Gizmos & Gadgets: Motorola Uses iBeacons in Retail Locations to Attract Customers

May 11, 2014 – Location-based wireless technology is popping up in homes, businesses and local retail shops. Today telecommunication companies are contracting with cities to develop ubiquitous WiFi across downtowns. For businesses and residents this is an added incentive to locate there. But wireless connectivity is still in its infancy and retailers are in the middle of experimenting with a number of technologies to see which can give their customers the best buying experience ensuring they keep coming back for more.

Motorola has created a retail wireless connectivity platform called MPact. It combines WiFi and Bluetooth and doesn’t require customers to do anything to receive content on a smartphone as they browse through a store. The Bluetooth indoor positioning technology is called iBeacon and very location specific within a little over a meter (four feet). When a customer stands in front of a product display an iBeacon pushes information out to their smartphones alerting them to product details. An iBeacon located at a store entrance can let customers know about instore sales from the moment they walk through the door.

Costing about $30 each and less expensive than installing a store-wide WiFi network, iBeacons work very well in conditions where radio frequency interference could impact a wireless LAN. To round out the Motorola MPact offering the company is including a suite of software tools that include Swirl, a mobile marketing platform for distributing content, Aisle411 and Phunware for instore navigation and mapping, and Digby Localpoint for location-marketing and analytics.

I’ll be writing more about ubiquitous wireless connectivity in future postings and would like to hear from you my readers about user experiences both noteworthy and un.


Today’s posting is a quick one. In approximately seven hours from now I’ll be walking my about to be married daughter down the aisle. And its Mother’s Day which makes the day twice as special.




Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...