Beacons are growing up.
After Apple pretty much owned the beacon marketplace, Google has finally come into the market in a big way.
Lagging Apple by quite a bit timewise, Google launched its open Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology last year.
And now, as part of its Internet of Things strategy, Google yesterday introduced some Eddystone upgrades.
The new Eddystone incorporates beacon location identifiers that frequently change, substantially increasing security.
This development reminds me of the Apple situation with NFC (near field communication). After every major supplier incorporated NFC in their phones, Apple finally came around and included it as well.
This was a market turning point, essentially signaling that NFC was now a standard, across all mobile devices.
In somewhat of a reverse scenario, prior to Eddystone, Apple’s iBeacon virtually dominated the beacon landscape.
Much like Apple was the last major holdout for incorporating NFC, Google didn’t provide a similar market-wide, beacon solution, which it now has.
Eddystone also comes with some very major market support. Along with its upgrade, Google announced a host of beaconing companies already onboard the Eddystone train.
These include Gimbal, Swirl, Bluvision, Radius, Zebra and Estimote, among others.
Google also noted some new uses for its beacon technology.
Samsonite has a suitcase with Eddystone, so travelers can keep track of their personal luggage, Eddystone beacons are now in a museum in Hong Kong, at Capital sporting events in Washington, D.C. and in the U.K. transit systems.
The major Google endorsement of beaconing can only drive the market forward.
For marketers, that means a new wealth of location-based consumer data as well as an increase in targeting capabilities.