I've been in endless discussions in the tech and agency world about why Apple have not included NFC (Near Field Communication) on their mobile devices over the last three years, especially when the Android equivalent devices have embraced the technology. Perhaps many of us have considered Apple to be falling behind in the race to be the most cutting edge mobile brand. All of a sudden a small device called an i-Beacon has changed perceptions online and created a lot of excitement here at Knit.
Essentially, the iBeacon is a name developed by Apple for a type of technology that enhances location awareness in mobile apps, all through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). When a compatible device is near, a beacon can transmit content to it via BLE. Equally, the compatible device can transmit to the beacon as well.
Its not just new iOS devices that implement this technology. The majority of new devices now entering the market, including the HTC One, Nokia Lumias, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Blackberry Z10 and Q10, amongst others, are all BLE compatible.
BLE technology is far more accurate than GPS technology. By placing small transmitters, also known as beacons, around a building, or in a specific room in a building, relevant content can then be pushed to a user's mobile device as they walk past various beacons.
For example, an art gallery might decide to place a beacon next to each painting so visitors with BLE and the Gallery's app installed on their phone, can be pushed relevant information on each painting they view.
This is just one example of how BLE can be used to improve customer service and engagement. Its likely the retail industry will be one of the key sectors to benefit from this type of technology.
Knit is in the process of developing a Bluetooth Low Energy campaign for launch in Spring 2014.