Over 125 Business Uses for Beacon Technology
The Bluetooth Beacon is considered to be the next big marketing darling and understandably so as there seem to be plenty of uses for proximity Beacon marketing. These simple, low cost and highly effective devices can deliver a myriad of solutions to every day retail problems and could be the superior Bluetooth 4.0 based technology that surpasses NFC in one swift swoop.
Apple began using BLE and found uses for iBeacons in its US stores late last year. The app it released included an ‘EasyPay’ system where users could pay from the shop floor, as well as a ‘Get Help’ and ‘Get Support’ option. In addition, it allowed people to schedule Genius Bar appointments that sent a message to the selected device when the appointment was ready. It also offered a range of date/time and setting specific notifications from the Apple Store.
While the most obvious and most touted way is to use beacon technology to revolutionize retail, we believe it is just the tip of the iceberg and we are also seeing this in the requests that we receive.
Amazing Uses for iBeacons
In short, the potential is huge and so it’s highly likely 2015 will be the year of the iBeacon. So, we’re going to take a look at the top 125 ways that businesses are using, implementing and testing iBeacon technology.
Apple Store’s uses for iBeacons
IBeacons were placed around the store, so when people arrived they were welcomed with a message. In addition, there were also other iBeacons positioned around the shop. These sent notifications on reviews, purchases and accessory recommendations when a person was within proximity to a certain item.
MLB and its Uses for iBeacons
Major League Baseball is using the technology to create micro locations and then send fans with specific apps installed relevant content regarding the match, tickets and their team. Just one of the future uses for iBeacons.
Business Uses for iBeacons at Bar Kick
Bar Kick, a pub in London is providing its customers digital subscriptions to magazines on location when they walk through the door. This is then locked when they leave the location. This means no need for piles of magazines. One of many uses for iBeacons.
- Organize with other venues and hold a scavenger hunt or a pub crawl for example (link to the New York bars).
Beacon Crawl and iBeacon Beer Crawls
BeaconCrawl is the name given to a pub crawl based event that includes gamification via beacons. The event is like a traditional pub crawl, but with a twist. The iBeacons will be used to provide hints and tips to participants. For example those on the crawl with the app installed will receive push notifications of secret venues, drinks specials and discount offers. Participants will also benefit from accomplishing certain tasks and be able to share photos via the official app with others involved in the crawl. Aurnhammer, which told AppleInsider the idea, is to encourage “localised social and customer engagement”.
- Speed up the bar tab payment process and offer contactless payment.
Nivea and iBeacons
Nivea has created an app around iBeacons. The app finds uses for iBeacons by working with a low cost paper bracelet with the technology. This allows an adult to monitor a child’s proximity on locations such as the beach for example. The adult sets the distance the toddler is allowed to roam away from them and if the bracelet wearing child goes further than the set distance the iBeacon sends a message to the phone alerting the adult of this. One of many uses for iBeacons we’ll see around children in the near future. Why not take a look at 5 other apps that are using iBeacon in innovative ways.
- Promote an open house, apartment or condominium that is on lease or for sale
- Associations, brokers, and agents can send property descriptions to nearby buyers
- Potential buyers can receive GPS directions to your alternate listings in their area
- Add the MLS ID to display property detailed information.
- No need for web experts or app developers
- Potential buyers can schedule a viewing through SMS text & beacon technology
- Potential buyers receive instant information once they arrive to the property location
Advertising / Digital signage
- Smarter and personalized digital signage. Have the ads tailored to the audience and in their language (based on the phone’s language)
- No more Facebook page written on the ad. Just serve the link directly and let them become a fan
- If available, show which of his friends already uses the product promoted
- Advertising agencies will will use beacons for more interactive ads and promotions.
- Billboards will be able to interact with us based on apps that we have: react to what we do, give us rewards if we give proof of message read, etc.
Hospitality Industry Hotels Uses for iBeacons
Hotels can use iBeacons for check in and check out, to provide information on amenities and to also offer discounts and points of interest – as uses for iBeacons grow this will always be a central one.
