Coca-Cola mulls deployment of Apple's iBeacon at World Cup and beyond

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2014
Global beverage behemoth Coca-Cola is actively investigating a rollout of Apple's iBeacon technology as a part of its marketing campaign for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, for which the company is a major sponsor.

iBeacon


Speaking with marketing publication The Drum, Digital Director at Coca-Cola Enterprises Simon Miles said the company is seriously considering using iBeacon tech to tie together its World Cup marketing plans. More importantly, Coca-Cola extend the use of Apple's micro-location solution worldwide in licensing and restaurant applications through its many brands.

"We are looking long and hard at iBeacons and what they might bring to market," Miles said. "It's very interesting. We have some good ideas which will come to market this year around this as there are big opportunities."

Miles notes that it is extremely difficult to cut through "the noise" at huge events like the World Cup, which are saturated thousands of advertisements. With iBeacon, Coca-Cola would be able to offer a new and unique delivery system that would help its fixtures stand apart from the ad overload.

The company is especially interested in iBeacon's Bluetooth Low Energy-based proximity detection capabilities. Miles gave the example of installing iBeacons in such a manner that a customer may receive a message upon entering a parking lot, then a second message when entering a store. This would allow for highly specific and persistent marketing.

The company is currently testing out an iBeacon solution in its campus cafeteria, Miles said.

"This will start to help us cut through. Also in the license trade - in bars for example it's hard to see what soft drinks are available as people simply can't see over the bar - there are no visible signs," Miles said. "We can do that with iBeacons - the opportunities in different environments like live events, restaurants and license trade - are big," he said.

In December, Apple deployed iBeacons at all 254 Apple Store locations across the U.S., while startup Shopkick used the tech to in a pilot program at two Macy's locations. Most recently, Shopkick on Thursday rolled out a more ambitious test of its shopBeacons at 100 American Eagle Outfitters stores.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 87
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    As new as it is and with so little effort put into marketing iBeacons it's seems it's already more widely adopted than Google Wallet, and they didn't have to give everyone $10 to try to make it popular.
  • Reply 2 of 87
    Easy to install and easy to remove; practically invisible with limitless possibilities. I say go for it.
    This is also good technology for merchants to invest in because the usage possibilities for iBeacon will grow exponentially.
  • Reply 3 of 87
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    I have iOS 7 on iPhone 5. What, if anything do I need to download to access iBeacon? I've been out of touch for the last 3 months so I'm trying to catch up.

  • Reply 4 of 87
    wingswings Posts: 261member
    mstone: The way I understand it, you first have to download an app for the store you will be visiting. Once you have that app and OK the use of iBeacons, the app will give you a notification of some pertinent info for some product that you are near or that the app may think you have an interest in. Like, if you walk down the aisle for nuclear fusion reactors it will tell you that there is a sale going on for heavy hydrogen in the next aisle.

    For the Coke usage of iBeacons at a ball game, I'm not too sure what they will do, or what kind of app you would have to download first. I would guess to remind you that they have Coke at the concession stand ... but we already would know that, so ... ???

    For me, having to d/l an app just so I can get advertisements is something I'll pass on.
  • Reply 5 of 87
    solipsismx wrote: »
    As new as it is and with so little effort put into marketing iBeacons it's seems it's already more widely adopted than Google Wallet, and they didn't have to give everyone $10 to try to make it popular.

    Oh, yeah!

    iBeacons just might be the breakthrough technology of 2013-2014...
  • Reply 6 of 87
    mstone wrote: »
    I have iOS 7 on iPhone 5. What, if anything do I need to download to access iBeacon? I've been out of touch for the last 3 months so I'm trying to catch up.

    See here:

    http://estimote.com

    More later...

    Edit:

    An iOS 7 device can act as both an iBeacon, and an iDevice listening for iBeacons at the same time. So, if you have more than 1 iOS 7 device...
  • Reply 7 of 87
    wings wrote: »
    mstone: The way I understand it, you first have to download an app for the store you will be visiting. Once you have that app and OK the use of iBeacons, the app will give you a notification of some pertinent info for some product that you are near or that the app may think you have an interest in. Like, if you walk down the aisle for nuclear fusion reactors it will tell you that there is a sale going on for heavy hydrogen in the next aisle.

    Yes, and no!

