all of this information is placed in the right hands.

What is iBeacon? Apple’s New Retail Technology

iBeacon will most likely become a new way that retailers are able to track the shoppers in their store in real time, and also a way for them to share coupons, promotions, and even reward loyal customers. This could be as much of a benefit for consumers as this is for retailers and businesses. Imagine that you have an appointment at the doctors, you might be able to simply show up and sit down without having to check in at the front desk. Or better yet, perhaps you are shopping for a pair of shoes so you walk into your favorite retailer. As you are looking at their selection of shoes a coupon pops up on your phone for $5 off your purchase…..or better yet, your phone tells you that the shoes you are looking at are $20 cheaper on sale at another store. These are things that are entirely possible given the future of location-tracking software.

Apple iBeaconSome may have wondered why Apple was so eager to buyout the technology company Topsy last week for more than $200 Million. If you haven’t put 2 and 2 together yet, let me spell it out for you. With the social media scraping services that Topsy will be able to provide Apple, the company will now be able to identify expressed wants and needs for consumers based on their social media posts and profiles. Now if that information is combined into iBeacon, retailers could now be able to identify items that you may already like, or predict items that you may like to try. This will allow computers to be able to analyze things that you have said online and determine if any of that can be turned into actionable information for which ever given retailer you are currently standing inside of.

Next up you might expect that there could be some way for software like Topsy to determine what types of items you like to purchase. Say that you took a selfie in the bathroom mirror and posted it to your Instagram or elsewhere, now that picture could be analyzed to determine what clothes you are wearing, what beauty products you have on the counter in front of you, and maybe even which retailer you purchased your shower curtain at. If you think that this might be way down the line or even not likely, hang in there because I assure you that if someone can find a way to make money from it they will make it happen.

Since iBeacon will be working through a low-energy form of Bluetooth, retailers will be able to set up beacons all around their stores if they wish. They can segment their stores into various departments, or even sections within those departments. Additionally, if Apple can market this technology to manufacturers as well, product displays can have Beacons located within them, or even possibly within the items tags themselves in the future. Now all you have to do to interact with product while you are shopping is walk past them or stand next to them. Delays can even be set, in theory, so that once these beacons become commonly contained within stores you will not be bombarded with alerts and offers. Perhaps if you simply walk past an item, it would ignore you, but the moment that you stand near it for say 5-10 seconds you will receive an interaction with it.

Featured Image from Apple.com

What is iBeacon? Apple’s New Retail Technology.

About Steven Kenniff

Lives in Phoenix, AZ. Graduated from Arizona State University in 2005. Writes for American Live Wire, GM Roadster and Northstar Media