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Apple's iBeacon continues to spread with new rollouts by Lord & Taylor, others

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Businesses continue to embrace consumers wielding Apple's mobile devices, as department store chain Lord & Taylor and German restaurant group Mook have announced new iBeacon-based customer outreach plans, while hoteliers Hilton will allow guests to check in and unlock their rooms with their smartphones.

Lord & Taylor's flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City
Lord & Taylor's flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City


Lord & Taylor parent company HBC Department Store Group -- which also owns the Hudson's Bay brand -- is working with iBeacon provider Swirl on a system that will deliver location-aware content and personalized offers to customers in its outlets. The initial rollout will target a number of Lord & Taylor and Hudson's Bay locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the flagship Hudson's Bay store in Toronto.

"Beacon technology is the future of retail marketing," HBC executive Michael Crotty said, "and Swirl's platform will assist us to make every visit to Hudson's Bay or Lord & Taylor even more rewarding for our customers."

Though the company did not go into detail on what content it plans to surface, it is likely to match offers seen in other retail establishments. Macy's, for instance, is testing an iBeacon system of its own that shows special department-specific offers and ties shoppers' at-home and in-store shopping together.

iBeacons are also making their way to the food scene, with German restauranteur Christian Mook testing a new iBeacon-based loyalty reward system in his high-end Frankfurt establishments. That system is designed to track information about specific diners, including their favorite table, how long they spend in the restaurant, what dish they order most, and where they go once inside, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Macy's, Duane Reade, Virgin Atlantic, and Coachella are among other brands to embrace iBeacons.
Each diner's information is stored on their device for the time being out of privacy concerns, though the company plans to access it more frequently in the future -- with customer authorization -- if the pilot goes well.

"It will be even more interesting when we get to the next step and we know guest's names, what people drink and eat, how often and when the client comes in -- whether for private reasons or business reasons, all as a way to improve service," executive manager Feres Ladjimi told the publication.

Hotel chain Hilton, meanwhile, is set to allow guests to bypass the front desk and check in on their mobile device, heading directly to their room and unlocking the door with the same handset. It would be the second hotel chain to do so after rival Starwood announced a similar pilot program earlier this year in its Aloft hotels.

"We are giving customers unprecedented choice and control at scale, and in the palm of their hands," Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta told the Wall Street Journal.
post #2 of 19
I would love to be able to check in and out with my iPhone. Every hotel needs this.

Incidentally, Aloft hotels...best hotels ever (besides "W").
Edited by SpamSandwich - 7/28/14 at 9:36am

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post #3 of 19

It's really amazing what ideas people come up with when you give them a well-designed platform (i.e. stable, flexible, etc.) to tinker with.

post #4 of 19
Sounds great but isn't this available to Android as well?

How does Apple make money from this?
post #5 of 19
Quote:
"It will be even more interesting when we get to the next step and we know guest's names, what people drink and eat, how often and when the client comes in -- whether for private reasons or business reasons, all as a way to improve service," executive manager Feres Ladjimi told the publication.

Hm, wasn't iBeacon meant to be merely anonymous; retailers can push information to devices, but can't gather anything from them?

Anyhow, I prefer to stay anonymous in most cases, and I prefer to pick food and drinks from the menu over somebody telling me what I am supposed to want.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkanaga View Post

Sounds great but isn't this available to Android as well?

How does Apple make money from this?


What? How does Apple make money from industry building in ways to use Apple technology as part of their own infrastructure? Geez, let me think.

post #7 of 19
I understand that it's good for Apples status but if it's open to Android as well and Apple doesn't make the hardware, what's in it for them?
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkanaga View Post

I understand that it's good for Apples status but if it's open to Android as well and Apple doesn't make the hardware, what's in it for them?

 

Branding... Imagine if it was called Google Beacon or anything else.. and it was synonymous with your brand.. They were planning to do the same with FaceTime, but got sued for licensing and blocked from doing so.. Today would be very different for phone companies if FaceTime became the pre-sudo standard for voice and video calling... 