- Perfect for small properties that want to engage customers with loyalty programs & large resorts interested in keeping guests up-to-date
- Help guest navigate around the property
- Deliver guest information of nearby entertainment or shopping in the area
- Use gamification similar to Foursquare in order to reward your customers: venue mayor, daily mayor, challenges.
- Based on movement pattern between 1 or 2 beacons, bring up information on people waiting in line: name, image, last orders, what to recommend with their usual orders.
- Offer information to passing clients about how full a venue is and/or how many free spaces are left.
- Outside hotels, you can detect an existing client by checking his data with booking data. That allows you to surprise your client: have the key and info filled out ready, prepare questions regarding his usual meals, drinks, activities
- Automated check-in at hostels or Airbnb locations
- Beacon that broadcasts do not disturb based on your settings or preferences in the app
- Be able to unlock doors or enable certain services
- Use a long range beacon to detect incoming customers that have already ordered via their mobile app and have their order done faster
- virtual concierge.
- Deliver digital newspapers when they are in the venue while they are drinking their coffee or ordering.
Uses for iBeacons in the Supermarket
Using iBeacons to send customers promotions of food items that they are within proximity to. The iBeacon can offer discount coupons on items and reviews of items. Customers can also pay for their goods with a mobile wallet in store.
McDonalds in Germany encourage users to use iBeacons through cooperation with QR codes. Customers scan the QR codes and add the coupon code from their local fast food store is added to Apple’s Passbook. Every time they visit that specific restaurant they are provided with a new offer.
Restaurants Uses for iBeacons
Restaurants can use iBeacons to provide menus, specials, calorie information, food and drink pairing information and even a history of the venue via a smartphone when a person walks in the door.
- Organize with other bars and restaurants to hold a scavenger hunt or a pub crawls
- Order food remotely if you are on the terrace of a restaurant and the waiter can pinpoint at what table you are seated.
Install beacons in airports to offer information about their location and where the check-in gates are or the exits
- Place beacons near the security check to find out if any of an airline’s passengers are at risk of losing a flight
- In train stations, passengers can receive information about any delays and what track they should be on.
- Subways will receive info if there are people desperately running down the corridor to catch them.
- Better tracking and less lost luggage in Airports
Virgin Atlantic is using the technology in Heathrow Airport, London. The airliner provides push notifications to customers within proximity of the private security channel to prepare their electronic boarding passes. They are also used to notify staff of temperature changes in the cabin so they can provide customers with blankets if needs be.
Retailers are embracing iBeacon technology using it to send localized content for discounts from retailers to customers while they are shopping. This is sent via push notifications and means there’s no need to open apps or even the lock screen on the phone.
- Product demonstration and installation videos that customers can open when they get home.
- Automated loyalty programs triggered by beacons.
- Fun scavenger hunts for customers.
- Triggering customer surveys after checkout.
- Instant job applications through text messages
- Send offers and discounts to a customer when near a product or a certain shelf
- Send a push when an old customer is nearby. After greeting, you can also check previous searches in your shop to let him know if what he was searching for is now in stock or on sale
- Allow shop or venue employees to bring up or quickly read useful information about the customer: preferred menu/beverage, name, what he ate last time.
- Get relevant data about slow days and full days to optimize flow and service
- Offer coupons to customers after a purchase to share with their friends, thus encouraging others to visit during a sale or during a special event.
- Shoppers can upvote or downvote their experience in a shop or mall.
- Shoppers can tag a product for a friend that could not find it or was looking for it.
- Have beacons place near important products and ask shoppers to place their phone close to it for more information or discounts (see Gamestop)
- Take advantage of people’s waiting time: offer them a time waster, something funny to read, information about a new product or service.
- Street side vendors will be able to announce their arrival for anyone within a 200ft radius of the beacon. So if my favorite “barista on a bicycle” is in the area, I might get a coupon or offer in my passbook while sitting at my desk.
- Offer rewards for completing tasks within the venue: take a picture with a new collection item and sharing, share the newest tech discovered in the store.
