Regarding Contextually-Aware iBeacons

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

This idea that you don’t have to hunt around proactively for coupons or deals follows an idea I’ve been tracking for a while — that contextual data pushed to users is the future of mobile. The precision that beacons offer, combined with data from advertisers, manufacturers and retailers, will make this stuff more effective and less annoying.

Rather than smashing you with notifications just because you may be near a store, the laser precision of a beacon notification uses contextual signals to talk to you when it matters the most.

The anecdote in the piece about being in a grocery store circa 2020 resonates with me, as a similar situation could happen in terms of accessibility. Imagine: you’re a blind user walking into an Apple Store, looking to buy a case for your iPhone. The Apple Store app — which today uses iBeacons to alert you to, say, Genius Bar appointments while in-store — alerts you that you’re at the store and gives you directions from the front of the store to where the cases are displayed. That’s even mpre helpful than what the Apple Store app is capable of today.

I don’t know of any store that offer “local GPS” via iBeacons, but the scenario I paint above illustrates the potential of iBeacons-as-accessibility. That one’s phone, since it always knows where you are, is able to guide a blind or otherwise visually impaired user to the place within the place that they need to go. There are many times when I’m in a store, and I have trouble finding what I need because I can’t read the aisle signs, etc. It’d be terrific if my iPhone could navigate me to where I need to be via iBeacon technology. It would certainly be easier than asking a store employee, whose verbal and gestural directions may be too abstract to be functional with regards to my eyesight.