Bluetooth will be big in 2014, so why all the excitment?
Over the past month there has been a steady stream of posts summarising the major achievements in the digital space for 2013, now they are out the door and New Years Eve is fast approaching it is time for the predictions of what will be big in 2014. I am no Nostradamus but I predict that many of these posts will be talking about Bluetooth Smart or BLE as it is more commonly known, especially within the retail space. So why all the excitement?
As a result of Apple recently rolling our iBeacon across its stores in the US BLE is now the talk of the social channels. For years the dream of every marketer has been to deliver highly relevant push notifications to a consumers mobile device right at the time they are most likely to respond and iBeacon has provided for many a tangible view of hyper local targeting.
Not everyone has been excited about the rise in Smartphone usage, the retail sector has complained for some time now about loss of business through new consumer tactics such as using the device for Showrooming. With the realisation of this dream marketers in the retail sector will now be looking to use beacon technology in some way to deliver solutions to drive in store sales.
As a result, BLE is sure to be predicted by many as the technology that will mend the broken relationship between traditional retail and the Smartphone.
I think the biggest and boldest predictions will come from those who proclaim the rise of BLE will come at the expense of NFC driven by the fact that BLE is being used to facilitate a payment in the Apple example.
So will this move by Apple and the apparent ease in rolling out beacon technology using BLE mean that NFC has lost the battle in becoming an accepted part of our mobile technology ecosystem?
Well remember I told you at the start of this post that I am no Nostradamus so if you think I am going to give you the answer to this question then you will be disappointed. What I will say is the concept that one technology will win over another is a little dramatic, as a result I will join those who believe that both technologies can co-exist with NFC being perfectly suited for engagement activities such as influencing the download of an App and BLE being used for more broadcast activities such as promotions and offers.
The reality though is that BLE has made the road for NFC as a payment channel a lot rougher.