    What you have described is the suggested way iBeacons be implemented. Though, an app can listen for iBeacons from multiple stores -- maximum 20, AIR. So, a restaurant app could listen for iBeacons from 20 restaurants nearby, say within 200 feet of your current GPS location. An aggregate app, say Yelp, could cause your iDevice to listen for the top 20 Italian restaurants within a 3-4 mile radius. The user would preselect the type, distance, etc.

    iBeacons is an Apple high-level implementation of the Core Bluetooth API. At a lower level, tou can write an app that listens for any/all beacons. Presumably the app could use WiFi or Cell to query a server and filter [react] to only those of interest... The app can use both the iBeacons API and the Core Bluetooth API.

    For the Coke usage of iBeacons at a ball game, I'm not too sure what they will do, or what kind of app you would have to download first. I would guess to remind you that they have Coke at the concession stand ... but we already would know that, so ... ???

    For me, having to d/l an app just so I can get advertisements is something I'll pass on.

    What if the Coke app offers you [pushes a notification for] free nachos (or poutine) with the purchase of a Mondo Coke -- as you sit in your seat or when you approach a food concession... $5 off any T-Shirt in the stadium store... 10% off your next purchase off a ticket to the ballpark... The co-marketing possibilities are enormous!

    Then, by people accepting or ignoring the "offer", Coke can assess the effectiveness of the marketing approach -- and possibly fine-tune it in real-time.
  • Reply 8 of 87
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    Yes, and no!

    What you have described is the suggested way iBeacons be implemented. Though, an app can listen for iBeacons from multiple stores -- maximum 20, AIR. So, a restaurant app could listen for iBeacons from 20 restaurants nearby, say within 200 feet of your current GPS location. An aggregate app, say Yelp, could cause your iDevice to listen for the top 20 Italian restaurants within a 3-4 mile radius. The user would preselect the type, distance, etc.

    iBeacons is an Apple high-level implementation of the Core Bluetooth API. At a lower level, tou can write an app that listens for any/all beacons. Presumably the app could use WiFi or Cell to query a server and filter [react] to only those of interest... The app can use both the iBeacons API and the Core Bluetooth API.
    What if the Coke app offers you [pushes a notification for] free nachos (or poutine) with the purchase of a Mondo Coke -- as you sit in your seat or when you approach a food concession... $5 off any T-Shirt in the stadium store... 10% off your next purchase off a ticket to the ballpark... The co-marketing possibilities are enormous!

    Then, by people accepting or ignoring the "offer", Coke can assess the effectiveness of the marketing approach -- and possibly fine-tune it in real-time.

    Thanks for the info. Are there apps that aggregate iBeacon data already in the AppStore? I too think that having to download an app to receive the notification removes the point.
  • Reply 9 of 87
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    I have iOS 7 on iPhone 5. What, if anything do I need to download to access iBeacon? I've been out of touch for the last 3 months so I'm trying to catch up.


     

    You just need an App to receive iBeacons from a specific group of one or more stores.

    If you have the Apple Store Application on your iPhone then you can test it at any Apple Store in the US.

     

    I believe Shopkick is doing a trial with Macy's in New York City's Herald Square and San Francisco’s Union Square stores.

    Shopkick will also partner with various other stores.

    image

     

    Major League Baseball is also using iBeacon at Citi Fields in New York.

     

    image

  • Reply 10 of 87
    This will be a complete waste of money for Coca Cola in my opinion. People complain with Google and advertising, now I'm amazed from all the comments so far, encouraging this beacon use. I can't think of anything worse than being bombarded with vouchers and offers which in my view is mostly junk mail, contributing to make the battery performance even worse.
  • Reply 11 of 87
    From a public perspective iBeacon is really in danger of becoming a nasty piece of work from near infancy.

    The idea of adverts without providing useful content sounds absolutely terrible.
  • Reply 12 of 87
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saltyzip View Post



    This will be a complete waste of money for Coca Cola in my opinion. People complain with Google and advertising, now I'm amazed from all the comments so far, encouraging this beacon use. I can't think of anything worse than being bombarded with vouchers and offers which in my view is mostly junk mail, contributing to make the battery performance even worse.

     

    Are you kidding?  Do you know what the World Cup is?

    Coca Cola has this great opportunity at the World Cup because it is a sponsor.  

    iBeacon is relatively inexpensive to deploy and every sane company would jump on this opportunity.

     

    Also iPhone users chose to receive the iBeacon, it is not forced on them.  They have to "opt -in" first and can "opt-out" at any time.

     

    BlueTooth LE (Low Energy) power consumption is negligible unlike NFC.

  • Reply 13 of 87
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,593member
    Oh, yeah!

    iBeacons just might be the breakthrough technology of 2013-2014...

