A popular question that we dealt with over this last couple of holiday seasons is; how exactly does an iBeacon work?
Although our clients are not techies – they still are curious about it. Today, I write with my techie hat on. Not to worry, I have my marketing hat on, to discuss ways to use it. I don’t go anywhere without it…
Just the facts:
- There are as many as 7 million iBeacons alone in the US with 20 million in use by 2020.
- iBeacons are in places you’ve been too, such as 93% of all MLB, NFL and NBA stadiums are now dubbed Smartphone Arenas.
What are they?
iBeacons are short range transmitters that are placed inside any physical location, where you want to attract customer attention.
They are Bluetooth LE – What does this really mean?
iBeacons use Bluetooth Low Energy. Its the next generation of Bluetooth technology, first released v4.0 in 2010.
When did iBeacon technology launch?
By the time a smarter generation of smartphones, like iPhone 5 or higher, they are now equipped with the next generation of bluetooth allowing for small beacons to transmit directly to the iPhones.
In 2013, this protocol was released with Apple iBeacon technology in a little device called an iBeacon.
Right away, Android saw the benefits and opportunities that Apple devices are using and quickly released Eddystone beacons to work with its devices to compete with them.
These technologies run concurrently making it easy to engage with clients, no matter the platform on Android or Apple creating an advanced mobile marketing strategy.
Now back to the iBeacons and what they are….
they take a battery and transmits a low energy signal that any smartphone can detect, iPhone 5 or higher.
And as I mentioned above, iBeacons transmit at approximately 70 meters up to 200 meters on newer models. The casings on iBeacons are now weatherproof, animal protected and if you purchase enough of them, you can customize them, affordably.
Now as marketers at Mobile Wallet Marketer…
We see this as invaluable opportunities to engage by marketing at a local level and connect on a mobile one.
Think of these iBeacons as your digital blow horn.
All your doing is telling the iBeacon what to say – as easy as filling out a form.
Filling out a form with an update that is seen on the lock screen of all your customers in a local area up to 200 meters.
The iBeacons are your bull horns and mobile devices are listening to what they have to say.
How is this happening? Putting back on my techie hat…
The beacons communicate to any mobile device by short transmission in quick intervals – every 20ms to 10 seconds average, connected in a one way discovery mechanism.
This one way transmission is a short data package, and spits out up to 47 bytes in one packet.
This one packet contains enough in it to transmit mobile updates that engages by connected directly to a mobile phones.
iBeacons work with mobile wallet passes that are inside a mobile wallet app such as Apple Wallet thats already installed onto all iPhones.
When a customer or prospect adds a mobile wallet pass into Apple Wallet, they are ready to engage.
As the pass is added into the smartphone, the iBeacon or any BLE device – will discover it and connection can be established.
Customers or prospects will receive mobile updates using iBeacons to get your message to them.
These proximity triggers are local activities that happen at your venue. When you come into range the iBeacon is triggered and transmits the notification on your smartphone, prompting users to take the action.