Beacon Stories January 2, 2015

Way back in July, Apple registered FCC certification for a new piece of iBeacon Bluetooth hardware. Naturally, 9to5Mac covered the release of wireless certification documents for the hardware. It was unclear by those filings the nature of the product, whether it was targeted at use in Apple Stores, some form of developer testing equipment or something else entirely. The product was never made publicly available for purchase, for unknown reasons.

However, time has elapsed such that the rest of Apple’s submitted documents are now available to the public. Vitally, this includes a user manual which immediately signals that this iBeacon hardware was meant for developers, presumably to test iBeacon integration in their own apps. It’s unclear, though, if this is meant to be used ‘in the wild’. Read on for an exposition on the workings of this mysterious device.

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Beacon Stories November 13, 2014

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The rivalry between Apple and Samsung looks set to enter a new field as Samsung has announced a direct competitor to iBeacon, called Proximity.

Samsung Proximity is a mobile marketing platform that connects consumers with places via cutting-edge Samsung location and context-aware technology.

With Samsung Proximity, visitors are able to experience rich content related to their location, and marketers can better engage with customers for increased sales and brand awareness.

The applications Samsung describes for the service are identical to those already in use with Apple’s iBeacon partners …  expand full story

Beacon Stories August 8, 2014

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After announcing it would take advantage of iBeacons deployed by inMarket in grocery stores back in April, today Condé Nast’s Epicurious is announcing a partnership with another iBeacon network to further expand the context-sensitive notifications beamed to its users. Swirl, the same company behind recent beacon deployments in Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord & Taylor, will now deliver location-aware notifications to the Epicurious app via its network of beacons already deployed in retailers:

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Beacon Stories July 28, 2014

Upmarket German restaurant group testing iBeacons to recognize & reward frequent diners

iBeacons seems to be gaining momentum: the same day the Hudson’s Bay Company announced its rollout of the technology to its department stores, upmarket German restaurant group the Mook Group has told the WSJ of its own plans to use iBeacons to recognize and reward frequent diners.

The app clocks the time guests spend in the restaurant and uses a ranking system to reward them for their loyalty […]

Diners can use the app to climb their way from “Guest” ranking to “Addicted Connoisseur” level based on the amount of time spent at any one of group’s venues. Guests with higher-level app statuses are rewarded with a free welcome drink, automatic placement on the guest list for future events or even fast-track entrance.

Measuring how long someone spends in a restaurant might be a slightly odd basis on which to reward them, but owner Christian Mook says that they later hope to track items ordered and total spend.

“It will be even more interesting when we get to the next step and we know guest’s names, what people drink and eat, how often and when the client comes in – whether for private reasons or business reasons, all as a way to improve service,” Mr. Ladjimi said, adding that any access to information would be on a voluntary basis and with the client’s authorization.

Diners don’t need to interact with the app while they are in the restaurant – they simply need to install and authorize it beforehand. So long as it is installed on their phone when they visit, the app and the iBeacons do the rest.

If you’re not yet fully up to speed with iBeacon technology, you can check out our briefing here.

It’s not the first department store with plans for iBeacons, but it’s certainly one of the biggest we’ve seen yet deploying the Bluetooth LE beacons that send shoppers location-aware, targeted notifications. Today Hudson’s Bay Company announced that it’s rolling out an iBeacon shopping experience in some of its 130 The Bay and Lord & Taylor department store locations across the US and Canada. expand full story

Beacon Stories July 22, 2014

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With more and more retailers, event spaces, and others deploying Apple’s Bluetooth LE iBeacon technology in order to beam iPhone and iPad users context and location aware notifications, we still haven’t seen much data on how the beacons are improving ad engagement for marketers. InMarket, a company installing iBeacons in grocery stores around the country that talk to a number of apps from its advertising partners, today shared some of the first stats from a specific consumer brand using the platform.  expand full story

Beacon Stories July 14, 2014

Estimote iBeacon beacon screen grab

Estimote, the company behind the iBeacons I tested in my Launch Center Pro 2.3 coverage and used by easyJet in select European airports, is introducing a round of improvements to its beacon product line and corresponding software today. The primary focus of the improvements deals with power management and how Estimote’s iBeacons consume battery. In short, Estimote’s iBeacons are getting smarter about how they connect and stay powered by adding two beacon power modes including Basic and Smart…

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Beacon Stories June 16, 2014

