(DGIwire) – When Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 in September 2016, it included a big surprise: no headphone jack. Instead, iPhone 7 users can wear innovative wireless headphones created by Apple—called AirPods—that connect to the phone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. Other forms of wireless headphones will work with the iPhone 7 as well. In making this change, Apple is capitalizing on a trend: according to market research firm NPD Group, Bluetooth revenue overtook non-Bluetooth for the first time in June 2016, accounting for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales.
One group that ought to write thank-you cards to Apple for the switch is beacon marketers. This is because AirPods offer a powerful reason for iPhone users to keep their Bluetooth turned on at all times. Beacon marketing, also known as proximity marketing, relies on BLE technology to deliver location-specific mobile messages to the smartphones of shoppers and visitors at specific retail locations as well as at airports, museums and sporting and other events.
“The greater the number of devices in a consumer’s ecosystem requiring BLE technology, the more likely that BLE is to be left on as they go about their daily lives,” says Chris Stabile, Vice President of Business Development at Digital Social Retail, a company that has developed a beacon management platform that is revolutionizing the relationship between customers and brands. “For marketers, this means the ability to access more users with beacon technology. For consumers, it means more customized ads, coupons and notifications delivered directly to users’ mobile devices when they are near a point of interest.”
The Social Retail® digital convergence platform developed by Digital Social Retail works seamlessly with mobile screen messaging triggered by BLE beacons communicating with iOS and Android devices running Bluetooth. The platform has proven itself in a wide variety of applications to date.
For example, in May 2016, the company successfully deployed beacons throughout St. Étienne, France, with the aim of transforming it into a “smart city” for shoppers; the goal was to make individuals in the city aware of events, alerts and other noteworthy items on a regular basis and in real time, no matter where in town they happen to be. The company also made history at the Edmund de Rothschild Israel Masters golf tournament in Israel in 2015 by equipping each golfer’s bag with a Social Retail beacon, making the real-time scores and stats of each player available as spectators arrived in the vicinity of the player.
“The more consumers there are who use AirPods, the more likely proximity marketers are to harness beacons to reach them,” Stabile adds. “We could now be at a turning point when it comes to in-store beacon adoption now that BLE technology is being boosted to the next level.”