iBeacon revolution

The value of context or why is iBeacon more than just coupon delivery

You need to brainstorm A LOT on the possible iBeacon functionalities for your app because it’s not just a spammy deal notifier, it is an EXPERIENCE and to keep people using it you really need to provide the value of that experience.

Of course you can just send push notification to every person who walks by, we tried that and it just didn’t work. We’ve been sending invitations and special deals from restaurants to people walking by. It was very hard to convert people even with the most awesome deal waiting for them. That gave us another hint, that we can’t and we shouldn’t try to make people do what they don’t want to do, we have to enhance their experience while knowing their context.

So we tried another thing, we provided values to customers who approached the restaurant and made it easy to check out prices and menu right away, without any search and friction, it just showed up. And it worked, people seemed to browse menus and those were the people who wanted to visit those restaurants.

We even went further and approached service personalisation for the visitors. Feedback was amazing, waitresses finally “remembered” their loyal customers, knew when was the last time the customer visited restaurant and how much time he spent there. They knew specific information about them (like allergies and tastes) that more experienced managers were putting in the system, this information simply popped up on the screens of tablets used in the restaurant.

And that is the real value of the context: providing needed information without friction for further enhancement of visitor’s experiences.

Functionality requires infrastructure

We can’t even say a word about how bluetooth works on all devices, it’s a real nightmare full of bugs, we’ve spent so much time to make sure everything is working as expected, especially on Android (hehe). iOS is way better at this but you can also experience some instant reboots of a bluetooth service that just stops scanning for beacons until reboot.

That was a real pain for us and none of the existing systems could satisfy our needs, so we had to build one. That’s how we came up with the current “Software as a Service” solution that will make lives of hundreds of developers easier and will give them time to brainstorm on the values, not the database schemas for beacon interactions. Right now our solution lets developers integrate all our functionality in a few lines of code. We are accepting developers for a private beta (here) and it will be open for wide audience late July.

Stats from the wild

Our project (mobile app for restaurants) was launched in the capital of Ukraine — Kyiv. We had no clue about percentage of people keeping bluetooth turned on or how many people have mobile devices that actually support Bluetooth Low Energy.

We’ve learned that about 15% of iOS users had BLE turned on when opening our app, 80% of people turned on BLE by our request. About 60% of users kept BLE turned on after app usage.

8% of iOS users had no BLE support.

About 8% of Android users had BLE turned on when downloading our app, about 50% of users turned it on by our request and about 40% kept it on.

About 35% of Android users had no BLE support.

That is that sort of data that not many companies reveal simply because it shows the real status of the BLE ecosystem. Many users still don’t believe that bluetooth low energy doesn’t drain battery and there’s still a lot of people who have no support of it.

But things are changing very quickly and hopefully 2014 will be the dawn of internet of things and iBeacon will be that missing link to it.

Artur Kiulian

CEO of Latio

View story at Medium.com



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