It’s been a while since I wrote my last article on how Beacons has progressed from being BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to cloud based devices. In this post I would like to draw your attention to the role of these location-based technologies in the digital realm. As the world is investing more in mobility and our lives are more digitally connected with the Internet of Things, here’s a look at how enterprises can benefit from this technology and related gadgets.
Beacons is fast gaining on the retail market and also creating space for itself in other fields like that of healthcare and hospitality sectors. An article in Forbes mentioned that the beacon market will touch $4.1 billion sales in 2015, while it will climb sharply to $44.4 billion in the coming year.
Location-based technologies are gaining more popularity because they target a more focused group of audience, with a localized appeal or in other terms people in proximity.
The Growing Market for Location-based Technologies
Consider next time you go to your favorite store on a sale day and there’s no need to hunt for the best deal; they are right there on your phone buzzing with all the info. And to add cherry to the cake, you will not need to stand in the long queue for bills, the amount will be auto-deducted from your account, based on the card details you saved last time with the store.
What a joyful shopping experience it will be for you! And it will all be possible with the aid of location-based technology in the store. A survey by IDC during the year 2014 showed that both Line of Business (LOB) and IT organizations showed high interest in location-based Technology. Around 30% of both LOB and IT organizations considered their mobile strategy all-inclusive; while 70% still found it basic.
The above stated stats certainly imply that there are increasing adopters for LBS and in the coming years this interest is going to expand. As businesses have turned more customer-centric, the need to cater to the end user directly and with enhanced user experience has become the foremost concern of service-providers. And LBS in these situations provide a more personalized touch, by taking into account the previous purchase or interest history of the customer.
The Different Industries Benefitting from Location-based Technologies
Retail tops the list of sectors that have prospered by applying location-based technologies, followed by hospitality and other industries. WiFi another LBS when collaborated with Beacons help in micro-fencing which is, creating a more concentrated beacon signal strength within a boundary, for instance a shelf or particular part of a store.
This sector has benefitted the most by making use of location-based technology. Stores which are already facing a stiff competition from the online stores, have been able to provide more personalized service to their customers; all with the aid of a gadget, SDK and a related app.
If you can book a table for yourself with the aid of an app; it gets even easier when you reach the restaurant and the best deal for the day flashes on your phone screen. And everything is easily sorted when you get your bill on your phone too and the payment is equally instant, that too online. Auto-deduction from the saved history of your bank or credit card details makes it all a hassle-free process. LBS is being chosen by the hospitality industry to create better customer relationship; it is convenient for the customer as well as the service-provider to help him remember the preferences of consumers and serve them better.
Initially used to aid the blind in moving around in the airport premises and take care of their belongings; LBS is now being used in large areas to help users with the indoor localization services. Shipping and transportation companies are making use of the LBS technology for tracking the location of vehicles, so that the customer is assured of the security and have an idea about the current location of their goods too.
With the infrastructure sharing services of Estimote Cloud now the doors are also open for third-parties to access your beacon app; thus helping the user get more info even if they do not have the app installed.
You will not forget to water your plants; take your pills right on time; stay informed about the distance you ran or the calories you burnt; even your dog will not go astray if it goes for a walk by itself and it will all be possible because you have a LBS device attached to each of these daily needs and a you will be prompted on your mobile or wearable about each of these.
After glancing at all these developments I feel assured that location-based technology is here to stay and they will only be transforming towards better. To learn more about how competitive beacons have become, read this blog.
Some Leading Organizations Making Use of Location-based Technologies
A recent article by technavio portrayed some leading names from different sectors which have created a distinctive place for themselves in LBS, here are a few:
Google and Apple
Apple took over WifiSLAM Inc. in the year 2013 and invested in 3D-based Indoor LBS Applications; which means we might soon see something big. Google has been into LBS since some time now, the best example being Google Maps, also being the provider of indoor LBS Solutions. It provides developers an SDK, the middleware and all the requirements to create their apps.
Ever since it acquired Nokia, Microsoft has also stepped and shown keen interest in the LBS sector. For a more customer-focused approach tech-giants like Microsoft are using HERE, the world’s first location cloud for location platform, location content and location apps for any operating system.
With a widespread existence in the US Shopkick has turned into a prominent name with more 6 million loyal customers; placing it next to Amazon and eBay. This organization has some leading brand names as its partners and surely a great future ahead.
The Future of Location-based Technologies
As the world is heading towards consumerization and more businesses are going digital to create a better and more loyal clientele; location-based technologies have all the indications of a bright future.
Nearly 1/3rd of all retail locations in US are expected to implement beacons technology by end of 2015, which means over 85% retail outlets will have adopted LBS.
The increasing demand for faster connectivity is also an insignia that people are looking for stronger and concentrated networks that help them connect better (in other terms more intuitive) with their needs. As the developers and also the service-providers in the LBS sectors are trying to combat issues such as that of security and signal strength; in the coming days we are sure to get efficient services with a personalized appeal.
LBS has been there since some time and with the launch of beacons and similar such technologies, there’s a clear signal that this service is here to stay and make an impact in the coming days. It has already become a part of the Internet of Things and as this ecosystem expands, the role of LBS will also magnify.