- Offer stickers and collectable items that they can only receive if they visit certain parts of the store or attend certain events or sales.
- detailed parking information and assistance
Combine social with beacons and use promotions, contests and challenges to get your loyal customers to bring in new people or even make it easier for them to promote the store: i.e. they get a higher discount if they invite and bring new customers.
Tourism & Tourist Attractions (i.e. Museums)
Museums and zoos using iBeacons have implemented their location based credentials. This means they can provide you with information on different items even if you don’t take the predetermined route. Unlike, audio tours where a route needs to be set, iBeacons can offer information once you’re in proximity of the specific piece, art or item.
- Allow visitors to read and write comments “attached” to exposition items that other people nearby or in the future will be able to access
- Show how much time I have left based on distance from beacons placed along the queue
- Take self guided tours
- Find points of interest and/or receive maps and info when walking into a museum
- Use toilets to show useful information about the venue or future events that will take place
- Based on the phone’s language setting, allow employees to know before hand what language to speak in.
- On beaches show weather info and a map with important locations for tourists near the beach: lifeguard, police, doctor, drug store.
- Skiing information at the base of ski lifts and possible recommendations.
Hospitals could use iBeacons to provide visitors and patients the rules for a specific part of the hospital directly to their smart device. They could also be used to provide maps and other information on the hospital unit and how to navigate it to the individual when they walk into the building. This could be utilised for finding the nearest lift and even providing wait times or online registration forms – another of the uses for iBeacons.
Conferences can use iBeacons to send information, white papers and relevant links in real time. This saves people writing down things from a PowerPoint.
Rental Cars are also somewhere iBeacons can be implemented. This could be done in a similar way to Apple’s in-store pick up use. The iBeacon could be used to give a live inventory of the rentals or car shares available. This would allow near-instant selection.
Visual Impairment is somewhere iBeacons could really come to the fore. The devices can be used alongside dictation technology, Bluetooth Braille displays and other smartphone options to provide info on space and venues.
Universities and Colleges
Universities can use the technology to provide maps, canteen menus and even class changes.
- Schools can send quick updates to students, faculty, and administrators easily
- Admissions offices can engage prospective students with compelling tours
- Campus security services can keep everyone in the loop and everyone safe with instant updates
IBeacons can be also used to take real time audience interaction, or allow people to participate in online discussions with those in proximity. This is something that could be very helpful during debates, lectures or other similar sessions. They also allow people to answer live audience polls.
In the office iBeacons can be used to push Wi-Fi codes to visitors and therefore allow them to log into the office Wi-Fi. This could be a far more effective way of doing things than providing individual pieces of paper.
Chaotic Moon is using iBeacons and GPS to map employees in its offices. This means that everyone knows where everyone else is at any time. This means people can find each other even if they move desks or are on their rounds and means less wasted time tracking people down.
Schools can use iBeacon in a similar manner, as the technology can be used to take attendance of children as they enter a classroom. An app called BeHere has implemented this already in its software. It also allows students to press a ‘request help’ button if they are too shy to put up their hands.
- Use the beacons as digital bulletin boards for courses or buildings for students
- See if your child is in class or if he is skipping, if he arrived late or not
- Teachers can broadcast information about their classes or exams
Dating may also be changed with iBeacon. Mingleton is an app that uses iBeacon technology to allow singletons to find others within small vicinity. This allows users to locate other singletons in a bar or restaurant and check out their profile information before approaching them. People can interact, buy each other drinks or organize dates with the app.
In the home the iBeacon could also revolutionize things and one app hoping to do this is Launch Here. The app allows users to program their iPhone to respond to its environment. So, when you enter your living room the app may respond to being in proximity to your Apple TV by opening your Apple Remote app on your phone. Needless to say there are numerous opportunities with an app like this. For example it could open up a shopping list app when you open your fridge, or provide you with cinema listings of programs currently showing when you step into the cinema.
- Use beacons for home automation or to activate certain devices or appliances in the house.