 

One reason I think patents go to far.. it stifles things like that from growing.. 

post #9 of 19
By the way AAPL is now tantalizingly close to $100 (high of $98.93 this morning, and the day isn't over)... May cross that threshold this week.

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post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkanaga View Post

I understand that it's good for Apples status but if it's open to Android as well and Apple doesn't make the hardware, what's in it for them?

There's a huge difference in how you're treated. For example, when I showed up with my iPhone, the waiter called me by my name and the wine steward poured me a complementary glass of excellent wine. My food arrived quickly and the chef came out of the kitchen personally to make sure everything was satisfactory. Meanwhile the android user seated next to the kitchen door, was greeted by the waiter with a, "Yeah, whadoyawant?" Had to pay extra for a glass of luke warm water (ice was extra) and was still waiting for his food when I left.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkanaga View Post

I understand that it's good for Apples status but if it's open to Android as well and Apple doesn't make the hardware, what's in it for them?

While iBeacon is only an implementation of BLE, which is available to any OEM, it is Apple's trademark and technology. Apple can extend it any way they want, e.g. for a future payment system, without depending on others. As can be seen with some standards, defining it gives you a lead (e.g. think of Adobe's PDF and DNG standards, they are open and available to everybody, but Adobe's own solutions are always ahead of the curve, meaning only their customers will always have the latest and greatest). Or think of Tesla making a lot of stuff Open Source; others will need considerable time to make good use of these things, but they will benefit from their technology being in more places (e.g. when it comes to developing a network of compatible charging stations). As long as Apple has stuff first, it will sell more hardware, and there is more money in iPhones than in $10 iBeacon transmitters,
post #12 of 19
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post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkanaga View Post

Sounds great but isn't this available to Android as well?

How does Apple make money from this?


Apple recently filed with the FCC Apple's own iBeacon hardware, so apparently Apple will make money from eventually selling the hardware.  I also wondered what was taking so long with Apple and yet other companies were already selling iBeacon hardware.  It's likely that those companies got licenses and paying Apple for the privilege of being first movers.  Some companies are selling iBeacon hardware from $10 to $20 apiece, so Apple would have to sell tens of millions of those things to make it financially worthwhile although the profits per device could be quite high.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I would love to be able to check in and out with my iPhone. Every hotel needs this.

Incidentally, Aloft hotels...best hotels ever (besides "W").

somehow, unlike checking in to a car rental,  I sort of want someone to ensure that I'm the only one that can get into my hotel room.   

So I don't want to bypass the front desk (Well I want to, but I don't want anyone else to) on the way to my room.

 

Eventually, your iPhone will become your single 'ID' (like all those customer loyalty UPC scan cards).  I'd like to be able to just walk up to a cash register, and then press 'xmit' when I see on my screen 'Ralphs Grocery at 212 South Main San Diego is asking for your loyalty card. Shall I give them yours?'

 

This works for check-ins as well.  I truly think any loyalty program worth it's beans will basically allow you to walk up, click 'check in' on  your iPhone*, have 2 key cards drop out of the key recording machine, and you walk away, everything else coming from your reservation/profile online.

Once those keys are made, no one else can make keys for that room or in your name, without more verification.

 

*TouchID  pressed to release to the App your reservation and Creditcard info via BT....

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post
 


Apple recently filed with the FCC Apple's own iBeacon hardware, so apparently Apple will make money from eventually selling the hardware.  I also wondered what was taking so long with Apple and yet other companies were already selling iBeacon hardware.  It's likely that those companies got licenses and paying Apple for the privilege of being first movers.  Some companies are selling iBeacon hardware from $10 to $20 apiece, so Apple would have to sell tens of millions of those things to make it financially worthwhile although the profits per device could be quite high.

let's say... there are 50 Million Apple households in the US.  (about 120Million households total in the US  in 2013)

Apple comes out with a home kit thing that does proximity detection enhancing with iBeacon technology  (door opening, presence, lights, whatever... let's assume it's killer and leave it at that).

