More than a Buzzword, Beacon Technology Promises to Catch On - eMarketer
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More than a Buzzword, Beacon Technology Promises to Catch On

October 14, 2015 | Advertising & Marketing | Mobile | Technology


Jeff Malmad
Managing Director, Head of Mobile and Life+
Mindshare North America

Beacons have been around for almost two years, but aside from being a much-used buzzword, the technology has not been adopted by many. Jeff Malmad, managing director and head of mobile and life+ at Mindshare North America, recently spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about the future of beacons and whether the hype has died down.

eMarketer: Beacons have been around for about two years. Is that enough time to declare it a failure?

Jeff Malmad: Although beacons have been around for two years, we’re still so early on in the world of connected everything and the internet of things (IoT) that we are learning.

Beacons are not going to go away. Sensor-based technology is going to continue to grow and expand and proliferate in retail, out-of-home and workplace environments.

Google recently announced that they’re deploying their own type of beacon open-sourced system that’s going to work with iBeacons, as well as an open-source that they’ve developed called Eddystone, which will give more scale to beacons outside of just iOS devices. Those with an Android device will be able to receive push notifications triggered off of beacons as well in the very near future.

eMarketer: What’s holding adoption back?

Malmad: There are a lot of players in the space who are trying to figure out how to use beacons from a marketing standpoint.

eMarketer: Are there technologies that are better suited for doing what beacons promise?

“Beacons are not going to go away. Sensor-based technology is going to continue to grow and expand and proliferate in retail, out-of-home and workplace environments.”

Malmad: Location-aware technology might be better than beacons. It’s not going to be as close to touching people in the aisle, but if I trigger a specific latitude and longitude, then I may get a push notification delivered to my device if I had that specific app on my phone.

eMarketer: What’s the ideal use case for beacons?

Malmad: We leveraged beacons recently for a campaign we did that would allow consumers to learn about recipe inspiration while they’re in [the grocery store] aisle. When consumers walked down the aisle, we pushed a notification giving them recipe inspiration from the company we were working with.

You’re going to start seeing a lot more of that. One of the things we don’t want to happen in the world of beacons is what we call “notification numbness.” Notification numbness is pushing too many messages to people within the beacon environment, or in the push notification environment, that’s going to get consumers to actually turn off those notifications being delivered to their device.

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