Over the last few months, there has been a lot of noise around the use of iBeacon technology in the Retail sector. The technology nevertheless has fast found good adoption deep within this segment with ongoing use cases like marketing, rewards/loyalty, POS, consumer engagement within the store, marketing analytics, customer feedback and so on. There could be a few more unknown use cases unearthed as the technology usage takes a learning curve within the Retail Industry over the next few years. While this Beacon-buzz is cruising along, a few close followers would be quick to spot that the same technology can be considered within other industry segments outside of Retail like Hotels & Restaurants, Traffic-Transportation, Interactive Tourism, Casinos, Cinema, Exhibitions-Events-Conferences, Airlines-Airports, Fuel refilling stations, multi-level parking lots, Access control systems and so on. If one starts looking at the beacon from a broad outlook, these wireless sensors can be put to use in a variety of ways. Let’s take a quick look into a few areas where Beacon can be envisaged:
Hotels: People use different apps to book their hotel stay, check-in, and choose the preferred hotel room before their arrival. If these hotels can gather and analyze the necessary customer intelligence collected via the travel app, together with their existing CRM – the Beacon can be a real game changer from a seamless customer experience perspective. The hotel front desk can be notified as soon as the guest arrives at the gate, necessary steps can be taken to ease-out the check-in formalities and grant keyless entry access to our phone. While we are at close proximity to the room-door, Beacon can activate the door to unlock automatically. Here, the Beacons can be employed to allow access to specific people in certain areas of the hotel. Subsequently, the guests can use it for room services, preferences, payments, check-outs, rewards, feedback and so on. The guests can also be guided through an interactive self-guided tour of the hotel or fed with notifications while moving around the hotel premises – giving necessary directions/prompts, one can easily be absorbed without the need of unnecessary interactions with the hotel staff.
Multi-level Parking Lot: Beacon can be used to give directions to your car to find an appropriate parking place in crowded areas/ high-density parking lots. For example: while driving towards the parking gate, one can get alerts on the phone that the first 3 floors are completely filled and there are unoccupied spaces in the lower ground floor or the 4th floor.
Beacon as an Access Control System: Beacon technology can be used by staffs as a keyless entry device or indoor identifiers if placed within an office, shop floor, warehouse or hospital premises. Again the Beacon can detect, identify & authenticate the access when we are at close proximity to unlock the door.
On Road Traffic: Beacon can be used by public for getting real time traffic updates, get warning notifications about traffic or information about alternative routes & take diversions well before getting stuck in a thick traffic jam. It can also be used during an emergency service like an ambulance carrying a Beacon device, to maneuver through thick traffic or enter into a busy street blocked by a vehicle bollard that can be unlocked within a proximity range.
Restaurants: Beacon can help in finding restaurants, check or make reservations & manage orders even before reaching the restaurant. Just imagine if we are new to a place, walking around & getting notifications about a nearby restaurant that can offer the type of food we are looking for. Using the Beacon it could help us to know the route directions, seat availability or waiting time in a real time basis. Using this information we can place or manage orders and even make payments easily. The Beacon can also notify the host or hostess when we are at a nearby spot, so that it helps them get prepared & service our reservation. In case of any delays from our end, we can send a quick message to the restaurant informing about the delay using Beacon.
Exhibitions or Concerts or Festivals: Beacon can provide directions to the desired locations and manage the flow of crowds or provide push notification features in cases of emergency when there is a large crowd to manage, especially during concerts or shopping malls. Beacon is flexible enough for situations like broadcasting messages to a group of people during any emergency or overcrowding.
Conference & Events: People attending the large events or a conference getting a push notification with registration codes while they are about to reach the event location. Also, welcoming the users for the session, providing them necessary directions to the conference hall, thanking them for their participation or gathering event feedback/suggestions. There might be multiple events happening in one location, so by using Beacon we can notify & direct the target audience about the different events while they are navigating around the building.
Interactive Tourism: People visiting from different countries need not have to check out maps & find out routes or directions about nearby shops, hotels, eat-outs, restaurants or even police stations. Beacon can be utilized as a virtual tour guide, when deployed at common and popular tourist places. The tourist based on his or her real-time location – can check out Audios or Videos about the place, its history & specialty.
With the increased penetration of Mobile enabled technologies, the adoption of Beacon is for sure bound to go up leaps and bounds. There can be many real-world applications that may not be envisaged here and yet could take a prominent place in the future of Beacon. It’s only a matter of time before we learn to embrace them and prepare ourselves for exploring the unexplored!
Senior Manager – Business Development, RapidValue Solutions