Several third-party beacons are already utilizing Apple’s iBeacon technology, and can be found in restaurants, malls, and even at some stadiums. The signal currently goes to an application on the phone and users are given the option to adjust the settings. Should they wish to see a select fewer updates or none at all, the choice is entirely with the user.
The fad is now coming to Apple Watch. The smartwatch will be able to, on top of all other features, detect when an iBeacon is nearby and since it is strapped onto the wrist it can immediately push an alert to the user. Much like the phone version, a notification will show up with the ad available to play. Third-party users mainly comprise of retailers and are rushing to purchase their own iBeacon devices, which in itself is not that impressive. The device is circular in shape and has an LED light to indicate when it is turned on and off, with a few key electronic components built into the device.
For example, McDonald’s has already sanctioned 26 of its outlets in Columbus, Georgia to install the iBeacon devices. A four-week trial saw deals for McChicken sandwiches and 10-piece Chicken McNuggets pushed through to consumers’ devices using the iBeacon. The result one may ask: McChicken sales went up 8% and McNuggets’ sales went up 7%, indicating that the iBeacon does have an impact. The effect has to be partially attributed to the attractive deals themselves but credit also goes to the iBeacons for informing consumers of the offers.
Apple’s HomeKit is seen as a suitable home for the iBeacon, allowing users to control the various functions with their watch. It can potentially alert the house to use less power downstairs if all the inhabitants are upstairs. Various other uses are being figured out for the iBeacon, one of which is to place a beacon in the user’s fridge and have it warn him/her – or rather shriek at – depending on the daily calorie and carb intake.
The iBeacon is certainly a useful and future-looking device, and when incorporated in the Apple Watch it can be even more convenient for the users. Without having the need to carry a separate device, users will be able to manipulate their surroundings just by being near them. Sounds very modern and very “2015”.
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