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US grocery chains rolling Apple's iBeacon tech out to dozens of stores

post #1 of 36
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Starting Monday, dozens of grocery stores in three major cities across the U.S. saw the rollout of Apple's iBeacon technology, allowing customers to receive location-specific data, such as relevant coupons, while they shop.

iBeacon


The latest unique implementation of iBeacon comes from advertiser InMarket, which began turning on iPhone-compatible sensors at Giant Eagle and Safeway stores in Cleveland, Ohio, Seattle, Wash., and San Francisco, Calif. InMarket specializes in location-based advertisements, and using Apple's iBeacon platform the company will be able to target ads for frequent grocery store shoppers.

The implementation by InMarket requires that customers have the advertiser's loyalty app for iPhone, called Checkpoints. When the app is installed a a user is within range of an iBeacon transmitter, marketing efforts, presumably with coupons and discounts, can be pushed to their smartphone.

"This has the potential to disrupt the retail experience as we know it," InMarket CEO Todd Dipaola told AppleInsider. "Think about all of the benefits of online shopping, but applied to the real world. Shopping list reminders, specific coupons tailored to things you like, eventually mobile checkout. We're in the top of the first inning right now with iBeacon, so the possibilities are very exciting."

InMarket plans to activate its iBeacons at more than 100 Safeway and Giant Eagle locations in the next few weeks, contributing to the over 150 stores included in the initial rollout. The firm has its eye set on thousands of locations in the top 20 markets by year's end.

According to Dipaola, iBeacon's ease of use made it an easy choice over other micro-location protocols, including NFC.

"NFC requires users to literally take their phone out, turn it on, and tap it against a target to activate," Dipaola said. "iBeacons can reach a user with their phone in their pocket anywhere in a store. This allows shoppers to physically browse the store as normal and take advantages of new features like a shopping list reminder when they enter. Mobile to Mortar will be compatible with all BLE devices including Android."

Aside from consumer benefits, iBeacon makes things easy on vendors too. Dipaola said InMarket created its system through Apple's standard Developer Program and had iBeacon-compatible apps approved before iTunes Connect's holiday break. Hardware installation includes small devices "barely larger than a quarter," meaning deployment can be flexible and wide-ranging.

InMarket's system will initially target customers as they enter a store, but testing is currently underway for in-aisle iBeacons.Dipaola notes the initial rollout will target customers as they enter a store, though InMarket is experimenting with in-aisle implementations.

InMarket would not disclose manufacturing costs, but said it has invested "millions" in the platform, as well as partner relationships.

Apple itself began using iBeacons in a limited capacity at all 254 of its U.S. retail stores in December. Using the official Apple Store application for iPhone, users can shop for new items, check iPhone upgrade eligibility, or pick up an order they've already placed.

Retailer Macy's has also added iBeacon support through partner Shopkick at its flagship stores in New York and San Francisco. And a startup named Exact Editions has been pushing free magazine samples at specific locations through iBeacon transmitters.

Use of iBeacon isn't solely limited to marketing, however. For example, at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association is using Apple's technology for a virtual scavenger hunt.

Using the Bluetooth 4.0, or Bluetooth Low Energy, protocol, iBeacon is an intelligent micro-location platform that can be deployed in a variety of environments to aid in navigation and interactive geofencing. Low-energy transmitters facilitate two-way communication with supported mobile devices that come within 100 feet, allowing for accurate indoor navigation, automated retail services and customers statistics aggregation, among other functions.

AppleInsider's Shane Cole contributed to this report
post #2 of 36
Sounds annoying. Might have to delete some store apps that I use irregularly if they're going to start ad spamming me when I walk through town.

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post #3 of 36
Straight forward example of making technology non-intrusive and enhancing your daily grind. This is just another example that separates Apple from all the `me-too' poser companies.
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Sounds annoying. Might have to delete some store apps that I use irregularly if they're going to start ad spamming me when I walk through town.

 

Please keep your mouth still while in those stores, because us folks who get sick and tired of every moron calling their spouse for how much an item costs or which item did you want again instead of planning ahead, unless of course it's just to say hello to someone in the store.

Nothing is more annoying than hundreds of idiots at a large store like Costco or a Barney's walking around calling their loved one about item purchases.

post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"NFC requires users to literally take their phone out, turn it on, and tap it against a target to activate," Dipaola said. "iBeacons can reach a user with their phone in their pocket anywhere in a store. This allows shoppers to physically browse the store as normal and take advantages of new features like a shopping list reminder when they enter.

 



Yeah, but I mean you still have to take your iPhone out of your pocket to see what iBeacon is buzzing you about. Not really much of a time-saver there, though the proactivity is nice I guess.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Please keep your mouth still while in those stores, because us folks who get sick and tired of every moron calling their spouse for how much an item costs or which item did you want again instead of planning ahead, unless of course it's just to say hello to someone in the store.


