Could iBeacon Change the World?
In case you haven’t heard, the tech world is in a frenzy over iBeacon, an innovation that was recently released by Apple.
This isn’t just another pretty piece of technology that only tech geeks and aficionados are going to adopt—it has such wide-ranging implications that it might actually change the world in a big way.
For those not in the know, iBeacon is a type of transmitter that can communicate with beacon-enabled devices such as mobile phones when they are within range using Bluetooth technology. While Bluetooth beacons have been around for a while, Apple has created an industry standard in iBeacon and enabled it to work with iOS and Android devices.
Those who have heard about iBeacon are probably already aware of some of the ways it can be used in retail. But iBeacons are so much more than just a tool for retailers. Here are seven ways iBeacon technology just might revolutionise the way things work.
Tourist and cultural sites
If you’ve ever walked through a museum and wished you could find out more about the exhibits or tried to Google the significance behind a historical monument, iBeacon could spell the end of your confusion. iBeacons stationed at various points can transmit information to visitors on exhibits at museums, zoos, aquariums and other sites. Visitors can also be alerted to special events or exhibitions in the vicinity without having to check the site’s websites.
Navigating an airport can be confusing, especially for visitors in a hurry, and iBeacon can be a lifesaver. Maps setting out airport facilities can be accessed via iBeacon, which can make the check-in, boarding and arrival processes much easier. More importantly, any important announcements pertaining to changes in flight times or of boarding gates can be sent directly to mobile phones.
Maps or navigation systems can be very useful to patients and visitors alike, and broadcasting useful information pertaining to each section of the hospital, such as opening hours, visitation hours and rules and regulations, can help to prevent misunderstandings and take some of the burden off overextended hospital staff.
Even as we speak, the retail industry is gearing up to leverage the myriad possibilities offered by iBeacon. The possibilities are endless, from enabling customers to check prices and obtain product information without having to flag down a salesperson to luring nearby shoppers into the store by dangling discounts. Customers will also be able to look up and locate products easily in supermarket aisles, be notified of promotions and sales and receive coupons on their mobile phones.
Food and beverage
Just as in retail, the range of possibilities for food and beverage establishments is mind-boggling. Instead of having waiters distribute menus and take customers’ orders manually, iBeacon technology can enable customers to peruse menus and place orders on their mobile phones. Special discounts and coupons can be given out to attract potential customers in the vicinity with the help of iBeacon. For instance, sending free drink coupons to customers’ mobile phones can entice them to enter a restaurant.
iBeacon has the potential to make coming home an out-of-this-world experience. Picture stepping through the door and having the lights immediately come on in the hallway. The TV turns on when it’s time for your favourite programme even without your having to reach for the remote. Be notified whenever one of your family members has returned home. iBeacon can also enhance security—installing one in your car will let you know if a thief tries to drive it away… or if one of your kids is trying to sneak out with it.
If you’re not yet convinced that iBeacon is turning out to be one of the most important innovations of the century, just wait and see. We’re willing to bet that in a few years’ time you’ll be struggling to remember what life was like without it.