There’s been plenty of hype around iBeacon since it launched with iOS7 last year, however most of the conversation to date has focused on how the technology will transform the retail sector via in-store content and marketing. We’ve already spent plenty of time brainstorming iBeacon applications across a range of different industries, but more recently we’ve started to see some really interesting applications come to life in the real world.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the interesting applications we’ve come across.
1. Tribeca Film Festival* *
The Tribeca Film Festival is using iBeacons as a way to alert app users of screening times, nearby festival venues and offers. Users of the official app will get proximity alerts when they’re near a participating theatre or event. The alerts will provide details of screening times and users can purchase tickets directly from the app. We see a huge opportunity for festivals and events to use iBeacon as a way to augment the experience and deliver additional value to attendees.
2. BeHere app
A new app called BeHere has the ability to recognise students and automatically take attendance as they enter a classroom. With the app installed the teacher’s iPad acts as an iBeacon and students that enter the room with a compatible iOS device will automatically appear in the app with a profile picture and name. We think iBeacon has huge potential to improve workplace productivity through automation of real world tasks such as taking attendance.
3. Launch Here
A new app called Launch Here aims to bring iBeacons into the home environment. The app works by allowing you to setup rules for quickly launching smartphone apps based on your proximity to iBeacons placed within your home. For example, your phone can automatically launch the Netflix app when entering the living room or automatically launch a cooking app when entering the kitchen. There’s no doubt that iBeacon is set to be used extensively in the home automation and personalisation space.
4. Fabergé’s Big Egg Hunt
Fabergé’s Big Egg Hunt is an outdoor event in New York aiming to raise funds for two non-profits, Studio in a School and Elephant Family. The event is also an experiment in using iBeacon technology in public spaces. Over 275 egg sculptures have been placed around New York, and each has been decorated by a well-known artist, photographer or designer. Each egg is up for sale, and those who check-in at the egg can bid on it using the app. Users of the app are also entered to win more than $30,000 worth of Fabergé jewellery. We can’t wait to see what other creative fundraising executions emerge using iBeacon technology.
5. United Nations minefield simulation
One of the most unique applications of iBeacon technology we’ve seen is for the UN’s International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action which took place on April 4. New Museum in New York City hosted an exhibit that used iBeacons to simulate a virtual minefield and let anyone experience the danger of land mines.
The Sweeper app allows anyone to experience the fear of living with land mines. Using iBeacon to find a phone’s location, the Sweeper app detects transmitters hidden throughout the exhibit. When a person comes too close to a transmitter, it acts as a landmine and detonates, filling the user’s headphones with a jarring, visceral explosion followed by an audio testimony of someone’s actual experience.
6. Bar Kick
One London-based company is using iBeacon to help sell subscriptions to digital magazines. Exact Editions is the company, and already makes magazines targeted at iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The use of iBeacons by Exact Editions is part of their ByPlace program, which launched earlier this year to help publishers specify certain locations where their titles could be available without the usual individual subscription fee. “As this is very much new technology we are showcasing it for the first time at Bar Kick in Shoreditch, London,” Exact Editions’ Daniel Hodgkin explained. “When in this bar, the soccer magazine ‘When Saturday Comes’ and the fashion and culture magazine ‘Dazed & Confused’ will be available.”
The benefit is supposedly two-fold for a digital magazine publisher: they can sell subscriptions to businesses and locations, which then expose that publication to their customers, some of whom come away from the specific spot wanting to subscribe to the pub themselves.
7. DoubleDutch Event App
Event applications and management software provider DoubleDutch is using iBeacon technology to help meeting managers collect more precise data on the behaviour of individual meeting delegates. Managers are able to setup a number of parameters for particular session or events, and collect data on any delegate that enters an iBeacon zone.
DoubleDutch iBeacon features include Head Count, which identifies for meeting organizers the sessions attendees visit without requiring delegates to check in or fill out a survey, and Nearby Network, which allows delegates to connect with like-minded people in their vicinity.
8. Mingleton dating app
Mingleton is a start-up that has developed a mobile dating application that uses iBeacon to connect you with potential matches that are nearby. The founders describe it as Tinder “for the people in your immediate vicinity.” The app doesn’t require venues to have Bluetooth Low Energy devices installed in order to work, but rather leverages the iBeacon technology within the iPhone itself to help users find each other. Whilst Mingleton has capitalised on the iBeacon hype, it’s worth noting that this type of functionality can be achieved using a phone’s standard GPS capability.