Beacons and You: Why fear the unknown.

Beacons and You: Why fear the unknown.

Big Ideas

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June 22 2015
Big Ideas
Author: Darryl Wood

For anyone who has taken public transportation there are two way you can handle it; either make yourself comfortable with your surroundings and communicate with those around you, or pull yourself in and get annoyed with anything that enters your personal “bubble of solitude.”

If I told you that there were these cockroach-sized entities that will yell at you when you get close to them, or snag a small bit of DNA from you as you pass by would you run in fear? Perhaps if I explained that they were here to help – maybe financially, maybe even make it easier to access an item you want/need. Do you feel a little bit better about these things?

Let me introduce to you the concept of Beacons.


Beacons work off of Bluetooth communications, and speak to your mobile device. They are designed to make a small inquiry about your phone, and perhaps send it a chunk of information like a coupon or advertisement. Usually the advertisements and coupons are related to the item the beacon is placed behind.


These small battery-operated devices can live up to approximately 1 to 2 months, some up to a year depending on usage, and are really cheap when purchased in bulk. Instead of pairing the beacon senses your mobile device, and communicates with it in the desired fashion. If the beacon is placed in a location near a retail item, it would probably send you a coupon to purchase the same item online or a coupon for an additional item in store, or perhaps send you an advertisement about a related product. Another use could be in a museum or exhibit, instead of being chauffeured around in a group, attendees could approach each display at their own pace and a beacon would relay any additional information about each item.

Since your mobile device is an extension of yourself, you have a tiny amount of DNA that you carry in your pocket. This is merely insignificant information about you as a person and more about you as a device. Your make and model is enough to data-mine about who you are as a person, your likes and dislikes, you have now been stereotyped; enjoy it.

But this only allows companies who deploy these beacons to tell what TYPE of person shops or commutes in the area thus allowing them to target their advertising more to the appropriate people. So, this actually means that you would have more advertising and coupons targeted towards your likes -- which isn’t so bad.

Take it from someone who hates small things like birds and flying bugs (I am not afraid, I just REALLY dislike them), these ones aren’t that bad. There are too many security blocks in place to steal any real information about you, and you control whether or not you are interrupted by ads and coupons on your mobile device. So live your life as you would and get 25% off of a cappuccino the next time you go to Starbucks because you embraced beacons.

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