October 5, 2022

Beacons are dying or still alive. It seems to me that they rather mature

Beacons are dying. At least that is what you can read in the media recently. This conclusion can also be reached when looking at the much slower stream of implementations. And it seems to me that beacons are not ending, they are maturing. The technology, after the initial hurrah of optimism, has been verified by the market and is now used a little less spectacularly and indiscriminately, but more sensibly – and still has interesting implementations, such as those prepared by Target.

Target is an American retail chain that has been in business since the beginning of the 20th century. It has over 1800 storesów and employs 341 thousand. employeeów (data from 2016). This year the network is undergoing major changes in the mobile channel. In the first instance, they linked their apps – your headówn shopping app and Cartwheel – offering coupons and a kind of loyalty program. The second step is to update the headsóThe new application is being extended with new functions and this is where beacons come into play.

So far in the application you could find a map, whichóra helps to find the product you are looking for. Now, thanks to placing hundreds of beacons in theów, the application will show róThe customer’s location in the store – Such an internal GPS. When you click on the product you are looking for, the application will display its location (the aisle in whichóThe device is available on a regular basis) and information on promotions, with whichóThe first integration between the app and Cartwheel. In addition, beacons in the retail space will send push messages with information about current offers. In the near future, the application will also include a mobile payment solutionóIt also supports the REDcard credit card.

This is not Target’s first approach to beaconsów. Back in 2015, the chain started testing this technology in 50 stores. They used devices of our domestic producer Estimote. In the end, however, the full implementation used beaconóin integrated with newly established LED lighting – Unfortunately, the network does not say who the manufacturer of this solution is. Its undoubted advantage is probably the fact that you do not have to worry about powering the beacon, since it is permanently connected to electricity. For now, location functionality is available in about 800 stores.

This whole process, early testing in a small number of showrooms, isów, check róbeacons in action or how to use them in practiceóin the equipment, verifying and changing their ideasóThis shows how much time it really takes to implement new technologies and pave the wayów. Of course, this is not the first implementation of this type – We already have applications offering similar functionality. For me one of the best ideasóTarget’s new app includes beacon integrationów with a permanent sourceóI’ve been using beacons for a long time. From my own experience, I know how hard it is to manage „fleet” beaconóIn the near future the application will also include a mobile payment solutionóThey are powered by batteries. You never know if all devices are working properly, what is the level of charge of batteries, and also the organization of their replacement is not so obvious.

I think that beacons are not dying, but we are just revising our expectations from them and we are starting to use them more critically, but with more sense.

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