Nothing is more annoying than hundreds of idiots at a large store like Costco or a Barney's walking around calling their loved one about item purchases.
Weird leap you've taken there. I don't have a spouse, never use the phone in-store, and have an entirely separate app I use for keeping a list of groceries.

Thanks for caring though.

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post #7 of 36
iBeacons sound cool, but again - unless this helps me find what I'm looking for in a store, or alert me based on my customer profile (based on opt-in), I don't see this as particularly cool.

I don't necessarily want to know when I'm approach the meats aisle what's on sale, I generally want to know if what I'm looking for (predictable based on previous purchases) is there.

If I could add a persistent shopping cart (i.e., checklist for my weekly shopping trip), it'd be even cooler - it could tell me "everything on your list is in stock - do you want me to guide you to them?" Now that'd be customer service. In fact, with Ahrentds joining Apple Retail, I expect this kind of coolness from Apple Stores.

I have no idea why stores don't try to process more folks as fast as possible so they can get what they want quickly instead of spamming them with annoying product placements.
post #8 of 36

I'll make sure to have my device turned off in the store, thanks.

post #9 of 36

This technology has the potential to be very useful, but has a bigger potential to be very annoying. Capitalism being what it is I see this going down the annoying road and never coming back. For now at least it's optional.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 36
For those that profess to be concerned about sharing personal information and and data harvesting done by ad companies you might have a look at their privacy policy before using therm. Always a good idea. Much more intrusive than you might expect.
http://www.inmarket.com/privacy_policy.html#_Toc326697413
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post #11 of 36
Google will come up with a gBeacon technology where a punching glove will punch you from any shelf if you don't click their ad. Amazon will design an aBeacon to refund you all the grocery bill if you decided to switch to order from Amzn. through their...what's their gadget call again? Pretty soon, we will walk into a virtual world with all kinds of radio signals fighting for that same dollar bill.
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post
 

 

Please keep your mouth still while in those stores, because us folks who get sick and tired of every moron calling their spouse for how much an item costs or which item did you want again instead of planning ahead, unless of course it's just to say hello to someone in the store.

Nothing is more annoying than hundreds of idiots at a large store like Costco or a Barney's walking around calling their loved one about item purchases.

Sounds like a "first world" problem! :)

post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Sounds annoying. Might have to delete some store apps that I use irregularly if they're going to start ad spamming me when I walk through town.

Please keep your mouth still while in those stores, because us folks who get sick and tired of every moron calling their spouse for how much an item costs or which item did you want again instead of planning ahead, unless of course it's just to say hello to someone in the store.


Nothing is more annoying than hundreds of idiots at a large store like Costco or a Barney's walking around calling their loved one about item purchases.

People looking at their phones, rather than where they are going, while pushing their shopping carts is pretty annoying also.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by water cooler View Post

Google will come up with a gBeacon technology where a punching glove will punch you from any shelf if you don't click their ad. Amazon will design an aBeacon to refund you all the grocery bill if you decided to switch to order from Amzn. through their...what's their gadget call again? Pretty soon, we will walk into a virtual world with all kinds of radio signals fighting for that same dollar bill.

gBeacon. Very funny...especially the "punching glove!" :)

 

Google gets it wrong on so many levels.

post #15 of 36

I'm only interested if organic kale, organic avocados, etc., are on sale!

 

Great! They can sell more processed food.

 

94% of calories Americans take in are from processed foods, only 6% are from vegetables and 3% are French Fries!

 

Don't really care if Pepsi, processed, sugary cereals, cookies and cakes or abused chickens and beef are on sale.

 

Oh and they can keep the milk, too...Milk should only be used if you want to turn a 90# calf into a 1,400# cow in the shortest time possible.

 

No wonder we're fat!

 

This is what happens when "white men" are in charge of our food supply! /s:)

 

 

 

Edit: Hmmm. Just re-read my post. Possibly should be on a different site! :)


Edited by christopher126 - 1/6/14 at 4:18pm
post #16 of 36
Marketing. What creative use for new tech. /s

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"NFC requires users to literally take their phone out, turn it on, and tap it against a target to activate," Dipaola said. "iBeacons can reach a user with their phone in their pocket anywhere in a store. This allows shoppers to physically browse the store as normal and take advantages of new features like a shopping list reminder when they enter.

 



Iwatch buddy!!

Yeah, but I mean you still have to take your iPhone out of your pocket to see what iBeacon is buzzing you about. Not really much of a time-saver there, though the proactivity is nice I guess.
post #18 of 36
How does a small retail business make use of this technology? What has to be done to implement and maintain it? Its nice to know that some folk are taking advantage of it, but do you need to have an IT department to get it up and running?
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post
 

gBeacon. Very funny...especially the "punching glove!" :)

 

Google gets it wrong on so many levels.

