updated 10:53 pm EST, Fri January 17, 2014
Apple technology could deliver information, advertising during event
A advertising and marketing trade publication has reported that soft drink giant Coca-Cola is looking into Apple's iBeacon, a short-range Bluetooth-powered messaging technology, as part of its major sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup. The iBeacon is a small, Bluetooth Low Energy-powered device usually planted on a wall that detects smartphone proximity and, with permission, can broadcast a message or alert -- be it informational or advertising -- as a notification on the device.
"We are looking long and hard at iBeacons and what they might bring to market," The Drum quoted Simon Miles, digital director at Coca-Cola Enterprises. He revealed that the company is currently testing out iBeacon solutions in its own campus cafeteria." Beyond just the World Cup, Coca-Cola would like to expand the use of technologies like iBeacon through restaurants and other licensing solutions -- offering (or alerting users to) coupons and sale offers in grocery stores, informing fans if Coke is available at a bar or restaurant, helping users find a vending machine during concerts or other live events and so on.
Miles said that iBeacons could help "cut through the noise" in events like the World Cup which is already festooned with traditional advertising messages. An example he gave would notify a participating user of, for example, where Coke products are being sold in a venue when the user enters the parking lot, and a second message -- say, a combination food-drink offer -- when entering the stadium. Apple's iBeacons work with both iOS and Android products, utilizing standard messaging and push protocols.
Apple's iBeacon technology appears to be finding an audience with businesses as the most recent versions of Bluetooth (particularly the Smart and Low-Energy variations) become more mainstream. In addition to deploying iBeacons at all of its US Apple Stores, other companies such as American Eagle and Macy's have rolled out pilot programs using the small beacons in stores.