 

You need 3 per floor of the home (MSRP: $19.99) for maximum accuracy tracking  (triangulation)

assume the average home gets 4.

 

That's 200Million at 19.95 (50% margin) ... 2Billion profits.

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post
 


Apple recently filed with the FCC Apple's own iBeacon hardware, so apparently Apple will make money from eventually selling the hardware.  I also wondered what was taking so long with Apple and yet other companies were already selling iBeacon hardware.  It's likely that those companies got licenses and paying Apple for the privilege of being first movers.  Some companies are selling iBeacon hardware from $10 to $20 apiece, so Apple would have to sell tens of millions of those things to make it financially worthwhile although the profits per device could be quite high.

By having its own iBeacon hardware, Apple can control the message more than it does today. For example, I purchased five $5 Qualcomm Gimbal devices to inexpensively learn how to use iBeacon technology around my three-story house. Well, I got what I paid for. The $5 Gimbal devices do not support the Apple's iBeacon protocol as the $20 Qualcomm Gimbal devices do. The $5 Qualcomm Gimbal devices support Qualcomm's version of the Apple iBeacon protocol. Qualcomm's protocol is nice and mirrors Apple's iBeacon protocol, but Qualcomm could go its own way while cutting Apple out.

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

let's say... there are 50 Million Apple households in the US.  (about 120Million households total in the US  in 2013)

Apple comes out with a home kit thing that does proximity detection enhancing with iBeacon technology  (door opening, presence, lights, whatever... let's assume it's killer and leave it at that).

 

You need 3 per floor of the home (MSRP: $19.99) for maximum accuracy tracking  (triangulation)

assume the average home gets 4.

 

That's 200Million at 19.95 (50% margin) ... 2Billion profits.

In my response above, I wrote about the $5 Qualcomm Gimbal devices. I am looking at purchasing five $20 Qualcomm Gimbal devices that support Apple's iBeacon protocol so that I can really learn how to do things Apple's way. The $20 devices will be for my house initially.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

somehow, unlike checking in to a car rental,  I sort of want someone to ensure that I'm the only one that can get into my hotel room.   

So I don't want to bypass the front desk (Well I want to, but I don't want anyone else to) on the way to my room.

 

Eventually, your iPhone will become your single 'ID' (like all those customer loyalty UPC scan cards).  I'd like to be able to just walk up to a cash register, and then press 'xmit' when I see on my screen 'Ralphs Grocery at 212 South Main San Diego is asking for your loyalty card. Shall I give them yours?'

 

This works for check-ins as well.  I truly think any loyalty program worth it's beans will basically allow you to walk up, click 'check in' on  your iPhone*, have 2 key cards drop out of the key recording machine, and you walk away, everything else coming from your reservation/profile online.

Once those keys are made, no one else can make keys for that room or in your name, without more verification.

 

*TouchID  pressed to release to the App your reservation and Creditcard info via BT....

 

My only concern would be someone stealing my phone and consequently gaining access to my room, but that isn't an issue with Touch ID.

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post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post
 
Hm, wasn't iBeacon meant to be merely anonymous; retailers can push information to devices, but can't gather anything from them?

Anyhow, I prefer to stay anonymous in most cases, and I prefer to pick food and drinks from the menu over somebody telling me what I am supposed to want.

iBeacon does not know what you ordered or even who you are. The app on the iPhone stores the location data and the restaurant can only get to the data with your permission, supposedly. As far as what you ordered being tracked, that is a bit far fetched and would not be possible with any accuracy without your full cooperation, unless you were the only person at the table and even then it would require your permission. Not saying they couldn't do some detective work and match up your name on the credit cared with the app database, but rather unlikely at this point in time. 

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