    It's a timely technology Dick, with other companies besides Apple doing their own Beacon programs in recognition of the immense potential they offer for understanding you as a consumer.

    But you seem so gung-ho, almost giddy, despite the tracking and sharing of who you are, what you're doing, what you've eaten and what you've looked at. That's despite your concern over the data collection and ad targeting done by Google. Worse, the enabling allowed via iBeacons is with very little oversight to this point. This is not controlled by Apple but simply enabled by them. Third parties will be trading on Apple's good reputation to convince you and others that installing apps to communicate back and forth with iBeacons is a wonderful opportunity. You'll be missing out if you're not using them whenever available. Nothing to be concerned about right? Not all that different from on-line ads.

    Consider an example. Shopkick is already rolling out iBeacon programs in both Macy and American Eagle. Have you actually read ShopKick's privacy policy? If not you should take a few minutes to do so. See anything in there that raises red flags for you? I'm sincerely interested in your take on it.
    http://www.shopkick.com/privacy-policy

    What I see is that by simply using their app without even registering you've expressly agreed to a whole lot of permissions and sharing that go far beyond anything Apple or Google privacy policies allow. This is just one example too. No idea if it's more or less permissive than what you've envisioned for your app. I believe you've mentioned you're working on one.

    So you're not just dealing with Apple. If that were the case I'd see far less to be concerned about it. Instead Apple seems to have opened the barn doors wide in an effort to spread iBeacon use as far as possible in as short a time as they can. New and valuable personal data collection methods that weren't previously possible is the carrot to get'em out of the barn.

    I believe Apple's end-game is to profit from the transaction with a piece of the payment, and maybe a little of the ad revenue too. Until the groundwork is in place they can't do it. To get there iBeacons need to get widely dispersed out in the field. Doing so with few if any rules but lots of benefits to the provider and their partners speeds the way.

    Carrots. Much like free Google services but much more intrusive, detailed and personal and far less controlled.
  • Reply 14 of 87
    clemynx wrote: »
    Yes, and no!

    What you have described is the suggested way iBeacons be implemented. Though, an app can listen for iBeacons from multiple stores -- maximum 20, AIR. So, a restaurant app could listen for iBeacons from 20 restaurants nearby, say within 200 feet of your current GPS location. An aggregate app, say Yelp, could cause your iDevice to listen for the top 20 Italian restaurants within a 3-4 mile radius. The user would preselect the type, distance, etc.

    iBeacons is an Apple high-level implementation of the Core Bluetooth API. At a lower level, tou can write an app that listens for any/all beacons. Presumably the app could use WiFi or Cell to query a server and filter [react] to only those of interest... The app can use both the iBeacons API and the Core Bluetooth API.
    What if the Coke app offers you [pushes a notification for] free nachos (or poutine) with the purchase of a Mondo Coke -- as you sit in your seat or when you approach a food concession... $5 off any T-Shirt in the stadium store... 10% off your next purchase off a ticket to the ballpark... The co-marketing possibilities are enormous!

    Then, by people accepting or ignoring the "offer", Coke can assess the effectiveness of the marketing approach -- and possibly fine-tune it in real-time.

    Thanks for the info. Are there apps that aggregate iBeacon data already in the AppStore? I too think that having to download an app to receive the notification removes the point.

    Short answer: No, not yet!

    iBeacon technology first appeared on a slide at WWDC on June 10, 2013 -- it was not mentioned in the preso.

    iBeacon technology became available with iOS 7 on September 18, 2013.

    Apple has yet to completely define the hardware/firmware specs for an iBeacon (probably intentional).

    Apple is a little fuzzy on the software APIs (also probably intentional).

    Several companies were experimenting with beacons using "Bluetooth Smart" AKA "Bluetooth 4.0" AKA "BLE" (Bluetooth Low Energy) when iBeacons hit the scene.

    There was a sudden rush to take advantage of Apple's iBeacons -- by conforming, as best they could, to the known Apple information... And try to put together "beacon developer kits" (hardware and SDK} to get to market. Most of these were pre-order and weren't available until December 2013...

    So, most developers have only had access to iBeacons for, at most, a month...

    There were some corners cut in the first shipments by some beacon suppliers (no encryption, unsettable unique device ID, etc.). These are to be resolved by firmware/SDK updates in the next month or so.

    So, we are still in the very early stages...
  • Reply 15 of 87
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

     

     

    Are you kidding?  Do you know what the World Cup is?

    Coca Cola has this great opportunity at the World Cup because it is a sponsor.

    iBeacon is relatively inexpensive to deploy and every sane company would jump on this opportunity.

