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Corner stone - Issue 1

Article that throws some light on new Mobile Technology Trends around Micro Location, iBeacon and Apple-Pay

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Corner stone - Issue 1

  1. 1. According to stats from in Market trials of the technology, the US has seen app usage increase by 16.5 times for users who receive notifications triggered by nearby beacons. For more than a year now, companies and developers worldwide have been developing and deploying iBeacon hardware that interact with Apple’s iBeacon software sub-system. iBeacon is Apple’s name for a BLE (Bluetooth - Low Energy) based micro-locations system that works by monitoring signals from BLE beacons. Apple’s iBeacon is only one among the many micro-location systems available currently. Some of the other notable implementations are - IBM Presence Zones, and Gimbal (a spin-off from Qualcomm) Retail stores can now use Micro-location based geo-fencing to push content that is specific to the exact location of the customer, be it a specific aisle, section, the check-out counter, or even outside the store when she is in close proximity. Indoor mapping and directions can be achieved by means of iBeacons and this can be then used to provide turn-by-turn directions to the customer to help them navigate quickly to the location of the product of the interest in the retail store. A micro-location enabled app can also provide additional information on the product being examined by the customer, such as available variants, alternate available colors, promotions, etc. The mobile app can also then be used to make up- sell/cross-sell recommendations. One of the disadvantages of using iBeacon like technologies is that there is always a risk of overloading the customer with excessive push notifications. A monthly technology initiative from the Solutions Design Group at Lister Technologies Issue 1 - Jan ’15 CORNERSTONE Micro-Location Micro-location proximity awareness can deliver solutions such as precision indoor navigation, guided product experiences, real-time personalized contextual information, and promotions. The technology leverages advanced analytics and visualization capabilities to turn the location information into actions with clear business impact. iBeacons With the help of iBeacons, a smartphone can approximately find its relative location to an iBeacon in a store. The customer location information can then be used to boost in-store customer service. This could be customer initiated sales assistance and help requests, store initiated sale alerts, promotional messages based on customer’s prior interactions on the company’s website etc., Micro-Location and iBeacons are part of two bigger trends - Contextual Computing and Anticipatory Computing. In Contextual Computing, the app responds to user requests based on the context of the request and of the user making the request. Anticipatory Computing is similar, but the app implicitly decides on an action without an explicit user request.
  2. 2. 2 | © Copyright Lister Technologies, 2015. Therefore, it has to be remembered that the notifications have to be used in moderation. Since the customer’s privacy is of paramount importance, she must opt-in to enable ibeacon messaging on her device via the app. Other potential concerns could be - a) Overlapping of zones from multiple establishments which can result in confusion, b) Additional overhead in terms of rearranging/reprogramming beacons in case of frequent changes in arrangements/types of goods/items, c) Necessity for internet connectivity for functionalities other than notifications and basic in-app messaging. Other considerations include - having a clear opt-in and opt-out process, support for non-apple devices, minimizing battery drain, clear demarcation of proximity zones, coverage of zones, and adjustments for factors like multi-path propagation and interference Here is a peek at the most popular hardware devices used for iBeacons: Estimote ($99 for 3 piece dev-kit) Battery: 3 years. Motion sensor. Temperature sensor. (3 for $81) Battery: 2 years, replaceable. Customizable for branding. Gimbal Series 10 ($5) Battery: 6 months. Hardware based spoof detection Bluecat ($30) Battery: 3 years, replaceable RedBear ($35) Battery: 1 year, replaceable Glimworm ($30) Battery: 1 year, replaceable. Customizable for branding. Comparative study of the popular iBeacon/BLE hardwares: Information on iBeacon accuracy is limited/not-available since this is a new emerging technology. As can be seen from the comparison given above, the choice of iBeacon/BLE hardware boils down to the range and battery life. The beacons usually are supplied along with their accompanying device management software. There are also third- party beacon management systems that can be used to configure and manage the beacons. Device iBeacon Compatible Android (BLE) Compatible? Range Battery Life Better For Estimote Yes Yes Upto 70m/230’ 1 year - 3 years Geofencing, Proximity Marketing, Parking, Checkout Yes Yes Upto 70m/230’ 6 months - 2 years Geofencing, Parking Gimbal Yes Yes Upto 50m/164’ 1 month - 18 months Geofencing, Proximity Marketing, Checkout BlueCat Yes Yes 10cm - 150cm Upto 3 years Aisles, Checkout RedBear Yes Yes Upto 50m/164’ Upto 1 year Geofencing, Aisles, Checkout Glimworm Yes NA (Basic) NA Upto 1 year Geofencing, POS
