Google’s decision on joining beacon space with Eddystone, an open format cross-platform Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon solution, has proven that there are tons of interest in this technology. This surely attracts many industries like airlines and airports to deploy this technology.
Previously, we can see many implementation of this technology all over the places. In retail, iBeacon is cheered to be their digital ads and indoor mapping. For public place like airport or train station, iBeacon has been trusted for digital payment. Several number of trials of beacon technology have been undertaken in the air transport industry. Virgin Atlantic launched a trial at Heathrow Airport back in May 2014, and since then the likes of Miami International Airport, American Airlines, easyJet, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Hong Kong International Airport are among those that have invested in the technology, with projects ranging from small-scale pilots to major permanent implementations. Up until now, Apple’s iBeacon has been the go-to technology, but Google is hoping to change that with the launch of Eddystone.
Eddystone offers cross-platform support for both Android and iOS, on the face of it Google’s solution appears to have wider appeal. Also, Eddystone effectively enables the transmission of URLs that can be opened in a Web browser, unlike iBeacons, which transmit UUIDs (Unique Universal Identifiers) that are detected only by apps, which is seen by many as another plus point for the Google solution.
Among the carriers that see great potential in beacon technology is United Airlines, and Tarek Abdel-Halim, the airline’s Managing Director of eCommerce & Passenger Systems, said that the introduction of Eddystone “is good for the market and helps broaden the interest in driving contextual experiences”.
Abdel-Halim, who will participate in the ‘Beacons & Wearable Technology Symposium’ at Future Travel Experience Global 2015 (9th-11th September, Las Vegas), explained that both Eddystone and iBeacon have their own advantages, but “it is exciting that Eddystone has the potential to enable us to drive contextual experiences to customers who may not have downloaded the United app”. He added: “This potentially unlocks some new use cases and possibilities that make the technology even more attractive.”
Tim Graham, IT Innovation and Development Manager at Virgin Atlantic, has been involved in the carrier’s own beacon pilots over the last 12 months, and while he is a big advocate of the technology, he thinks widespread adoption has so far been hindered by a struggle to identify “killer use cases” that add value to either the customer experience or employee efficiency.
He pointed out, though, that the launch of Eddystone “can only be good news for adoption”. “With the Android development community having access to use beacon technology, it may result in us finding those killer use cases much more quickly. And the Proximity Beacon API – open to both iOS and Android developers – will also help to drive adoption by providing access to a common registry of beacons for developers and users,” he explained.
Although Virgin Atlantic’s beacon trials to date have made use of iBeacon technology, Graham said it will take “very little work” to tap into Eddystone. In fact, its integration with Android “opens up a whole new set of devices for us to trial, particularly if this includes Android Wear (smart watches) at some point in the near future”.
Source: Future Travel Experience.