iBeacon Technology at SWSX (Austin, TX)

According to the Pew Research report on Mobile Technology in January 2014, 90% of Americans own a cell phone and 58% of Americans own a smartphone. This equates to be about 285.3 million people who own a cellphone, and 138.6 million people own a smartphone. This number of smartphone will continue to grow in the future as younger generations will be growing up with this technology. Who actually remembers having a brick phone?

As this technology industry sector becomes a big player in the future, Apple is working on bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and online customers. As we all know now, when we want to buy something from a particular store, we do some research and comparison online first. Then, we would have to remember the specific item and drive to the store to purchase it (and sometimes have to ask the sales associate, if there are additional questions). That is old-fashion, outdated, or what your “hip grandma” does. Because my grandma doesn’t even know much about computers. 

Apple has introduced this new technology called iBeacons. These devices are powered by Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology to “talk” to nearby mobile devices (i.e, your smartphone or tablet). iBeacons are able to pinpoint your location, like if you are inside of Macy’s department store and show you items that are on sale or special deals that are relevant to you. When they have located you, the app would send you a push notification with an invitation for you to opt-in to the service. After you ave agreed, there will be special promotions and coupons sent to you.

Additionally, these iBeacons will soon eliminate your contact with a sales associate. Questions will be answered by the app since there will be customer reviews and recommended product for you. This program is also capable for you to check out and make purchases on your own. What would this mean for future sales associates…? Technology is going to replace these jobs.

With this iBeacon technology, Apple is hoping to create a seamless customer experience for future consumers. We are very close to this type of technology and bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping is quite important going into the future. Their recent iOS 7.1 update includes updated iBeacon technology which are capable of detecting the beacons even when an app is not open and not running in the background. Hmm, I am sniffing a potential privacy issue here…

There is a goldmine of data in everyone’s smartphone, so why are advertisers going to let that go to waste? That’s my thought.