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Just when you start to think technology can’t get any cooler, just wait a week or two…something new and super epic will pop up that will raise that ‘Cool’ bar way higher.

Last year Apple Inc. launched something called iBeacon. Heard of it? (It’s okay if you haven’t because frankly neither did I until yesterday!)

For someone like me who isn’t a big fan of shopping, this is about to make my life so much easier and I may actually enjoy a day out at the mall if more merchants start getting onboard with it!

It’s great to know that Malaysia is beginning to implement the iBeacon technology too. Shaftsbury Square in Cyberjaya – which compromises of retail shops, offices and serviced apartments – has recently installed more than 85 iBeacons within their premise.

Image Credit: The Star Online
Image Credit: The Star Online

Here’s a simple breakdown to help you better understand what this funky thing is all about:

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology designed to elevate the benefits of location based information and services, for iOS and Android devices. This is a great way for merchants to reach out personally to their potential customers. It’s as close to direct sales as you can possibly get, I believe.

Image Credit: ibeacons.com
Image Credit: ibeacons.com

 How does it work?

A small single-board computer is placed near the store’s POS system, and this device will then find the IDs of potential customers phones who are in the store (or even close to the store). Once the ID is detected, merchants will be able to inform customers of the current promotion or product they wish to push for the day.

How will it benefit me?

If you are a business owner, this is a great marketing tool to consider as it will help you boost sales and your brand presence will grow stronger. Also, inadvertently your brand identity will gain a reputation of being on the ball with the growth of technology- and that’s a good thing.

Another bonus is that you will be able to detect how many people walk pass your store, versus how many actually enter. This is a great statistic to obtain as it can help you identify what you need to change – whether the appearance of your store entrance and the marketing banners or tactics you strategically place externally actually make a difference or not.

Image Credit: spree.net.au
Image Credit: spree.net.au

If you are a potential customer, this is also beneficial to you because it saves you time (and lots of money) when you know exactly what to buy at each store. Imagine, walking into your favourite shop and not having to sift through every single item to find the best deal of the day. Let’s not forget all you gentlemen that take your girlfriends/wives out for a day of shopping (sorry ladies, don’t hate me for this), envision her going into a shop, buying what she wants at a great discount within minutes, and getting out of the store before you even get bored of lingering around with her heavy handbag! Like a dream come true, huh?

Will I get spammed?

Well, this is a ‘yes and no’ sort of answer. The amount of messages you get is dependent on the amount of apps you have downloaded. As an overdramatic example: If you head to Mid Valley Megamall and you download the app for every single store in there (supposing every store has an app), then yes you will get insanely spammed.

So if you select just the stores you favour, then you can download those apps only, and you will receive the promotional messages for that brand once you get close enough to the store location. Also, you are able to switch off your Bluetooth and change the settings under the app’s Location Services if you choose not to receive any promotional messages for that day. Note, that this technology is nothing like push messages that you receive without your prior consent. iBeacon’s idea is built such that it is completely in your control to receive as many promotions or as little as you want.

This iBeacon technology is not completely unheard of on the global platform as it is already being used in the Philippines! It’s good to know that Malaysia is too catching on to this as a handy solution and tool for all shoppers.

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