Beacons: Shining a light on the past and the future

As I watched the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations last month, one thing really struck me. Communities from all over the UK had come together and built beacons – on farms, common land, back gardens and parks – which were all lit to celebrate the Queen’s special day.  It would have been incredible to see all of these beacons from the air – a trail of lights that stretched the breadth and depth of the nation, all focused on celebrating a single, landmark event.

They were used because beacons in all their guises have been central to our communities for millennia. From the earliest periods of human existence, they have been used to communicate and guide us. From the ancient hilltop fire beacons communicating messages of special events or impending war or invasion to the lighthouse beacons guiding wayward seafarers away from hidden rocks and dangerous coastlines, they have been a part of our cultural fabric for centuries.  And, they continue to be so today.

But how so today? Think iBeacons – a technology that enables apps on a mobile phone to recognise where they are at the ‘micro-local’ level and then deliver highly-personalised content to the owner of the mobile phone based on their location. Sure, iBeacon technology is dramatically different in terms of the message delivery mechanism – you would expect that in 3000 years! So while today, iBeacons communicate using frequencies and phones rather than fire; the essence of what a beacon is required to do – deliver a relevant message in a timely manner to the intended recipient – is exactly the same.

At Signbox, we are seeing more and more of our customers adopting iBeacon and other proximity marketing and app-based technologies to help them communicate with their customers. I believe iBeacons will become an ever more critical component of a brand’s marketing mix over the next few years as the technology evolves and brands seek more personalised and creative ways of engaging directly with their customers.

If you want to find out more about how iBeacon and proximity marketing technologies can greatly enhance your communications with your customers, feel free to call me and have a chat. Mark.

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