Although it has been relatively quiet around iBeacons in recent months, we find the technology in more and more places at home and abroad. In this article, we highlight the coolest iBeacon applications and take a look at the future of the smart beacon.
iBeacon is a collective name for devices that emit a Bluetooth low-energy signal (BLE). Smartphones (and not just iPhones) can pick up this signal, in turn, to accurately determine the distance from the smartphone to the sending iBeacon.
In this way, an iBeacon functions as a so-called indoor positioning system, which can work with an app to show relevant information to the user. For example, think of background information with artwork or an interesting offer when you enter a store. A number of cool iBeacon applications that you can already experience yourself are explained below.
1. iBeacons in amusement parks
iBeacon applications Since last January, the Fluwel’s Tulpenland theme park, where you can go to find out everything about the Dutch tulip, has been provided with iBeacons. “The story of tulip, history and modern cultivation can now be seen and experienced in the traditional way.
You do need the iOS app for that. You will then be guided through the park through messages and audiovisual content. You will receive additional information at each attraction and you can answer quiz questions. Tulpenland was the first amusement park that iBeacons introduced and we can imagine that it is certainly not the last.
2. iBeacons at festivals
iOS developer Jan van Kampen built an iOS app for the Beverwijk Young Art Festival (11-12 July) with a program, map and the ability to send messages. However, the app also works with iBeacons, he says: “The program booklet shows content based on your location. That is especially nice because there was an art route at the festival. In addition, as a visitor, you were given a digital stamp if you had been somewhere and with a full stamp card you dang along for free coins and t-shirts. ”
However, there are also enough iBeacons in Jan’s own house. “I live in an old school building with a front door that has an electric lock. If I receive a visit, I can open it via a button in my home. But thanks to the iBeacon that is now in my letterbox, the door is also opened automatically when I arrive. Handy when I have my hands full of groceries. ”
By the way, Apple also placed iBeacons at the SXSW Festival last March to help visitors there to pick up their badge. They also received relevant push notifications about the sessions and places they visited.
3. iBeacons in museums
The ancient communication agency Prophets proves that age-old artworks go well together with contemporary technology. The agency developed an iOS app for the Rubens House in Antwerp that works with iBeacons that are placed in relevant places in the museum. The app serves as a guide and with every beacon that you approach you will receive push notifications with background information about artworks.
Furthermore, you can play interesting puzzles from the app and digitally magnify parts of paintings. You can see how that works in the video above.
4. iBeacons in the shopping street
At the beginning of June, London’s Regent Street shopping street was equipped with iBeacons. One and a half kilometers from the popular street are now equipped with beacons and about a hundred stores (including Burberry, Hugo Boss, and Anthropology) participate. As with the applications that we highlight above, you only benefit from the technology if you install the corresponding app. From the Regent Street app you indicate which brands you find interesting and which you do not. If you then approach a store like Hugo Boss, you will receive an offer or not based on your preferences. If you do not do anything with the offer, this will automatically disappear.
This application offers benefits for you as a shopper but is just as important for the retailer. Suppose your brand is popular, but nobody does anything with your offers, then you know that they are not interesting enough.
In the Netherlands, the start-up treats have recently started a pilot in which various stores are equipped with iBeacons. The great app also responds to user preferences by sending discounts through push notifications.
5. iBeacons on the water fairway ibeacon application
In Amsterdam, iBeacons help to steer the traffic on the canals in the right direction. With the help of the free Vaarwater app, people from Amsterdam who own a boat (and there are more than 20,000) can request navigation routes and see where it is crowded. “That way you can sail to a place where it is quiet and you can float just as wonderfully without constantly bothering other boats,” said Mario Kortman, who developed the app.
Waternet, which manages the Amsterdam canals, also put the TNO company to work to develop a traffic model for the canals. Sensors have been placed at various busy points to measure how many boats pass. Waternet also plans to install some 500 iBeacons this summer that measure when a smartphone passes the Vaarwater app. “Even if you are not using the app at that time,” says Mario. “In this way, we can send passing smartphones a push message, more warnings about traffic jams and suggestions.”
The future: bright
beacons It is interesting to see that small-scale experiments are already taking place in the Netherlands and Belgium with iBeacons and other equipment that BLE can broadcast. The possibilities of the beacons are especially interesting for retailers, both for offering discounts and finding out the preferences of their customers. Research from ABI Research shows that the market for iBeacons will grow strongly in the coming five years. IBeacons producers, including Estimote and BlueSense, are expected to distribute around 60 million iBeacons in 2019. And that in the US alone.
Apple does not benefit directly because it does not make the hardware itself, but the emergence of interconnected iBeacons networks may provide new sources of revenue for the company. But of course also for competitors like Google.
In terms of applications, we see many more options. The beacons are ideal for indoor navigation in vast buildings such as hospitals and apartment complexes. However, ABI Research also sees opportunities for inventory management and keeping track of staff members who take a break for too long or not. Beacons can also be excellent for renting cars and checking in and out in hotels. The possibilities are endless and moreover the beacons themselves are becoming increasingly cheaper.