The Internet of Things (IoT) begins to become a reality in Brazil and the technologies of this ecosystem can be applied in several sectors such as industry, agribusiness, services, logistics, hospital management, smart cities or retail , among other segments. So I made a point of putting the word plural technologies because this is a growing market that brings together different platforms of software, equipment, sensors and applications. According to the IDC, world spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to reach US $ 772.5 billion in 2018.
Given this multiplicity of applications, technological resources and representative figures, I believe in the importance of presenting real situations and examples that facilitate the understanding and implementation of IoT projects in real life, that is, show the technological trend in practice and contribute to affirm that small and medium-sized companies can also introduce IoT into their business, selecting within this myriad of options the one that best suits their reality.
Beacon, for example, is a technology of the IoT universe that can be used in marketing, relationship and sales actions with high potential for return on investment. This technology can be used by networks of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, amusement parks, malls and airports, among other options.
In short, we can describe the beacon as a device installed in an establishment, be it on the desk, in a window, on the wall or shelf, capable of sending information to nearby smartphones via bluetoothh signals. This information can be processed by specific applications (for example, the store or mall application that is using the technology), or you can use the “Physics Web” standard created by Google that allows any Android or IOS phone to receive information through of web links (IOS phones need to have the Chrome browser installed).
The price and availability in the Brazilian market for this technology are affordable, since we already have a version created with national technology, eliminating the import process, costs of taxes and other complications.
In view of this ease of access to the devices, the application of beacons in marketing and customer relationship actions is one of the main applications, since it allows the execution of sales campaigns, since a store can send a discount coupon, provide product information for customers within your facility and even to potential customers who are close to the location.
Another example of action can be made possible through partnerships between the management of a mall and its tenants. In this model the mall manages the content that is sent by the beacons in order to present visitors with information about products and services offered by stores, such as the launch of a product or a promotion in progress. It is also possible, through this technology, the implementation of indoor navigation systems (indoors) that guide the customer inside the mall to the store that provides the service or promotion that interested him.
The technology also makes it possible for Beacons to be used inside the stores, close to the products that are for sale, providing information, promotions and recipes related to the items exposed to consumers. This allows the consumer to decide more quickly on the purchase and also minimizes the wait for consultants. Parallel to these actions, the shopkeeper is able to collect the data about the customers’ routes within the store, view the items consulted by the consumer and analyze this information to understand consumer preferences and to mark their trade marketing and promotion strategies. Until very recently, professionals in this area needed to film customers in the corridors of their facility and analyze behavior, time how long it takes a person to choose an item on the shelf, on a time-consuming and manual job.
These initiatives contribute to customer loyalty and can enhance the public experience at the point of sale. Another advantage is that the technology often encourages the customer to install the store’s mobile application on their smartphone in order to further enhance the relationship between the retailer and the consumer. From the dissemination of this new marketing culture and actions at the point of sale, the gift leaflets, cut-off coupons and folders will be viewed in the near future as obsolete merchandising materials.
Mário Prado, MsC., And Computer Engineer at the University of São Carlos and CTO at Taggen Soluções IoT.