iBeacons: a tool just for retail?

From the website www.ocregister.com

Retail industry just got a new tool for collecting people’s data and giving the consumers a more personal interaction. The iBeacons are small sensors that are connected through bluetooth technology and can send to people’s mobile devices specific information/content about products located in a store, for example. Most of the examples presented using this type of device was related to retail stores. The consumers could enhance their experience and because of the mobile technology characteristics, the store will able to collect relevant data from consumers, providing special material to stores to improve the customer experience. It’s a like a loop. People get into the store with their mobile phones, they are able to access specific content from products and with that they give precious data to the retail shop. This data will be analysed carefully and will be able to give insights about the customer experience. It seems very simple.

From the website http://geemo.co.uk

The great deal is that this could be applicable in other contexts that are not totally market-related. For example, in museums or exhibitions, this sensor could be implemented near pieces of art, showing specific content to visitors (see the video below).

Apple iBeacon technology applied to classical art in Antwerp Museum from ProphetsAgency on Vimeo.

And if applied to games?
Imagine the situation through which the content that is shared with the visitors are also part of a game? Wow, better! :) As iBeacons can combine data and location, so why not using this for game-like activities with targeted behaviours? With the opportunity to track the players’ journey locally, it would be possible to develop specific actions, collecting data and giving personal feedback.

And not only that, the implementation of sensors like that are good opportunities for data scientists and people that really can transform the data into something meaningful and return to the user.

Other contexts
Now, if we could apply this to airports or hospitals? If we could send to people really relevant information like how to prevent ourselves from some diseases? And for tourism? iBeacons could be distributed into a city, promoting special content for tourists, for example, and collecting people’s feedback. Why not? Or even better, the content could be translated to people.

Ethics?
Data collection from people implies ethical problems. So far, no one has mentioned any aspect regarding local-related data and the utilisation of that for marketing purposes. It’s possible that in the future we will have to ask for people’s consent to use their data for those purposes. As some applications, a small pop-up appears into the screen asking for permission to share location data. This could be a way to clear ethical issues.

Citizen science apps

In the case of citizen science, people could find really relevant content and could apply this for a bigger purpose. Citizen science is a kind of crowd-sourced science, through which people collaborate to scientific projects involving a specific community or region. Sensors like the iBeacon could help to monitor regions that need to mapped, for example. The community would be able to participate into a bigger network, sharing experiences, ideas and perspectives locally. So, the idea is that not only retail market could benefit from iBeacons. Why not applying this for the whole community? It’s time to think and act locally.

Read more
Citizen Science
Estimote
Is 2014 the year of iBeacons?
What is Apple iBeacon? Here’s what you need to know 
Why Micro-Location iBeacons May Be Apple’s Biggest New Feature For iOS 7
8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.