By Sandeep Kishore
The online activities, trails, footprints and shadows which we leave in the digital world are the genesis for the hyper-personalization that everyone is trying to capitalize on.
We are moving into a new era of hyper-targeting. Marketers are constantly trying to super-personalize their messages and push the right deals to drive our buying decisions. Today’s technology has increasingly enabled a superior capture of context in the online world.
Google, for example, has a very high degree of the context of services you use, irrespective of their products (e.g., Chrome, Android, Gmail or Google search) leveraged. Google signs you into its bouquet of services, which also includes maps, docs and YouTube, and, therefore, the next time you search or use any of its services, it has a significantly better understanding of what you are looking for. You may be searching through the Chrome browser for the best sushi restaurant in New York City, with the best route from your hotel to that restaurant, and the cheapest airfare from Los Angeles to New York City, and Google will know exactly when you are planning to be in New York City, and whether you are more likely traveling for leisure or business. Similarly, Facebook pretty much knows your entire social life, interests, places you visit, friends, religious faith, favorite games and your point of view on most things. Both contexts provide the ideal set-up to identify the types of products and services you will most likely consider buying in the near future.
However, most of this contextual hyper-targeting and personalization is currently focused on e-businesses. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, which are still a significant part of the eco-system of our daily lives, have largely not benefitted from these advances. GPS satellites do not work well inside stores and malls, and location-based ad services are seldom received inside them. Near field communication’s (NFC’s) adoption has not been high, and its limited range has also hindered its success. In addition, integration of these individual technologies requires considerable effort and investment, which is often outside the scope for many small and medium businesses. It appears, however, all of this will change soon.
Welcome to the world of Bluetooth low energy. Bluetooth low energy is based on existing Bluetooth technology which works with small amounts of energy over the usual range of Bluetooth. It supports simple data transferred by sensors and is ideal for transferring data between sensors and smartphones, smartwatches, Google Glass and similar devices. Being low energy, it does not drain the batteries of smartphones or sensors while, at the same time, effectively overcoming the limitations of NFC’s 20 cm range issues.
Bluetooth low energy has huge implications for businesses. Bluetooth low energy sensors can easily be installed in shopping malls or large stores to interact with smartphones. It can show advertisements, offer deals, cross-sell or upsell relevant products, and can even predict user behavior if properly integrated with other smartphone apps and services. Multiple Bluetooth low energy sensors with hard-coded location elements can even track user movements in an indoor environment and deliver services or promotions accordingly.
The recent big news about Bluetooth low energy is Apple. With the launch of iOS 7, Apple has introduced iBeacon services. Although Apple did not talk much about this at the recent launch of iOS 7, Bluetooth low energy services are integrated into the iOS itself. Google has also recently