Beacon Technology: New Marketing Infrastructure


With the increased use of smartphones and mobile applications, beacon is emerging as the most effective short-distance bluetooth technology. Beacons are low-cost hardware that send or collect customer information in certain premises, which are currently considered the most efficient tool for collecting customer data. For instance, customers with a retail store mobile app could receive useful information when they pass by a beacon. Then, the beacon could track the pattern of the customer. With the collected data, the retail stores could rearrange the products in a way that is more appealing to customers.

Beacons have a few advanced features from the current bluetooth technology. For example, beacons automatically recognize an individual once the person enters the beacon service zone. Beacon technology also could be used either indoor or outdoor. Most importantly, beacons are battery friendly and last longer time, which saves significant amount of costs.

Recognizing beacons’ potential, IT companies are investing heavily on the technology. Apple, for instance, recently introduced iBeacon, which sends promotions or local information to the iPhone owner. A leading online payment system, PayPal also coordinated beacon into its current business model.

When a customer with the PayPal mobile app is near by, any store with PayPal Beacons could send coupons or purchase options to the customer. For instance, customers won’t have to wait for their bills at a restaurants. Instead, customers will receive payment options via PayPal beacons and PayPal app. Through the swift service, PayPal beacons help customers to save time, which would increase the overall PayPal usage.

Korean IT companies also have noticed the potential of beacon technologies. SK Telecom launched four beacon hardwares this May. The company installed the beacons at Bundang Seoul National University Hospital to guide patients on directions. Through a collaboration with SK Planet, SK Telecom also plans to launch “BlueTooth Beacon Service.” The service will be installed in stores and offer coupons to the customers.

Beacons are recognized in other industries as well. A Korean ad agency, S Apostrophe, is planning to introduce a beacon-based advertising platform. Jin Ho Lee, the manager of S Apostrophe commented that the beacon “will offer one-click payment in addition to location-base services”  The further details on the platform is under discussion.

Beacon technology has a huge potential in short-distance marketing and mobile payment system. The increased interests in this technology among Korean companies are expected to introduce more innovative beacon technology-based products.


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