Apple iBeacons were first introduced with iOS 7 and they use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to access and push information through an app on your smartphone by listening to signals around you. Essentially, the beacon uses your phone to locate you, but it has the potential to do so much more.
Retailers are using iBeacons to push specific and personalized content to consumers as they walk by their stores - things like coupons or deals or featured products - to draw customers into their store. Retailers can also use iBeacons as a way to reward their customers. Shopkick, for example, is an app that uses iBeacons to provide points to consumers when they walk in certain stores, which both draws customers in and rewards them. The points customers earn can then be used to redeem products like an iPad or gift cards to places like Target, gas stations, and more. Retailers can also use iBeacons to share exclusive content that is only available in-store.
iBeacons aren't just worthwhile for retailers. There is a new app called Shortwave, which allows users to send anonymous messages to anyone within 70-feet that also have the app downloaded. Employers could also use iBeacons as a way to clock when an employee enters an office. This fall, Apple will be releasing iOS 8, and with it will come a new iBeacon update which will place a location-based notification to your lock screens in a new way. The possibilities are endless, and as the technology advances, so can the way we use them.
What are your thoughts on iBeacons? Are they helpful tools or an annoyance? What are some other ways of using them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!