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One of the big debates regarding iBeacons, the tech that allows iOS apps to receive location-aware notifications over Bluetooth LE, is whether or not the experience will become intrusive for users. Imagine having your local grocery store’s app installed. Once the store has installed a few beacons, you could soon find yourself overcome with notifications as you walk around without ever even opening the app. You run the risk of users getting frustrated and potentially avoiding or deleting the app entirely. However, that hasn’t been the case when it comes to the iBeacons installed by inMarket in grocery stores across the country. It tells us app and ad engagement has skyrocketed since rolling out the platform: expand full story

Beacon Stories May 29, 2014

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Up until now most retailers have been deploying Apple’s iBeacon technology by purchasing small standalone Bluetooth beacons or using iPad terminals that act as beacons. Now, GE is introducing its next-generation LED light fixture that packs in a combo Bluetooth LE/Visual Light Communication chip for iBeacon functionality allowing retailers to cut costs and avoid purchasing standalone beacons from a company like Estimote. It’s already got one massive customer about to roll out the iBeacon lighting fixtures: Walmart announced back in April (before iBeacon support was announced) that it plans to roll out these same new GE lighting fixtures to stores worldwide as part of its switch to LED. expand full story

Beacon Stories May 21, 2014

Bubble, a new app launching this week, is about to make it super easy for anyone to link real world items to websites using Apple’s new iBeacon Bluetooth LE technology. Up until now retailers, event planners, and more have been using iBeacons in order to send relevant notifications to users in proximity, but that required users to actually have that specific retailer’s app installed. Bubble, on the other hand, acts as an iBeacon browser of sorts allowing users to discover web content as they come in contact with real world items.  expand full story

Beacon Stories April 15, 2014

Today, Condé Nast’s Epicurious becomes the latest to take advantage of iBeacons in-store by teaming up with inMarket to beam location-based notifications and offers to shoppers in retail environments. I previously wrote about inMarket,  an in-store marketing platform that recently started rolling out iBeacons to retailers (mostly grocery stores), when it announced Zatarain’s would become the first consumer packaged goods brand to use the platform. The company was using inMarket’s Mobile to Mortar (M2M) platform to beam notifications and offers directly to shopper’s smartphones when in proximity of one of inMarket’s in-store iBeacons. Today the company is announcing its biggest news yet after recently expanding into New York, Boston, and Miami with the addition of Condé Nast’s Epicurious as the first major app partner to take advantage of the M2M iBeacon platform.  expand full story

Beacon Stories February 25, 2014

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Aura iBeacons coming soon for EverSense smart thermostat

iBeacon, Apple’s new framework for using low-cost Bluetooth LE devices to beam notifications to nearby smartphones and tablets, will soon be getting a bigger push from Apple and third-party manufacturers through its Made-For-iPhone program. While “iBeacon” is often used in the media to describe any Bluetooth beacon, Apple is now implementing tighter control over who can use the ‘iBeacon’ branding. Much like it requires for manufacturers placing the “Made-for-iPhone” branding on Apple authorized devices, Apple is now requiring manufacturers meet certain specifications before using ‘iBeacon’ on their products. The change was first spotted by Beekn.net. It appears the program is separate from the main Bluetooth MFi specification as it still asks that accessory manufacturers not support the iBeacon feature. expand full story

Beacon Stories January 6, 2014

We’ve already seen retailers and major venues like Macy’s, the Apple Store, MLB, and even CES implement iBeacon technology into their overall visiting experience, and today inMarket is kicking off its Mobile to Mortar campaign (via TechCrunch) to bring the Bluetooth LE beacons to over 200 grocery store locations and more. expand full story

Beacon Stories January 2, 2014

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Today, the Consumer Electronics Association announced that it will be using Apple’s new iBeacon technology to host a unique scavenger hunt of sorts at its International CES event scheduled for next week. Using the official CES mobile apps for iOS or Android, attendees will be able to collect badges for encountering the location-aware Bluetooth iBeacons placed throughout the CES showfloor. CEA is using a Bluetooth iBeacon development kit from  Radius Networks (pictured above) and Texas Instruments’ SensorTag technology. It hopes the scavenger hunt will encourage attendees to explore more areas of the show. expand full story

Beacon Stories December 10, 2013

Apple’s iBeacons aren’t the only Bluetooth LE beacons available, but they have so far been the default option for retailers thanks to the backing of such a well-known company. Qualcomm, which makes wireless chips for Apple among many others, may be aiming to change that with its launch of its own beacons from just $5 each.

Gimbal proximity beacons, available in two models, are accurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors […]

Depending on volume, Series 10 beacons [for indoor use] are available for as little as $5 each and Series 20 beacons [weatherproof version] are available for as little as $10 each.

While the move represents competition for Apple, it’s good news for iOS users …  expand full story

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