Commentary

500 Million Beacons Coming; Personal Tracking Use Tops Retail

Beacons have been a big deal in retail, and it looks like they may become an even bigger deal elsewhere.

New research says that the Bluetooth Low Energy devices are going to grow significantly around personal tracking.

Market leader Tile already has shipped more than 6 million BLE beacons alone, according to ABI Research.

I put a Tlle on my wife's set of keys some months back and it regularly lets me know where the misplaced keys are at any given time.

By revenue, retail is still the big moneymaker, according to ABI.

The biggest news here is the actual size of the beacon marketplace.

Shipments are now expected to exceed 500 million units by 2021. Only a few months ago, that projection was lower by 100 million units.

The other trend, which I’ve been regularly chronicling here, is the shift to software-based beacons, in which the radio-transmitting capabilities of beacons move into other devices, such as in-store networking technology.

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Companies such as Philips Lighting also are building beaconing into LED lighting, already installed in Europe and coming to the U.S. market this year.

While beacons can be used to trigger advertising and marketing messages to smartphones of nearby consumers, they also are being used to gather information, such as traffic patterns and shopper behaviors.

Beacons are yet another component of the Internet of Things. As part of the networking-of-everything phenomenon, beacons are finding a place in the businesses of retail as well as the homes of consumers.

They are part of the tens of billions of Internet-connected devices on the way.

 

4 comments about "500 Million Beacons Coming; Personal Tracking Use Tops Retail".
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  1. Doc Searls from ProjectVRM, August 23, 2016 at 10:42 a.m.

    Do any customers want to be tracked by anything without their permission?

    Never mind how much this is already happening. For much of history slavery was also happening and that was no excuse for it.

    Following people without their express and voluntary permission is not okay.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, August 23, 2016 at 10:46 a.m.

    In all of these cases, Doc, the consumer would have to have opted in. Obvious problem is that some opt-ins are moving to earlier in the process, as in when a beacon-enabled app is downloaded.

  3. Patrick Stroh from Brunner / data science, analytics, August 24, 2016 at 2:48 p.m.

    Opt in, no doubt, will be buried in the T&Cs just like a lot of web site and ecommerce "permission" marketing.  The big sign (with small print) at the retailer location will also pop up.  Then the barrage will begin ... then the opt-outs/app deletions, etc.  It will be a circus soon.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, August 24, 2016 at 2:57 p.m.

    Some of that opt-in already is happening, Patrick. On the positive side, from a consumer's standpoint, that first message can provide an option to stop all such future messages.

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