Friday, July 25, 2014

#784 hide and seek

One more implication of Major League Baseball's fascination with technology: they are using it to enhance the fan experience.  MLB is testing the use of beacon software which allows your smartphone to transmit a location signal to them.  The app determines precisely where you're sitting and can direct you to the nearest concession stand -- or better yet, to the stand with the shortest line.  It can track your purchases and function as a built-in loyalty card, rewarding you when a cumulative purchase quota has been achieved.

The technology in stores allows retailers to send you coupons for the section of the store you happen to be shopping in at the moment.  Grocers can link your electronic list to the store and have your phone signal you when you're near something that is on your list.  And no more headsets for walking tours in museums; your phone will automatically know where you are and provide you with information for the piece you are viewing.

Is it helpful or creepy?  A great use of technology or too Big Brother-ish?  Will it equate to "cookies" for bricks and mortar stores and give those retailers knowledge that right now only on-line sellers enjoy?

No matter how you answer those questions, industry leaders predict that the beacons will become commonplace within a year.  If you know when your customers or donors are nearby can you capitalize on that?

-- beth triplett

Source:  Nowhere to hide by Harry McCracken, Time, March 31, 2014, p. 20

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