  3. 3. 3 | © Copyright Lister Technologies, 2015. One of the other new technologies that is currently making waves in the retail sector is Apple-Pay. Apple-Pay provides a convenient, contact-less, simple payment option when compared to regular cash-based or credit- card based transactions at the POS terminals in retail stores. Apple-Pay can also be used to make payments for purchases made from within mobile apps. These three technologies when used in appropriate circumstances can help improve the existing customer work-flow and result in better customer satisfaction, better customer experience, and hence improved sales in a regular brick & mortar retail store.
  4. 4. 4 | © Copyright Lister Technologies, 2015. As of now, as has been the case for the past many decades, in a vast majority of the retail stores, the customer work-flow has not changed much! One of the primary gripes a customer entering a typical retail establishment usually is in finding where exactly the product of her interest is located in the maze of sections and aisles, in the shortest possible time. The customer also has difficulty in finding a support person for assistance when she has queries regarding the product. After the customer has picked up all the products that she needs, she then has to get in one of the queues leading to the checkout counter. Here, the typical problems are in finding the shortest and/or the quickly-moving queue and the time it takes to complete the payment. Even when the customer has fewer than say less than 15 or 20 products in her cart, she still has to go through the same process of finding the shortest and-or the fastest “Express-Checkout” queue. The time taken to complete the payment depends on the type of payment option the customer opts for. If the customer opts to pay by cash and has a bunch of discount coupons, the checkout time gets extended by another couple of minutes or sometimes even more! Now let’s see how the three technologies — Micro-Location, iBeacon, and Apple-Pay can be put to good use for this retail use-case to alleviate the aforementioned pain-points.
  5. 5. 5 | © Copyright Lister Technologies, 2015. About Lister Technologies & its Solution Design Group (SDG) Lister Technologies is a Boutique Software services organization specializing in working across all key aspects of the customer’s lifecycle – Influencing (Marketing automation), Acquisition (eCommerce) & Support (CRM). Through our multi- channel approach, we have created tremendous positive impact for numerous Enterprise and Mid-Market organizations across the globe. We strive to provide a consistent & elevated experience across all channels through our “One Customer” approach integrating information from multiple sources. The Solution Design Group is the International Technology Strategy Consulting wing of Lister Technologies helping customers leverage the advancements in technology to the fullest and derive high ROI on their investments. Speak to a Customer Success Consultant from the SDG today at Even before the customer enters the retail store, i.e., even when she is in the near vicinity of the store - for e.g., in the parking lot, or near the entrance, we can now push notifications of contextualized promotions/offers and discount coupons to her smartphone via iBeacons. The promotional notifications can be fine-tuned to the customer’s personalized context since we will be able to pull all of her prior web/mobile purchase/search history both in-store as well as in the eCommerce portal. Once the customer has entered the retail establishment, we can accurately identify her location relative to the iBeacons installed inside the store. Once we have the customer’s location pin-pointed, we can then display her location on the indoor map/navigation system built into the mobile app. The customer can then search for the products of her interest and be efficiently guided to them (Section/Aisle) by a turn-by-turn navigation system built into the mobile app. This can help shave off a lot of time spent searching for products in-store. The customer can also summon assistance/support right from within the mobile app and since we know the exact location of the customer within the store, we will be able to dispatch a support person quickly. The mobile app can also make recommendations (up-sell/cross-sell) based on her web/mobile purchase/search history. Once the customer has picked up all of the products she came in looking for, she can now be directed from within the mobile app to the shortest queue, both in terms of size and time. Better still, the customer can be given the option by which she herself can scan the products that she has picked up and pay on the spot within the app via the integrated Apple-Pay system or via any other contactless payment system (including Apple-Pay compatible terminals) that may be available in-store. As can be seen, these three systems - Micro Location, iBeacon, and Apple-Pay can significantly enhance the customer’s experience in-store and hence make her want to come back time and again. Apple-Pay Apple-Pay provides the ability to pay using iPhones at NFC-Enabled, Apple-Pay compatible POS counters at regular retail stores. *Payments can also be done using the future Apple- Watch (Coming early 2015). ** Images of the devices / use cases are taken from Internet and the TM belongs to the individual companies.