Beacons — ever since Apple deployed them in their stores last fall businesses have been exploring and testing a number of ways to use them. Businesses are jumping on board because of the opportunity to reach consumers where they spend most of their time — on their phones. In fact, almost three quarters of Millennials said they would be interested in using their mobile to connect with brands’ loyalty programs. Beacons present the perfect opportunity.
Retailers have started pilot programs, stadiums have them in place for baseball season and some airlines are even using them to make travel easier. While beacons have gained some momentum, they are still new to the market and have some misconceptions. We clarified three of the most popular myths. If you have other questions about beacons, let us know below!
Myth #1: Beacons are exclusive to Apple devices.
More often than not, you’ll hear iBeacon instead of just beacon. Apple trademarked “iBeacon” to indicate their specific technology standard which all Apple devices with iOS 7 or later use. However, Android devices can receive communications from iBeacons, too. All beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to locate devices and push hyper-contextual notifications. The main difference is that Android devices cannot transmit information to iBeacons.
Myth #2: You need an app for beacons to work.
Most businesses using beacons are pushing notifications through their apps — and this will probably be the norm for a while. Walgreens, American Eagle and Macy’s have all deployed beacon programs that communicate in-store with customers who have downloaded their apps. However, Passbook presents another opportunity for marketers and businesses to utilize beacon technology. Instead of downloading an app, consumers would be required to add a store-specific pass or loyalty card to Passbook. The use of Passbook with beacons is definitely a space to watch.
Myth #3: Beacons are tracking you and collecting data.
Privacy has been a concern in the adoption of beacons due to their location-specific technology. However, beacons simply recognize the Bluetooth in mobile devices to trigger specific notifications based on location. Depending on the range between a mobile device and the beacon, different notifications can be sent. The beacons themselves do not track customers, cannot identify who you are and do not collect data.
Have more questions about beacons and how they work? Drop them below!