Large Events Networking
At large events the technology could be used to match attendees via profiles to make networking faster and more efficient.
- Drug stores can promote free check-ups to bypassers
- Hospitals can offer detailed maps with elevators and guides
- Hospitals can promote any event taking place (for example open days for pregnant women)
- Ambulances (and other emergency vehicles) can send warnings to the vehicles in front of it
- Offer location based recommendations (Shazam)
- Customers will probably be able to receive virtual rewards in games they play based on their activity within a shop. Similar to Tapjoy’s offer wall, but this time the tasks or objectives they neet to complete are in the physical world, not in the virtual one.
- There will be a lot of partnerships between music companies, magazines and game publishers on one side and public and private transportation on the other. We will probably start receiving recommendations on what to play to pass the time when we board a train or before we board a plane.
- When passing by a cinema, receive vouchers or information with what’s playing.
- Super fast check-in at events with geo fencing
- Augmented laser tag games.
- At stadiums promote merchandise, find and / or upgrade your seats
- Let your concert or event visitors play “King of the Hill” and earn points when they stand next to a beacon for a certain time. After earning the points, they receive a new beacon destination.
- You’re at Comicon, and your child would love to “run into” their favorite character. Pull up the event’s application and see a signal where that character is.
- Track items within the company. If there is a projector or a travel laptop being used, find out who’s got it.
- Let employees be aware of each other’s location, especially useful with big multinational companies.
- Better networking at conferences and events using beacons for location and info.
- Conference/meeting rooms – broadcast the room’s schedules, free/busy status, link to calendar. It can also broadcast important meeting information or the meeting agenda to people in the room.
- Deliver slides after a presentation using a beacon.
- Unlock the car, pop the trunk and other similar actions using beacons and a dedicated app, like Silvercar.
- Better traffic estimation and forecasts using beacons (at the moment Google Maps offers such a service)
- Remember to take out the trash. Just stick a beacon to the trash can. If you have a “take out the trash” appointment on a certain day, the trash can will remind you to take it out.
- Remember to take your umbrella if it is going to rain.
- Crowdsourced lost and found – https://www.thetrackr.com/
- Check out Launch Here.
- Remember where you parked.
- Auto lock your Mac when you walk away
- You ride your bike to a bar. You’re enjoying a pint of beer, when you receive an alert that your bike is moving away from where you parked it. You run outside and scare off the person trying to steal your bike. – adding to this, beacons have accelerometers so it just has to shake for an alert.
- You snuck a beacons in to the family car the other week. As your kid tries to joy ride while you are asleep you can an alert if the car moves 150’ from the house, you receive a text alert and a special ringtone goes off.
- Beacons are implemented in a large building to provide indoor mapping. An emergency occurs, and first responders can more quickly navigate to where the issue occurred – Beacons can also provide last known locations and since they can track temperature, can also show danger zones as long as they are active in case of fire.
Children Tracking While at the Park or Mall
- Track anything, be it personal or not i.e. Track your baby on the beach or at the theme park using a bracelet.
- Assistance for disabled or blind people. Use the beacons and voice activated directions or alerts to help someone that is visually impaired.
- iBeacon works instantly with Passbook. That means your clients will be able to receive offers, discounts or coupons by just “being there” during those events.
- Simulate a minefield. The UN ran a simulation using beacons. Whenever a person was too close to a beacon, a mine explosion sound would ring into the persons headphones accompanied by a victim’s real experience.
- People will rent out Beacons in the future the same way they are renting street space or yard space for the big billboards now.
- We will be alerted via beacons through our gps or maps apps whenever there is a new road under construction in front of us and information about the detour.
So, as you can see from this myriad of different examples, there is a wide range of different uses for iBeacons.
This is a list with all the ideas that have come up or that we have found so far. The list is not exhaustive and we accept any tips on new ideas or examples of how this technology is or can be deployed. Do you have an suggestion on how to use beacon technology? Then feel free to share it with us by emailing us at Info@freephonecharging.com or contact us.