After the advent of Wi-Fi, beacon technology has made foray in ambient context identification, and made a flutter in the smartphone market. Beacons allow for background positioning and detection, giving new power to a phone that can make it truly “smart.”
Beacon technology offers the potential to target a consumer anytime beacons are especially popular on the retail sales segment as shelves and store displays are now becoming increasingly interactive and personalized. Brands are no longer restricted to the strategies implemented through point-of-sale campaigns as marketers can extend beyond the shelf or the store to provide a personalized, outreach to identified prospects.
Beacons are sophisticated tools for leveraging merchandising and advertising options. However, if we are considering implementing beacons, we need to understand that most are fragmented and closed. This fragmentation are sure to have negative implications for all types of consumers and retailers.
For example, since its inception, GPS has always been part of an “open system” through which developers could extend new applications. If GPS had been part of a closed system like beacons and big honchos gained control of the technology for each region, it could have forced the end-users to opt for multiple GPS-based applications and choose several providers in the course of a single journey. A strong open system for GPS is responsible for huge innovation in the field along with a massive leverage in smartphones and other devices.
Since beacons are currently deployed in a closed manner, the approach will surely limit the innovation and depth of user experiences which could have been tremendous had the technology been open.
To unlock the potential of beacons, we need an open network to leverage its features like the GPS. Beacons must form a new layer that will add a new context to serve end-users. People can create small, private networks of different values and uses.
Beacons have gained attention in recent times and hence most analysts have advocated the use of an open, inclusive beacon network for the benefit of different fields. In a closed system, analysts presume that it will hinder its popularity and fade away in favour of an advanced technology which might replace it in the near future.
Immediate gain in the context of the retail space may not fetch immediate reward and most retailers who are now past of closed beacon networks may have to rework their implementation with the advent of an open beacon system.
Retailers are aligning with app developers to install beacons for apps which might prompt the retailer is to uninstall and reinstall beacons if things don’t go their way. The process might eat up into the investments and even pose losses for the retailers. Hence it is important to jump on the bandwagon only when the implementation approach is open for all.
Alternatively, developers have to bring in services after thinking about their potential and long-term repercussions. For shoppers to realize the benefits of beacon technology, users now have to download different apps for gaining advantage of a short network of beacons. For each beacon set, users will have to rely on the supportive apps thus rendering the approach ineffective.
A ubiquitous network of beacons would benefit all constituents, foster innovation and help continue a strong collaborative environment for multiple discrete technology products and gadgets.
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