In the digital age, marketing strategy combined with the technology disruption contributes to the significant enhancement of the brand’s appeal. Mobile technology and associated location-based technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification(RFID), Global Positioning (GPS), Near Field Communication (NFC) and Beacons provide a positive impact on both individuals and businesses in the various industry.
One of the new technologies that have created a buzz in the tech sector is Beacons technology. It was introduced in 2013 with the name of iBeacon protocol developed by Apple Inc. This technology concept was further developed by many other companies, such as Eddystone of the Google group in July 2015. One of the main reasons that Beacons have become such a popular technology is because this low-cost technology can communicate with the customers at the right time and the place via smartphone and other communication devices via Bluetooth transmission in proximity area.
Proximity marketing – how’s Beacons technology works
Proximity marketing is location-based marketing focusing on mobile marketing communication with consumers on a timely basis. Beacons encourage users to purchase at the point-of-sale by sending messages or promotion information to customers at a specific location. Beacon technology has allowed businesses to enhance the customer experience and can make it quicker and easier for customers to access the information on products that they are looking for, and to provide special offers and discounts to loyal customers.
Technically, Beacons are a physical device utilising the Bluetooth 4.0 low energy standard for transmitting digital information over short distances. The aim for Beacons is to connect the physical world and the digital world. Its main advantage is that it does not require an internet connection relying only on Bluetooth to connect businesses to users.
Bluetooth is micro location-based technology. The signal from a Bluetooth transmitter has broadcast distance of approximately up to 100 meters to devices. Beacons navigate the signal to personal devices. It will send out the package data. The application on the devices will be receiving information from Beacons and will interpret the proximity of customers to products.
In the last ten years, there are proximity connections, such as WIFI, NFC and GPS. The figure illustrates one of the most popular is WIFI connection; it uses high energy and quite a high cost. Moreover, Near Field Communication (NFC) is low energy consumption but transmit range to short than another technology but can use this with a credit card or another payment method such as Apple pay. And Geofencing is suitable for connect to devices outdoor location areas more than communicating in proximity areas. In term of security data Beacons technology primarily detecting proximity devices in an area after that it broadcast outbound signal to the devices, it is one-way transmitters not risk in transmission.
Beacons success story in Thailand
LINE Beacon is a technology that is offered by the LINE corporation, a leading chat application in Thailand. Line Beacon uses short-range transmission via Bluetooth Low Energy or low-power Bluetooth connectivity. Customers can get push notifications to their LINE application on devices when they are in a specific range of the beacon. These may take the form of coupons, promotion details or recommended products. Interoperability between the application LINE and Beacons technology is very interesting. Because, a number of LINE users in Thailand approximately 41 million accounts (Thailand Zocial Awards,2017). This is the second largest number of social media users in the country. In Thailand, LINE application is a good platform to communicate with consumers. At the same time, the seamless integration between this application and the beacons technology allows organisation or business get closer to their target market.
A leader in beacon technology utilisation is Samitivej Hospitals in cooperation with LINE Thailand. They have recently launched “Samitivej LINE Official Account” with “LINE Beacon”, integrating Beacon location-based technology with the LINE application. This service allows customers to have easy access to accurate information and personalised medical service; such as asking doctors questions about healthcare, making an appointment and paying bills by LINE pay or Rabbit pay.
Beacons are used in Samitivej Hospitals to:
- Sending greeting messages to the patient’s smartphone upon arrival at the hospital
- Sending personalised information to the patient’s smartphone including discounts, privileges and promotions
- Send notifications to the doctor that their patient has arrived and can allow them to prepare for their patient
Beacons help improve the customer experience and helps with sales and marketing of the hospital’s products and services. This service allows Samitivej customer to change their lifestyle and allows the hospital to cater to their customer’s needs in the digital age.
One of the main advantages of utilising LINE Beacons is the ease of utilising it. It does not require an additional app and will work for all current users of Line. Samitivej, through customer survey, found out that customers do not like installing too many apps so using the Line framework has allowed easy access to customers. Rather than forcing users to download a new app, Samitivej has used Line which already has a massive adoption rate.
Beacons are not the future technology.
By implementing Beacons Technology, Samitivej Hospital can improve its total service solutions. The hospital can understand patients’ behaviour while they are in the hospitals and keep a good track for further analytics. In the near future, the hospital plans to integrate its LINE official with the internal patient’s database, including patients’ personal records and their historical treatments. In general, trust is import factor in hospital business where hospital maintains health records for patients since the beginning and continuously keep treatment records with confidentiality. The doctors can have visibility on patients’ health in the long run. This will create a long-term relationship between the patients and the hospital. In turn, the hospital can have sustainable revenue from patients in both preventive and corrective medical treatments. In conclusion, Beacons is not only benefit organisation to improve revenue but also is necessary to bring visible customer value that leads to making sustainable customer relationships and brand loyalty.
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