Time Magazine Coverage of iBeacon


Time Magazine believes beacons might just give retailers the same kind of insights that online merchants get. In an article in the current issue of the magazine, Harry McCracken  writes that:

By melding your physical position with facts they’ve already collected about you from rewards programs, brick-and-mortar businesses can finally get the potentially profitable insight into your shopping habits that online merchants now take for granted.

The article includes a snappy graphic and outlines four ways that beacons can change shopping and leisure, including its use in ballparks and stadiums, coupons in department stores, content at art galleries and museums, and reminders at grocery stores.

But while beacons might become mainstream, my own quote in his article reminds us that: “People won’t know these beacons are there…they’ll just know that their app has suddenly become smarter.

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4 thoughts on “Time Magazine Coverage of iBeacon

  1. I know that people are sometimes concerned with beacons and privacy, but in fact I think that beacons can have the reverse effect. For example, in the OfferDrop consumer in-store app, all users are anonymous but can still communicate and engage with merchants and receive offers anonymously. They can link with Twitter/Facebook, if they like, to socialize with their own network, but within OfferDrop and with the OfferDrop in-store merchant they are anonymous entities. How does this work? It works because the connection between merchant and shopper is really and contextual and that is validated by the beacon which sits in the middle of all this.

    This is possible because beacons are local and in the moment contextual devices so the merchant can trust that they are delivering an offer to someone in their store. This is hugely powerful. Then via anonymous identification the merchant can optionally continue the conversation with the customer after they leave the store with mobile push notifications…etc. By both parties making that initial “contextual connection” they know a lot about each other without compromising their identity.

    OfferDrop lets the merchant follow up with relevant offers both in and out of the store, once both parties (merchant and customer) have made that first initial in-store “contextual connection”. This frees the merchant from tracking email addresses or needing to know your identity. And shoppers gets to use the OfferDrop mobile consumer app without logging in – no more remember passwords since the app is running on their personal smartphone. OfferDrop knows them by their mobile ID, since mobile devices are personal objects that more or less identify a unique user.

    So beacons and contextual computing are actually a benefit to privacy and improve merchant marketing opportunities while keeping the consumer protected and connected with the best possible contextual experience of the world out them. Everyone benefits with mobile, beacons and contextual computing.


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