7 major trends for BLE Beacons in 2016
Beacons are among the most important new mobile technologies helping real-world companies win sales and deliver outstanding interactive diggital experiences to their customers. By addressing many important verticals (retail, public transportation, logistics, hospitality, events and healthcare, to mention only a few) and providing precision and effectiveness in micro-location, presence detection and contextual communication, beacons appear like an important shining star of the new economy, in many articles, reports and researches published recently.
We have extracted the essential ideas, opinions and relevant informations that we have recently found online, about trends in our market, and we are happy to list and shortly describe all of them below.
1. The world is being sensored up
Two weeks ago, Proxbook published his report for Q4 2015, which presents key findings from the beacon space and the proximity industry. The report indicates that 5.103.500 proximity sensors were deployed globally at the end of 2015, and almost 4 millions of these sensors are Bluetooth beacons.
51% of the Proximity Solution Providers (PSPs) registered in Proxbook’s database are now operating beacon networks i.e. a large number of beacons in multiple locations, which can be accessed by 3rd parties. Also, the average number of sensors per PSP continued to grow, up by 28% from 16,377 in Q3 to 20,916, indicating that proximity projects are moving from pilot to full commercial deployments. Also, Europe is growing fastest, compared to USA.
In the same report, Proxbook indicates that the number of proximity companies increases, and the market players tend to specialize in industry verticals to differentiate themselves from competitors and optimize their solutions for a specific sector. At the same time, they focus more on data and analytics.
“75% of proximity companies now offer tools for analytics, up from 60% in Q3. Out of the $310.9 million making up the top 10 investments into proximity companies in 2015, the primary focus is in location analytics and maximizing data”, says the Proxbook Report.
2. Beacons become the leading proximity technology
In a statement made to endorse the Proxbook report, the senior analyst of ABI Research, Patrick Connoly, confirms with precision that the market development estimates from Proxbook are perfectly matching the expectations of ABI research, the number of 400 million beacon sensors deployed till 2020 being considered a reachable target for the companies in this sector.
The report found that one of the most common features of 2015 was that pilots increasingly entered into full scale deployments, proving that clients are seeing encouraging results from proximity marketing.
“The latest statistics from Unacast align with ABI Research’s own estimate of where the BLE Beacon market should be right now in order to achieve our longer term expectations for indoor location/proximity technologies“, also said Patrick Connoly.
3. Over the next 5 years, 70% of Retail companies will use beacons
In an excellent article published recently on the Samsung Insights Blog, the experienced business journalist Deena M. Amato-McCoy estimates that Beacons technology could be the best chance for retailers to re-connect with their customers, because the shoppers’ loyalty becomes increasingly hard to cultivate, in an omnichannel crowded world, where people tend to reject all types of outbound impersonal approaches.
“By using beacon technology for retail to personalize the shopping experience, brick-and-mortar stores are driving customer engagement to turn shoppers into loyal brand advocates. Beacons are such a powerful engagement tool that 70 percent of companies plan to add the functionality over the next five years, according to data shared during Boston Retail Partners’ session”, writes Deena M. Amato-McCoy.
4. Eddystone will change and speed up the market
At the end of 2015, the British proximity marketing company Proxama announced the deployment of the largest independent network of Bluetooth beacons in London and formulated extremely positive expectations for the market evolution in 2016, estimating that there will be a shift from stand-alone beacon trials to campaigns fully integrated into digital marketing strategies.
This trend is confirmed by the Proxbook report, where it is mentioned that, being launched only six months ago, the share of Google Eddystone supporters is growing at a rapid rate to 38% of all companies in Proxbook, up from 25% in Q3 and 5% in Q2 2015.
“Targeted, well thought-out delivery of coupons not only increases footfall into bricks and mortar stores, but can also drive customer retention by leveraging data collected from beacon interactions to ‘listen’ and learn about consumers’ behaviours, needs and wants”, also said Jon Worley, CEO of Proximity Marketing Division at Proxama.
5. Much accurate and authentic data for marketers
In a short but very comprehensive article published at the begining of January on Luxury Daily, Kevin Hunter, president of inMarket, estimates that the beacons and the companies involved in the micro-location and mobile proximity industry will try to provide more and more accurate and profound data and analytics for marketing purposes.
This optimistic perspective insists on the marketing-related focus: “Offline retailers will leverage digital tactics such as retargeting and pre-targeting to help drive real world sales. Mobile proximity will move out of innovation budgets to become the fastest growing piece of mobile ad spending in 2016”, also said Kevin Hunter, president at inMarket.
6. New use cases in other verticals than Retail
After the large deployment of BLE beacons in Bucharest, dedicated to the visually impaired passengers of the local public transportation network, Onyx Beacon has extended the initial solution, trying to deliver supplementary services based on micro-location and contextual communication, dedicated to all types of passengers, but also to dispatchers, drivers and infrastructure managers in pulic transportation systems. An italian regional transportation company has implemented some of these functionalities for all its passengers.
At the same time, the Onyx Beacon partners have recently launched smart mobile integrated solutions for marketing in banking, for interactive experiences in the events industry, for administrative purposes in education and there are new solutions in phase of development for use cases in logistics, healthcare or building and facility management.
Besides the classic benefits delivered by the BLE beacons (contextual communication, proximity marketing and presence detection), there are more situations when companies are interested in the so-called non-interactive capabilities of this technology, especially for analytics and location intelligence.
“The information gathered by using beacon infrastructures could be extremely valuable and very effective for improving internal business processes. Another function where beacons begin to be interesting-to-use is the indoors orientation, where Onyx Beacon has already created an integrated solution, called Wayfinder. Another area where the beacon providers will have to focus on very soon is to create effective solutions that will allow users to easily manage and maintain large fleets of beacons, said Bogdan Oros.
7. Spectacular growth rate from a quarter to another
In an interview for Streetfightmag, Thomas Walle Jensen, CEO of Unacast, underlines that the number of sensors deployed at global level increases in a fast pace: 52% growth from Q3 to Q4 in 2015 and 490% from Q2 to Q4 in the same year. By keeping the same growth rate, the number of beacons will reach 400 million in 2020.
“I believe 2016 will be a tipping point for the proximity industry when we will see more and more large scale commercial deployments and when real shoppers start to interact more regularly with the sensors around them and experience the benefits”, added Thomas Walle Jensen.