Beacons are essentially proximity devices that transmit Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals, received by nearby portable electronic devices. According BIS Research firm’s report titled “Global Beacons Technology Market, Analysis & Forecast, 2017 - 2026”, the global market for these beacons is expected to reach $56.55 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 59.8% during the forecast period of 2017 to 2026.
Beacon application include advertising, indoor navigation, notification & alert, monitoring, real-time analysis, and quick interaction. In the recent years, the proximity market has been undergoing a major transformation in various technologies, which is replacing the traditional approaches with Bluetooth beacons.
Constant advancements in Bluetooth technology in the recent years for applications in the retail industry have led to the development of a unique, flexible, and distinctive field of proximity solutions, namely beacons technology. As a result, they are being deployed at commercial constructions and setups, for providing efficient marketing solution to the retailers, along with delivering relevant contextual data of the visitor's mobile device, in order to drive foot traffic to their stores, and consequently increase sales volume.
The beacons technology market has witnessed a high growth rate owing to the increase in the IoT spending, rise in the demand of beacons for providing location-based marketing, and development visions for smart cities across the globe. Recent innovations in beacon standards, protocols, and services have enabled the beacons technology to reach a wider segment of consumers in the industry. However, dependency on Bluetooth enabled mobile devices with compatible software application and significant reduction in the maintenance cost act as a major challenge for the market. Companies are developing various software for beacon enabled proximity platforms, such as content management system, analytical system, mobile apps, firmware, and Software Development Kits (SDKs), among others, to make the beacons system cost-effective, durable, and efficient. This, in effect, is expected to increase competition in the near future as well as facilitate the utilization of beacons for varied applications.
Increasing market penetration of beacons technology into the emerging sectors: airport, railways, real estate, automobile, and hotel, continued advancements in Bluetooth technology, and beacons gaining traction in enterprises for Industry 4.0 are the major factors which are expected to create lucrative opportunities for the market in the next five years. Currently, there are more than 70 beacon products in the market, which are either commercially available or in designing and testing phase that are being deployed for diverse applications, mostly in the retail sector. The cost of beacons present in the market depends on the battery life and range. A beacon, capable of 70 meters of range and 5 years of battery life, has a selling price of approximately $22. However, the cost ranges from $5 to $89, depending upon the use case and subsequent value additions, in terms of sensors, control units, and firmware.
The beacons technology market has been a significant area of focus in the proximity industry, in order to facilitate varied applications, including data collection, deliver offer info, assistance in navigation, payment facility, product ordering facility, communicate information, alerts for delays and changes in transport, and setting up reminders, among others. With a drastic rise in the utilization of beacon technology, various end-users, including retail, real estate, transport, and hospitality, among others, are investing in this technology to generate greater revenues. Furthermore, retail industry is the biggest end-user of the market, utilizing and availing benefits of beacon technology.
According to Ayushi Bajpai, an analyst at BIS Research, "iBeacon consumed around 80% of the overall market in 2016, followed by Eddystone. iBeacon provides higher level of privacy, as their data collection is individual specific, which cannot be utilized by any third party. Google has its protocol, named Eddystone, which is very advantageous for android devices, as they already have Chrome installed. But there is a question of the trade-off of utilizing information in the market, as to how much information an end-user would want Google to have about their business or company."
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