Marketing Technology

Beacon Applications in Near Future

Identify passengers stuck in airport security.

A consortium of airlines and airports is testing placement of beacons at security lines in airports. Passengers’ airline apps would know those people are in the security line, and airlines could thus know if there are people at risk of missing their flight so, they can send out reps to get them or hold the plane. The same notion could be used at airport gates to monitor people who risk missing connecting flights or whose gates have changed even helping them get to their new gate faster.

Remember to take out the garbage

Imagine: You affix a beacon to your garbage can, and your task manager knows that Thursday is garbage pickup day. If you go past your garbage can on Thursday, a BLE auto-connection sends you a reminder to take it out. Combine that with GPS location detection from your phone, and your app will know if you did actually move the can to the kerb and not remind you.

Track things smarter
All sorts of industries are looking at affixing beacons to pallets, carts, and other movable equipment to track location as they move about. Think airline cargo containers, hospitals’ computers-on-wheels, warehouse pallets, museum artwork, bulldozers at construction sites, contractors at a job site, even hospital patients, students, or visitors (so they don’t get lost and their movement patterns can be discovered, such as for space planning).

Authorise access to cars, buildings, and more

We already have Bluetooth fobs to unlock our cars so that we can drive them and Bluetooth locks that know it’s your iPhone at the door. Kaiser Permanente uses Bluetooth badges to authorise physician access to their individual accounts in shared computers in each exam room. The same can be done with tablets.

It’s no surprise them that companies are exploring the use of beacons and people’s own mobile devices as access systems in their buildings or to unlock and start your car rather than use proprietary radio readers or fobs.

Navigate buildings and other spaces
When you visit a customer, you often get lost when trying to find a conference room, bathroom, or kitchen. Beacons can be used both as virtual “where am I?” kiosks and as monitors of your movement, so an app can guide you to your destination — and alert the company if you wander where you shouldn’t.

Plus, you can get information about where you are, whether about the artist whose painting you are viewing in a museum or the instructions for the copier you’re trying to operate — even just the Wi-Fi password for the conference room’s public hotspot.

Check out ski conditions at the lift
One ski resort is placing beacons at ski lift entrances not just to track the number of people using each lift, but to let skiers check the conditions for the runs available at each lift before they get on the lift. If a resort’s app had information about your age or skiing skills, it could even suggest that you should try a different run and thus go to a different lift.

Provide smarter signage
Signs are great but limited. They provide only the information they provide, and they are often limited to one or two languages. If signs were beacon-enabled, users could get translations in their languages along with more information than any sign could hold. You can imagine such uses in zoos, museums, and botanical gardens, but also amusement parks, airport lobbies, and hospitals.

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