 

Just so you know. iBeacons are nothing more than Bluetooth 4.0 transmitters and, as AppleInsider pointed out, this implementation of iBeacons, and likely all implementations of iBeacons, will support all Bluetooth 4.0 enabled Android devices.

post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
 

This technology has the potential to be very useful, but has a bigger potential to be very annoying.

 

It's so ironic how people are so easily annoyed by something on their phone yet don't realize or seem to care how annoying it is to listen to them yapping away loudly in public areas.  At least I can turn Bluetooth off.
 
PS
This is not directed at Ireland; I'm just commenting on the "annoying" issue in the OP.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

For those that profess to be concerned about sharing personal information and and data harvesting done by ad companies you might have a look at their privacy policy before using therm. Always a good idea. Much more intrusive than you might expect.
http://www.inmarket.com/privacy_policy.html#_Toc326697413

It doesn't sound any different than Google's privacy policy

http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/
post #22 of 36

Make sure it doesn't work with Windows 8 phones etc.. They don't deserve to be able to access any of the iBeacon goodness.

post #23 of 36
Don't be so petty and pathetic.

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post #24 of 36

It's business not Woodstock...!

post #25 of 36

This would be tremendously useful in the big box stores.  The ones where you can't find anything, including anyone to ask. :rolleyes:  Imagine the time it'd save.

 

It would also be very helpful if it saw you were heading towards the checkouts, and buzzed "hey don't forget these items on your list".

 

As for the marketing and privacy sides of it... not so much.  If it regularly buzzes ads for things I don't buy (with no way to bypass) I'll delete the app.  If it forces invasive "privacy" terms I won't even bother.

 

Bottom line, this could be huge, huge if done correctly.  Just hope it doesn't get poisoned with things it doesn't need.

post #26 of 36
Please say you can turn this off
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"NFC requires users to literally take their phone out, turn it on, and tap it against a target to activate," Dipaola said. "iBeacons can reach a user with their phone in their pocket anywhere in a store. This allows shoppers to physically browse the store as normal and take advantages of new features like a shopping list reminder when they enter.

 

 



Yeah, but I mean you still have to take your iPhone out of your pocket to see what iBeacon is buzzing you about. Not really much of a time-saver there, though the proactivity is nice I guess.
 

Get a Pebble watch and you should be sorted ;) 

post #28 of 36
Presumably if Bluetooth is switched off its a non-starter?

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post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Marketing. What creative use for new tech. /s

Marketing: the world's second oldest profession, but with less morals than the worlds oldest profession.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveN View Post

It doesn't sound any different than Google's privacy policy

http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/

Well then it must sound the same to you as Apple's Privacy Policy too.
http://www.apple.com/privacy/
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post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I'm only interested if organic kale, organic avocados, etc., are on sale!

Great! They can sell more processed food.

94% of calories Americans take in are from processed foods, only 6% are from vegetables and 3% are French Fries!

Don't really care if Pepsi, processed, sugary cereals, cookies and cakes or abused chickens and beef are on sale.

Oh and they can keep the milk, too...Milk should only be used if you want to turn a 90# calf into a 1,400# cow in the shortest time possible.

No wonder we're fat!

This is what happens when "white men" are in charge of our food supply! /s:)



Edit: Hmmm. Just re-read my post. Possibly should be on a different site! 1smile.gif


LOL...

"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
"He who laughs, lasts!" - Mary Pettibone Poole -
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
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post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


LOL...

Thanks, Dick. I like the graphic! :)

post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomSeed View Post

How does a small retail business make use of this technology? What has to be done to implement and maintain it? Its nice to know that some folk are taking advantage of it, but do you need to have an IT department to get it up and running?

This site does a pretty good job explaining the kit technology:

http://estimote.com
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post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatBoo View Post

Please say you can turn this off

Better yet, you don't have to turn it on!
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
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post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaporland View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Marketing. What creative use for new tech. /s

Marketing: the world's second oldest profession, but with less morals than the worlds oldest profession.

The world's first oldest profession is…

Carpentry:

Eve made Adam's banana stand!


… Been waiting over 50 years to use that one!
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post #36 of 36

"The latest unique implementation of iBeacon comes from advertiser InMarket, which began turning on iPhone-compatible sensors at Giant Eagle and Safeway stores in Cleveland, Ohio, Seattle, Wash., and San Francisco, Calif."

 

Not according to Safeway.  There is no iBeacon hardware installed in any Safeway store.  Perhaps you should contact:

 

Safeway Public Affairs Department
5918 Stoneridge Mall Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588
Tel: 925-467-3000

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