iBeacon: The New Digital Dimension Making Smart Cities Possible

iBeacon: The New Digital Dimension Making Smart Cities Possible

‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’

Dubai Design District, or d3 is home to the Brand Lounge and the latest addition to Dubai’s Smart City vision set to be unveiled at the World Expo 2020, entitled, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

The district is employing break through technologies like Apple’s iBeacon to aggregate and analyze data from various sensors, solutions, and partner applications to support a wide range of urban services.

Smart Solutions

The district was the smart destination of choice to inaugurate the Internet of Things World forum in association with Cisco, hosting a variety of life – enhancing initiatives, including smart parking meters, smart energy meters, smart waste management and smart security solutions.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IOT) is the network of physical objects, devices, vehicles, buildings and other items, embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.  IOT is opening up a world of capabilities with immense possibilities.

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon, also referred to as just Beacon is the name of Apple’s Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology capable of providing location-based information and services to both iOS and Android smartphone devices.

The one-way communication method can broadcast or ‘advertise’ self-contained packets of data, which are collected by devices such as smartphones and used for a variety of smartphone applications to trigger actions like push messages, app responses, and prompts.

Users must install specific apps on their smartphones to interact with the beacons, a safety measure that prevents users being spammed or potentially tracked against their will.  There has also been some discussion of iBeacon’s capabilities as a payment system but Apple has released a separate system of NFC (Near Field Communication) for it’s Apply Pay, a two-way technology with a shorter radius.

One application of the technology is using points of interest, such as a store, bus stop, room or a more specific location like a piece of furniture or a vending machine, to trigger delivery of the packets.

What’s great about the technology is that it’s so easy to use.  BLE is a wireless personal area network technology used for transmitting data over short distances with minimal energy consumption and cost.  It can last up to 3 years on a single coin cell battery.

How iBeacon is Boosting Business

iBeacon technology opens up a whole new universe of marketing to retailers and the ability to engage shoppers in-store where it matters most.  It allows you to intersect shoppers in the path-to-purchase and deliver contextual experiences at the peak of their relevance to consumers. This specific targeting vastly drives usage, retention and new ad revenue.

Imagine you can install apps on your phone that only receive relevant information when you are in the vicinity of that product or service. Retail apps that notify you of special offers as you enter a store, museums that deliver information about an exhibit you are viewing, arenas that transmit full event details, restaurants that highlight a dish of the day, or even traffic messages warning of congestion as you enter certain areas. The possibilities are limitless.

Who’s Using iBeacon Successfully?

iBeacon solution, inMarket has been the first to take the technology into the mass market with their Mobile-to-Mortar platform in the United States.  The platform enables publishers, retailers, and brands to connect with consumers in-store and is the first multi-retailer implementation of iBeacon technology, spanning 250 grocery store locations working with over 100 brands and reaching 20 million shoppers Other companies like Mobiquity Technologies have followed suit, installing iBeacon-enabled networks into the corridors and common areas of over 100 U.S. malls.

McDonalds implemented iBeacon across 26 of it’s franchises in Georgia, USA over four weeks, recording an 8% uplift in McChicken Sandwich sales and 7% Chicken McNugget sales.  These are impressive results that have spurred other major brands like Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet to trial the technology to improve their customer experience beyond their competitors.

Who’s Using iBeacon Successfully in MENA?

Knoq.me, is a Dubai based startup using iBeacon technology to make the Emirates Smart vision a reality.  Knoq is a free iOS and Android compatible application to deliver push notification from iBeacons in real-time location and trigger smartphone functions to enhance user experience.  In basic terms, it allows companies, especially retailers, to deliver event advisories, hot deals, announcements, discount coupons and other useful tips based on real time locations.

The GCC based, Al Madani Group of companies recently implemented the technology to provide a greater customer experience across its Levi’s, Dockers and Charley’s Bagel Bar brands.

The Future of iBeacon

This article outlines the immense successes of iBeacon since it’s launch in 2013 even whilst still in its infancy.  The Internet of Things is on the brink of exponential growth that will revolutionize the way we interact with each other and it is imperative that brands begin to embrace this technology now to position themselves ahead of the competition, before they get left behind.

Brand Lounge is fully aligned with Dubai’s Smart Cities initiative and alongside cutting edge partners, we are actively working with clients to integrate new technologies into their digital strategy and deploy them with ease.  iBeacon is just one of those technologies bursting with untapped potential.

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