iBeacons are amongst Apple’s latest, most exciting and most talked-about innovations, but what exactly are they?
What is it that has captured the attention of so many bloggers, businesses and technology enthusiasts alike (ourselves included)?
What are iBeacons?
The iBeacons themselves are nothing to write home about; they are little more than low-energy Bluetooth transmitters – a technology that has been available for years, and has become a staple feature of any modern mobile phone worth its salt. Why, then – I hear you ask – all of the hullabaloo? Type ‘iBeacon’ into Google (other search engines are available1), and you will find numerous articles lauding the new technology as the next big thing.
It is not what these beacons are, but how they are being used, that appears to have piqued the internet’s imagination.
Bluetooth Technology And Apps
The signal transmitted by an iBeacon is picked up by certain applications on your phone. Upon receiving this signal, the ‘app’ responds in whichever way its developers so wish.
Picture the scene. There you are, merrily walking down the street one afternoon, and you happen across a popular chicken restaurant2 . Happily, (as this example would simply not work otherwise), you have the pertinent app installed on your phone. The signal from a cleverly-placed iBeacon communicates with said app and – hey presto – you are alerted that a special promotional offer is available inside.
Long story short, you’re having chicken for lunch.
And that’s the crux of it. That is the reason that so many people have become so animated about iBeacons, and their immense potential. Targeted marketing, the like of which has never been seen before. Not only does an iBeacon allow you to reach your existing customer base (those who have installed your app), but it allows you to do so in-situ. Covert, location-driven advertising that catches consumers precisely when and where you want it to.
The fact that this new technology is powered by Bluetooth only adds to its appeal. As we alluded to at the beginning of this blog, all modern Smartphones have Bluetooth capability. And all modern consumers have a modern Smartphone.
For those of us outside of the retail industry, the effective use of iBeacons may require a little more creative thought. Virgin Atlantic have already tested iBeacons in Heathrow Airport, resulting in phones that have your boarding pass ready for you on arrival at security.
Speaking from a field marketing perspective, sponsored events may well offer an ideal opportunity for the use of iBeacons. Before entry into an event – perhaps as part of the booking process – consumers could be prompted to download a specific app. This app could then become a call-to-action at various locations dotted throughout the event, allowing people to enjoy a fuller, more interactive brand experience and simultaneously driving data.
The fusion of creativity and ground-breaking technology has long been strength of Kommando’s experiential, and field marketing campaigns. The iBeacon provides a perfect example of such a marriage – combine this new technology with a splash of ingenuity, and the possibilities are endless.
 though inadvisable
 not necessarily Nando’s