In the world of mobile development everyone is always talking about beacons. The ease of use, the data collection, the consumer connection, etc. Sounds great right?

But wait a minute… what exactly is a beacon?

Beacons are small Bluetooth enabled devices that can send messages to smartphones and tablets through mobile applications when the user is in range of the device. They are small enough to be attached to a wall, shelf, or counter-top making them incredibly easy to install. Beacons have very low energy consumption and at a typical price of under $40 they are affordable to businesses of all sizes. According to Entrepreneur magazine by the year 2018 there will be an estimated 4.5 million beacons in use in the United States.

Beacons in Brick-and Mortar Retailers

Beacons are bringing a digital experience into brick-and-mortar retail stores. The in-store experience can be enhanced by using beacons to send messages directly to shoppers through their smartphones. These messages can include coupons, information about special promotions, let consumers know that they are near a location, or simply just say hello. Macy’s is just one of many retailers that are using beacons in order to track customer movement throughout the store to create a better shopping experience, inform shoppers about sales and discounts, and to give product recommendations.

Beacons in Hotels

The hotel industry has the potential to create an entirely new experience for guests using beacons. From automatic check-in and key-less room entry, to room service and navigation, the possibilities for impeccable customer service are endless.These features could even be linked to loyalty and reward programs to maximize guest experience. Beacons would not only benefit guests, but they would allow hotels to collect important analytical information to improve operations Marriot International has implemented beacons in many of their hotels. When guests download the Marriot Guest Services App they receive push-notifications about amenities offered by the hotel. They also receive coupons and special offerings for bars, restaurants, spas, and retail stores within the hotel as they enter the range of the beacons.

Beacons in Mass Transportation

The mass transportation industry has unlimited potential when it comes to the use of beacons. Bus and tram routes can be mapped out through a mobile application. As the rider approaches their desired stop an alert can be sent to their phone letting them know that they are nearing their destination. This would be especially useful for visitors, or those new to a route. Data received from beacon information can be used to improve the efficiency of routes and to obtain feedback from riders. Bucharest, Romania began using beacons in 2015, to better serve their passengers. The main goal behind this project was to have increased safety and security for their passengers, especially the visually impaired and children.

Beacons in Airports

Beacons can be used in airports as a tool to help passengers find exactly what they are looking for while waiting for their next flight. Because GPS mapping is not always an option for indoor facilities, beacons are a great solution. Passengers can easily find the correct terminal, the right gift shop, or the perfect place to have have dinner. Miami International Airport has recently started to use beacons to assist passengers with check-in, baggage claim, and parking.

Beacons are becoming the center of mobile development because of their ability to provide solutions for an infinite number problems faced by business and consumers everyday. The ability to create great customer experiences while cohesively collecting valuable data is an opportunity that companies in every industry should take advantage of.

If you or your company is interested in learning about how your business can make use of Bluetooth beacons, contact us and we’ll be glad to setup a consult.

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“15 Companies From Airports to Retail Already Using Beacon Technology.” Umbel. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

“Beacons in Buses: Tailored Public Transportation.” OnyxBeacon IBeacon Hardware for Micro Location and Context IBeacon CMS for Retailers RSS. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

BELICOVE, MIKAL. “Everything Business Owners Need to Know About Beacons.” Entrepreneur. 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 4 Nov. 2015

. Mallik, Neha. “How Hotels Can Use Beacons to Enhance Guest Experiences.” Beaconstac RSS. 8 July 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.

Oates, Greg. “Marriott Expands Its Beacon LocalPerks Program to More Hotels.” Skift. 28 Nov. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

“Passengers, Airlines and Retailers to Benefit as Miami International and SITA Cover the Airport with Beacons | SITA.” Sita. Create Success Together. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.