Commentary

The New Reach Of Beacons: Broadway, Rite-Aid, Sales Terminals

Beacons may be the most pervasive connected devices that consumers experience in the near future. They have been a couple of years in the making, but beacons are now starting to be rolled out in some serious scale.

Last week at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York, Verifone said that going forward, its point-of-sale terminals would have beacons from Footmarks built in. And since Verifone is one of the largest makers of those terminals in the world, that translates into a large number of beacons.

The pharmacy chain Rite-Aid recently told the world that it has rolled out beacons from InMarket in more than 4,500 of its stores. This essentially transforms Rite-Aid stores into a platform that can connect to The Internet of Things. Rite-Aid shoppers who have the chain’s app or any of the many that tie into the InMarket system can receive relevant messages and offers once they opt in.

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The number of beacons being deployed and activated is exploding. Not that long ago, the CEO of Shopkick told me that the company has deployed more than 20,000 beacons in more than 14,000 stores.

And it’s isn’t only retailers where beacons are popping up.

All the Broadway theaters in New York that use the famous Playbill magazine are being beaconed, so that theatergoers can receive an interactive companion for the theater experience.

The theaters are being outfitted with Gimbal beacons and other location-based technology with Urban Airship’s mobile engagement platform. Audiences can receive messages when they are in the theater, before the show, during intermission and after the show ends.

Gimbal beacons also are at major professional sports arenas and concert venues.

From a content delivery standpoint, beacons are going to be a major triggering device, no matter where a consumer is located. And now, almost anywhere consumers go, they can experience the impact.

This column was previously published in Connected Thinking on January 24, 2016.

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