     

    Also iPhone users chose to receive the iBeacon, it is not forced on them.  They have to "opt -in" first and can "opt-out" at any time.

     

    BlueTooth LE (Low Energy) power consumption is negligible unlike NFC.


     I can also see why so many companies would want to deploy ibeacon, it's a cheap way to spam people on their mobile devices. The problem is how many users are going to keep ibeacon enabled if everytime they walk by a coke machine they're going to get ibeacon spam?

     

    I would love to see ibeacon used in restuarants to view the menus and stuff, but  it sounds like all these companies just want to use it to send  ads and spam. If ibeacon tech becomes nothing more then an ad/spam delivery system, I think most people will be turned off by this tech pretty fast.

  • Reply 16 of 87
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Carrots. Much like free Google services but much more intrusive, detailed and personal and far less controlled.

    I don't follow, and I read the privacy policy you posted. Let's remember this isn't everyone with an iDevice that will be bombarded but people 1) who have installed the app on their device, 2) have the app active in some sense on their device, and 3) are in the store in a certain area. How is that intrusive when the the consumer has to put so much effort to get iBeacons to show up.
  • Reply 17 of 87
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,225member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    As new as it is and with so little effort put into marketing iBeacons it's seems it's already more widely adopted than Google Wallet, and they didn't have to give everyone $10 to try to make it popular.

    Agreed, kind of like another one of their 'hobbies' isn't it?
  • Reply 18 of 87
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,225member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I don't follow, and I read the privacy policy you posted. Let's remember this isn't everyone with an iDevice that will be bombarded but people 1) who have installed the app on their device, 2) have the app active in some sense on their device, and 3) are in the store in a certain area. How is that intrusive when the the consumer has to put so much effort to get iBeacons to show up.

    There you go, talking logically again! What are you thinking?
  • Reply 19 of 87
    saltyzip wrote: »
    This will be a complete waste of money for Coca Cola in my opinion. People complain with Google and advertising, now I'm amazed from all the comments so far, encouraging this beacon use. I can't think of anything worse than being bombarded with vouchers and offers which in my view is mostly junk mail, contributing to make the battery performance even worse.

    From a public perspective iBeacon is really in danger of becoming a nasty piece of work from near infancy.

    The idea of adverts without providing useful content sounds absolutely terrible.

    Think about it this way:
    • The airwaves are bombarded with radio signals -- Cell, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, AM Radio, FM Radio, to name a few obvious ones.
    • Yet, we humans are bombarded with nothing... Why? Because we're not listening.
    • To listen to an AM radio station we need a device (a radio) that converts these waves to sound.
    • Then, we have to turn the radio on.
    • Then we have to tune it to a station that has the content we want to hear!
    • We can choose ad-free stations or be bombarded with ads -- our choice.

    Finally the radio station (or anyone else) can not detect that we are listening, what we are listening to, where we are while we are listening.


    For iBeacons:
    • Your iDevice is your radio
    • You need to download and install the app
    • You need to launch the app
    • You need to to enable, Bluetooth, Location Services and Push Notifications for the app
    • Likely, the app will give you choices to what iBeacons you listen for

    Finally the IBeacon (or anyone else) can not detect that we are listening, what we are listening to, where we are while we are listening.
  • Reply 20 of 87
    chrispoe wrote: »
     

    Are you kidding?  Do you know what the World Cup is?
    Coca Cola has this great opportunity at the World Cup because it is a sponsor.
    iBeacon is relatively inexpensive to deploy and every sane company would jump on this opportunity.

    Also iPhone users chose to receive the iBeacon, it is not forced on them.  They have to "opt -in" first and can "opt-out" at any time.

    BlueTooth LE (Low Energy) power consumption is negligible unlike NFC.
     I can also see why so many companies would want to deploy ibeacon, it's a cheap way to spam people on their mobile devices. The problem is how many users are going to keep ibeacon enabled if everytime they walk by a coke machine they're going to get ibeacon spam?

    I would love to see ibeacon used in restuarants to view the menus and stuff, but  it sounds like all these companies just want to use it to send  ads and spam. If ibeacon tech becomes nothing more then an ad/spam delivery system, I think most people will be turned off by this tech pretty fast.

    " I can also see why so many companies would want to deploy ibeacon, it's a cheap way to spam people on their mobile devices."

    Do you have a citation, link or study to support this?

    You can choose to listen or not and what/when to listen -- if you don't like the content, don't listen!
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