iBeacon, an advantage or certainly not?

Peter Engelshove – iBeacon, an advantage or certainly not?

When you are walking in a supermarket, a notification pops up on your phone. Your favorite pasta pesto salad is on sale now! A ‘beacon’ in the corner of the supermarket, recognizes that you are near the vegetables section and sends you a personal offer. The iBeacon mechanism enables this. According to Apple, “iBeacon is a way to create and monitor beacons that advertise certain identifying information using Bluetooth low energy wireless technology” (Warc, 2014). In other words, iBeacon is the technology invented by Apple, which allows ‘beacons’ to send notifications to people in that specific area. These people must have the app of the matching company on their phone and Bluetooth has to be enabled. Then people in a radius of 50 meters around the beacon could be approached.

But why is it a trend? One of the reasons is, because the iBeacon changes the norms and values of the people. According to Dan Nolan, people will get a new experience, because in stead of only having an offline or online world, people have the opportunity to connect these two worlds (Warc, 2014). Hereby some companies can stand out in front of the other companies. Companies which are using beacons have the possibility to advertise in a new ‘online’ way. Another reason why the iBeacon is a trend, is because the iBeacon leaves its marks. As companies could install multiple beacons in their shops, it knows exactly how the customers move and behave. Hereby people are even wondering if they aren’t losing their privacy. According to Mark Pascall, software developer, the iBeacon contributes to the ‘Internet of Things’ (3monthsNZ, 2014). Huge amounts of data about customer behavior will be saved. And according to Pascall the data is not only being used for the personal offers. Organization like Google will chase for these data.

IBeacon is a micro trend, since it is about a product. This product includes the technique and the related beacons. The iBeacon is based on the meso trend ‘location based services’. This means all services, where people are being traced to achieve a certain goal. For example GPS, with the goal to navigate people around. The mega trend is ‘digitalization’, whereby a lot of new digital services are invented.

If you look at the lifecycle of the iBeacon, you will notice that the trend has already existed for a while. Apple introduced the iBeacon at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference WWDC 2013. In the meantime, we are three years further now, but only since last year companies experimented with the technique. Last year a project became very successful, whereby travellers were stimulated to travel outside the rush hours (OV-Magazine, 2015). These travellers were detected through several beacons at the train stations. In return for traveling outside the rush hours, people got discount on Netflix or Spotify. I think that the trend will fit between the ‘setters’ and the ‘followers’ point, whereby a lot of followers will join quickly.

To take advantage of the iBeacon, you will have to make some sacrifices. Bluetooth has to be enabled, your smartphone’s battery will last shorter and most of the time you will first have to download the company’s app before the beacons can send notifications to your phone (Marketingfacts, 2015). And organizations also have the possibility to analyse your behavior. On the other side, the online world complements the physical stores very well, so the iBeacon could be an added value. Will people risk their privacy or is the iBeacon futureless in advance?

Reference list

Warc. (2014). Trends Snapshot: iBeacon – New ways to connect with shoppers. Retrieved 12 September, 2016, from http://www.warc.com.www.dbproxy.hu.nl/Content/ContentViewer.aspx?MasterContentRef=c5b5ac26-fe2a-4422-9c67-c0ddc8ad1e49&CID=A101622ID=c5b5ac26-fe2a-4422-9c67-c0ddc8ad1e49

3monthsNZ. (2014). IBeacon (and the Internet of Things). Retrieved 13 September, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVpgnaiah0g

Sbs2australia. (2014). IBeacon: Smartphones and Privacy. Retrieved 12 September, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFxmSzodorM

Daalder, L. (2015). Paul Manwaring (Glimworm): “Met beacons kun je relevant zijn op juiste moment en plek”. Retrieved 13 September, 2016, from http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/paul-manwaring-glimworm-met-beacons-kun-je-relevant-zijn-op-juiste-moment-e

Lapperre, T. (2014). Wat je moet weten over iBeacons. Retrieved 13 September, 2016, from http://www.emerce.nl/achtergrond/moet-weten-ibeacons

Van wijk, K. (2015). App beloont spitsmijdende studenten. Retrieved 13 September, 2016, from https://www.ovmagazine.nl/2015/02/app-beloont-spitsmijdende-studenten-1616/

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