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Apple Looking to Gain Eyes with iBeacon

For those who want to taste the cutting edge of development, this week is the much-vaunted WWDC, or the Apple World Wide Developer’s Conference. This is where Apple engineers and developers gather and work on various Apple-based innovations.

The Wall Street Journal reports that plans for iBeacon will be released at the beginning of the conference, which is leaving marketers with open eyes and ears, as this technology plans to do for indoor environments much what GPS did for outdoor spaces.Untitled design (13)

iBeacon isn’t an entirely new concept: it was actually announced at last year’s WWDC. It has not advanced much since then, with the exception of a few outlets that have started working with the technology in intriguing ways:

  • Macy’s and Shopkick. The retail giant has linked with app Shopkick to enhance the user experience at Macy’s locations in New York and San Francisco. When customers enter Macy’s, a Bluetooth reminder would appear on the screen to open the Shopkick app. While open, the app will offer deals and recommendations as customers peruse the store. Shopkick can also connect to a customer’s online browsing habits and recommend things in the store. For instance, if a customer ‘likes’ a pair of boots online, the app can remind the customer that the boots are available at Macy’s.
  • MLB and NFL. Surprise, surprise, sports giants have been jumping on the iBeacon trend. By the end of March, roughly 20 MLB parks will be outfitted with iBeacon technology to improve the customer’s experience at the stadium. Functionality will vary greatly by park, but many are planning to use iBeacon to point out areas of interest, concession and shopping deals, and enhance loyalty and rewards programs.

Additionally, the 2014 Superbowl was awash with iBeacon use, aimed to help fans from out-of-town find the entry gate or promote in-store sales. There were also a variety of iBeacons sprinkled throughout Times Square and other instances, alerting fans to places of interest.

The use of iBeacon is particularly intriguing for marketers since it offers a new and innovative approach to marketing. While this sort of technology can be harnessed through the use of Foursquare, being able to directly connect with customers without having to rely on them signing up for a social media intermediary will be a serious breakthrough in the relationship between company, customer, and technology.

Does the idea of bringing iBeacon technology into your marketing arsenal intrigue you? What would you use it for?