Beacons Will Help Retailers Transform Customer Experience
With online retail catching up big time in the past few years, the need for traditional retail to evolve for value addition and better customer experiences is going up significantly. Beacons, a new technology designed to drive customer experience, is growing in popularity among larger retailers. ToneTag, headed by Kumar Abhishek, is currently re-modeling the way retailers function, so that shoppers have a more engaging experience when they access services. In an exclusive interaction with CXO Today, Kumar Abhishek, CEO, ToneTag shares how Beacon technology makes shopping more engaging, personal and how it will transform retail landscape in the coming years.
Please explain the concept of Sound based proximity communications, with emphasis on Beacon hardware?
ToneTag has developed technologies that enable proximity communication of devices through sound waves. Our patent pending software algorithm and Software Development Kit (SDK) can encode data into soundwaves that can be transmitted wirelessly using any basic speaker. The SDK also allows any basic microphone to receive this transmitted signal and decode the information contained within the soundwave.
The technology is extremely flexible to use with customizable proximity range, audible/inaudible frequencies etc. Since it works with mechanical waves, the technology can be implemented on any device with a speaker or a microphone, such as a basic mobile handset, smartphones, EDC machines, POS terminals, PCs and laptops etc.
The Beacon is a special piece of hardware developed by ToneTag that is optimized to use this proximity communication technology. ToneTag Beacons are capable of performing two-way long range proximity communication. The Beacon can determine the precise location and communicate instantly with any ToneTag enabled devices in its range, delivering unforeseen innovation in information exchange. With ToneTag Beacons, we’re creating an Internet of Sound ecosystem.
Which industrial segments could use this technology? Or is it just specific to the retail industry?
As ToneTag works closely with the retail industry and all the stakeholders in the retail payment ecosystem, the technology was built to serve the retail sector. But ToneTag products have been proven to deliver great performance on a variety of applications.
Apart from the retail industry, the Beacons could be used in a variety of places where there is a need for precise location based information exchange. Museums could use ToneTag to deliver additional information when a visitor is viewing a particular display. The same can be done at historical monuments or other places of public interest. Educational institutions could use the technology to provide students with information, direction or rules and guidelines based on their location. Manufacturing establishments could use the technology on the floor to provide instructions about the operation of various tools etc. The applications of the technology are only restricted to one’s imagination.
What are the major benefits from a customer standpoint and service provider’s standpoint?
Major benefits to our customers include getting information about exclusive promotions at your favorite store, gaining rewards for loyalty to particular brands, getting product suggestions according to taste and preference, getting additional product information instantly while browsing the store, secure in-app cashless and contactless payments without handing out payment cards or any personal information and enjoying the buying experience of the future.
There are many advantages of ToneTag Beacon to brands and retail merchants like connecting across channels to deliver fluid, engaging experience online and in-store, bridging offline and online communications to enable focused omni-channel message, analyzing historical and real-time consumer behavior to drive intelligent, context aware customer engagement, appropriate real-time triggers and call to actions and promotions at any point of the buying cycle, in-app cashless and contactless payments and ease to deliver a thoroughly modern and unique shopping experience.
What does the future hold for technology and where will it take Beacon?
ToneTag Beacon has a range of potential in various applications, in diverse fields. With the Beacons, ToneTag is creating an Internet of Sound. The technology will be enabling multiple smart devices with inbuilt speaker and microphones to communicate with one another wirelessly through sound waves. Since we use mechanical waves instead of electromagnetic waves, our products emit zero per cent radiation when compared to other similar technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Wi-Fi.
The Beacons use significantly low energy, and can be easily deployed in public spaces to enable location based exchange of information at real-time. In the future, entire cities could be integrated with ToneTag Beacons to deliver precise information on weather, traffic etc. to its residents. It could help public works departments to maintain cities by enabling quick reports of issues faced at the precise location. Since the technology can also enable payments, it could make public transit smooth with invisible fare collection. These are only some of the many possible applications the Beacon technology would have in the future.
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