Apple iBeacon, an indoor proximity system, is invading the market. The system detects all mobile devices in a diameter of up to 10 meters and enables to push notifications towards them. Mariott International and Easyjet are both testing the system according to tnooz.
The iBeacon enables to push relevant notifications to travellers with an iOS or Android device, depending on which location they are in. Compared to a GPS, the bluetooth system delivers more specific awareness and is an asset for indoor location. However, to be able to receive notifications, the app of the company needs to be downloaded on the device and the bluetooth functionality switched on. The iBeacon terminal notifies the application only when it detects iOS devices. It is able to alert apps when a consumer is approaching or leaving an area.
iBEACON IN AIRPORTS
After American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, it is the turn of EasyJet to test the iBeacon, reports FutureTravelExperience. The low-cost company have installed iBeacon in Luton, Gatwick and Charles de Gaulle airports, in order to facilitate customers’ airport experience. EasyJet pushes notifications to passengers once they are around the bag drop and security area, reminding them when passports need to be presented for example. iBeacon technology is about to take off and to be adopted, as SITA has already accommodated 10 airports this year, including two in partnership with American Airlines
iBEACON AND THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
Mariott International has also announced it will test the iBeacon technology, reports Mobile Commerce Daily. The new version of its apps Mariott Mobile Guest Services launched by the end of July will include a new service 'LocalPerks' linked to iBeacon functionality. Customers, who are members of the Mariott rewards loyalty programme, who have an Apple device, the Marriott apps and turned on the Bluetooth functionality will then be able to receive offers on their device based on their precise location within the hotel. This geo-targetting enables to reach consumers with real-time and contextual offers. Near the restaurants, costumers will receive discounts on meals and near the leisure centre customers will receive offer on spa treatments. The hotels will also add offers in local businesses around the hotel.
THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR DESTINATIONS
The iBeacon is a cheap technology, easy to install and easy to use. It’s a good way to develop proximity communication. For example, destinations could take advantage of the technology to accommodate the tourist boards’ offices and be able to push information to visitors about events going on in the destination or warnings about the weather (by the sea or in the mountain) or even about how long they have to wait to get some information.
STILL SOME CHALLENGES
Although the iBeacon allows to be more accurate when pushing notifications to consumers, the technology still requires too many settings (download an app, turning on bluetooth) to have the chance to be adopted by consumers in this version. However, this new technology demonstrates the increasing requirement of developing localised and contextual communication, especially with the growing adoption of smartphones. The future of iBeacons is likely a technology working on its own with no application needed. But then a new question arises: how intrusive can marketing be?
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