In the early days of Febuary 2013, Apple was silently installing and testing a new technology called iBeacons at a number of Major League Baseball Ballparks in the United States. Recently, Apple’s first iBeacon location was made public at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. Apple now plans on integrating the technology into their Apple Retail stores.
Apple’s iBeacon works on Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE), it is also called as Bluetooth 4.0 & Bluetooth Smart. This mode provides low data-rate communication up to 70 meters, not voice speeds like regular Bluetooth.
The iBeacon system will initially help with customer sales and later implemented to assist with in store services such as Genius Bar appointments and workshops. The integration of Apple’s retail stores with iBeacons will be used in cohesion with a future update to the Apple Store app, which can give detailed information on a product when a user walks near an item, according to a report from 9to5Mac.
At the moment, interactive iPad displays are used by Apple for its many first party products in store. Information about many products on the shelves can be obtained by users with the updated Apple Store app. The updated Apple store however would help users obtain information about the various products on shelves.
“Apple is said to have begun stocking up on iBeacon transmitters, and the company, in the next few days, will begin installing these sensors in many Apple Stores across the United States. These transmitters will be placed on the tables that house Apple products in addition to store shelves holding accessories. The technology will serve as a way to both improve the Apple shopping experience, and in-turn, boost product sales” explained 9to5Mac.
According to them, Apple’s iBeacons will give detailed information on products as users walk by them. This would be transmitted to the user’s iDevice using BLE and be displayed as a notification.
Apple is also developing a new indoor mapping feature for a future version of iOS, which will help customers navigate their way around stores and buildings. Major League Baseball (MLB) has recently begun testing of iBeacons to improve overall user experience at baseball stadiums.
In recent news, WPP agencies Joule, Mindshare, Kinetic and Somo, are in separate talks with Apple to trial their iBeacons software with many retailers, so that its viability as an in store marketing tool can be verified.