iBeacon is Apple’s huge step of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) proximity-aware transmitting devices, Beacons. iBeacon is small and cheap transmitters that can be used by retailers and other businesses to communicate with consumers on their smartphones while they’re present at locations such as airports and hotels or any other public location. Apple’s upgrade lays the ground work for collecting location-based events and engagement attribute data, giving travel marketers far greater insight into the behavior of their customers across channels as well as the ability to act on those insights in real time.
While iBeacon technology has been supported since the release of iOS 7, the new updates give the product more enhancement, and should give travel marketers greater confidence to experiment with new services that can enhance a traveler’s real-world experience. This makes iBeacon became even more useful than just be a small advertisement broadcast device.
As we knew that Apple has released its iOS 8. Become more advance in the iOS, there are also many change they made for iBeacon features. This features mostly will be useful for every travel marketers. Even better, iBeacon developer can develop these amazing features and widen its improvement become the new best friend of businesses.
The big change from iOS 7 to iOS 8 is that iBeacon is now opt-in.
In the past, it was possible to collect users’ MAC addresses (unique device identifiers communicated while networking with other computer and servers) whenever a traveler’s phone tried connecting with a hotel or airport Wi-Fi network. That information allowed a hotel, for example, to track a guest around the property.
On a technical front that means that if a travel company wants to collect data from brick-and-mortar engagements, they’ll have install iBeacon code into their mobile apps so that code can listen out for the iBeacon BLE signals.
The greater benefit is that enhanced privacy protections will give travelers and marketers greater confidence to adopt iBeacon technology because when they opt-in, they’re making an affirmative choice to exchange some of their privacy for an improved consumer experience.
Rumored additional UI features
It wasn’t mentioned in the release of iOS 8, but there are reports of User Interface enhancements allowing for less-obtrusive Beacon-initiated iPhone notifications that appear on the lock-screen.
In a few test locations, according to Apple Insider, an icon appears in the bottom left-hand corner of the lock-screen. Reportedly, that icon is a prompt that, when engaged, will direct a user to a location-based app.
This passive notification approach should encourage iPhone users to opt-in to the Location-Tracking Services in iOS 8 and keep their Bluetooth capabilities turned on (something many users don’t do to save battery life, although Apple is reportedly addressing that problem).
The main takeaway here is that less intrusive iBeacon notifications will increase the iBeacon audience, providing more scale and incentive for both travelers and travel companies to adopt the technology.
With that in mind, it’s time for travel marketers to start thinking about how they will best use the technology.
Similar to how web analytics are utilized, data generated through Beacon technology has the potential to provide deep insight into traveler activity and engagement in airports and hotel properties. Airlines, for example, will be able to better understand how passengers move through terminals, giving them information that can be used to make the boarding process more efficient.
Hotels will also be able to leverage observation data to better design properties around how guests actually use the facilities. That same data will also provide hotels with more detailed insights so they can allocate staff around their guests’ needs.
But these are relatively small examples of how travel companies can use Beacons to increase observability. The larger, and more important opportunity comes at the organizational level, because Beacons provide marketers with the missing data needed to assemble a complete view of a traveler’s engagement across channels.
As the adoption of Beacons increases, an advertiser’s universal view of their consumers will slowly come into focus. Scalable access to this data is a game changer for those advertisers who have the means of stitching together traveler profile IDs across channels, which is a tremendous undertaking in and of itself.
While Beacon—and specifically iBeacon, given the pervasiveness of iOS—increases, the travel industry will gain greater visibility into real-world consumer behavior and enjoy enhanced capabilities when it comes to streamlining travel services. Scalable access to this crucial data is a game changer for all travel companies, but especially those brands that have the means of combining offline insights with online data across channels.
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