iBeacon went live on all 254 stores of Apple in the U.S on December 6. This is set to change the future of retail shopping according to Apple. With the help of this technology, Apple will guide and provide the user a hassle free shopping experience once inside a store utilising this technology.
The iBeacon technology which is part of iOS 7 allows Apple Store to track you once inside. The Apple Store app provides the user relevant information on the phone provided you allow them to track you. This technology uses low-power Bluetooth transmitters that are hidden on the shelves and display tables in the Apple store. With the help of these transmitters the store app can provide instant notifications on the hardware you are checking and guide you to the products you are interested in. It also provides alerts to the customer when the order is ready along with the order number that you can show the clerk during checkout.
This technology was demonstrated by Apple to The Associated Press at the Fifth Avenue store in NYC this week. Apple had installed around 20 iBeacon transmitters, many of which were iPhones and iPads that were placed at specific distances and provided precise user information about their location in the store.
It is interesting to note that iBeacon technology will not be limited to Apple devices and stores alone. This could be used in Museums, Railway platforms, parks, art galleries and other places to provide visitors relevant information on the products and services. Since this technology is also compatible with Android devices with Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 4.3 provided they have a companion app, the world of possibilities for this technology is unlimited. Apple is not the first to offer this technology. A store at Macy’s called J.C. Penney uses this to present customers with discounts.
Some analysts have raised concerns about user privacy where each and every move of the customer can be tracked.
iBeacon does sound like a great idea, let’s see where the future of this technology lies.
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