With unfolding of recent web and mobile revolution, people are adapting to new shopping trends and consequently looking for better in-store experience. Mobile computing had the potential to revolutionize in-store shopping experience (like modern web did in case of online shopping). However, this could not happen, mainly because weaker or no mobile signal reception inside stores and shopping malls.
To fill this gap, Apple has recently introduced iBeacon technology, an indoor positioning system where a device with Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE chip acts a beacon and can communicate with other BLE enabled devices found in close proximity. This allows handheld mobile and fixed devices to determine their relative positions and exchange required information. Previously, this was not possible without GPS or Wi-Fi. People are attributing iBeacon as an alternative of Near Field Communication (NFC).
Indoor mobile communication can hugely benefit from this technology, as it has a wide range of interesting and useful applications. Businesses can offer new and exciting in-store shopping experience to their customers through effective use of iBeacon and mobile technology, for instance,
- Greeting customers as soon as they enter into iBeacon (no mobile signal) zone
- Guiding customers from shopping mall's underground parking lot to the store
- Calling customer help using your phone
- Locating products in the store using mobile phone
- Scanning a product to read its reviews on your mobile phone
- Checking product price with mobile phone
- Contactless payment without standing into the queue