Bluetooth at CES Gives Beaconing a Boost

One of the issues along the trajectory of beacons has been for consumers to have Bluetooth on their phones turned on.

There are other obstacles, of course, such as needing a designated app for whatever beaconed environment a consumer is in as well as having that consumer agree to receive messaging or offers triggered by beacons as they approach or pass by.

While those latter issues may be somewhat challenging, the consumer comfort level with Bluetooth may get a serious boost by a bevy of Bluetooth-enabled products coming to market and shown before and during CES in Las Vegas this week.

At an exhibition dubbed the Bluetooth Media and Demo Event at CES 2015, a Bluetooth organization took over an entire restaurant at The Mirage for startup companies to showcase their Bluetooth-enabled products.

While many people know Bluetooth as the technology that allows them to wirelessly connect an earpiece for a phone call, send a playlist from a phone to a remote speaker or link a phone to their car audio system to make hands-free phone calls, innovators at CES introduced numerous other reasons to use Bluetooth.



Some of the technology comes under the general heading of smart homes, along with various other aspects of in-home, networking technologies.

At the demo event, one company had a small light socket that when added to a lightbulb allows smartphone controlled lighting via smartphone. There were several other such companies at CES both this and last year.

There were several products that fall into the category of vertical markets.

One set of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids I saw allows smartphone-controlled settings for different environments with a save feature that uses smartphone GPS tracking to recall the locations and suggests reverting to settings used last when returning to that same area.

A Bluetooth-enabled flower pot monitors the soil and suggests when watering is required. A different Bluetooth device sticks into the dirt of a plant and does the watering automatically as needed.

One device called iSwimband, promoted as a “personal aquatic safety device,” is for children so that parents are notified via Bluetooth when their child enters water or hits pre-set water behaviors.

There were countless other Bluetooth-enabled devices of all shapes and types at CES.

One of the hurdles for retailers using beacons has been getting customers to have their Bluetooth in the on position when they walk in or near the store.

Thanks to many companies launched at CES this week, that issue may be resolved without the retailers having to do anything.


Check out the coming MediaPost IoT: Beacons conference agenda for Chicago Feb. 10.




6 comments about "Bluetooth at CES Gives Beaconing a Boost".
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  1. Matthew Davis from Reveal Mobile, January 7, 2015 at 9:09 a.m.

    Indeed, beacon adoption by the general public certainly hinges upon certain friction points. Some, like Bluetooth adoption, will naturally decay over time as phones and other devices use Bluetooth more and more often. Others, like the need for an app, will face headwinds. Businesses that would be better off with a mobile website will push limited use apps, which will in turn have limited adoption, and therefore minimal impact with beacons. The larger retailers with excellent apps should be able make a strong use case for beacon powered experiences for the consumer.

  2. Bill Carmody from Trepoint, January 7, 2015 at 9:38 a.m.

    More great insights from Chuck Martin. With countless other Bluetooth-enabled devices, consumers are more likely to turn on Bluetooth (and keep it turned on), which will be a huge help for retailers looking to drive adoption. Sometimes the market forces work in our favor. Thanks for this Beacons insight from CES -- much appreciated!

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 7, 2015 at 10:35 a.m.

    Points well taken Matthew, though many large retailers have had challenges in getting customers to use their apps for commerce even when their apps provide a superior experience over a mobile website.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 7, 2015 at 10:37 a.m.

    Thank you very much, Bill. Will be interesting to see how this plays out, though we're seeing some very ingenious beacons uses that are soon to come to market,

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, January 7, 2015 at 5:02 p.m.

    I recall a research project from around a decade ago, in which a UK shopping mall equipped retailers with BT, publicised the fact, and looked at the impact on sales. This was a longitudinal study which encompassed St. Valentine's Day. Probably the biggest learning from the study was that it initially worked, but once shoppers were constantly bombarded by every second or third shop with offers to buy flowers for their loved one, it quickly became an exercise in educating the shoppers to turn their BT off before entering the mall.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, January 7, 2015 at 5:41 p.m.

    In addition, John, a similar study was conducted recently showing the same type of consumer behavior. Consumers were fine with receiving one beaconed message per shopping trip, but after receiving more than one in many cases stopped using or even deleted the app.

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