Location-based technology has become the norm for smartphone users, with every second application asking permission to track where you are at all times. While the practice raises necessary questions about security and privacy, there’s no doubt these types of programs make life easier by calculating distance and location-based data for us.
Apple has introduced a new feature in its stores – ‘iBeacons’. The technology integrates with the official Apple Store app, and sends notifications to users when they enter the store. Some will tell customers their orders are ready, and others might suggest a product if the tech detects the customer is in a particular part of the store.
The tech is rolling out across the United States soon. For a retailer such as Apple, this kind of technology allows the company to not only provide more customised customer service, but it can track what people are doing in the actual store. This will provide incredibly valuable data on customer behaviour.
But this type of advancement speaks to the ongoing transformation of the retail store not as a primary sales point but as an experience centre. Customers will go to a store not to necessarily buy, but have things recommended to them. By integrating technology with the customer experience Apple is taking that point one step further, and setting an example other retailers will surely follow.
For the rest of the industry, then, location technology provides a significant opportunity. How can even smaller retailers take Apple’s example and integrate technology in ways that will not only benefit the consumer, but provide data and feedback to make the experience even better?
Switching on the cloud for enterprise
The online storage and file-sharing market has mostly been dominated by one name – DropBox. But in an age when so many businesses and consumers need to share files across multiple devices, it makes sense such a competitive industry would begin to see new players.
Which is why rival Box has just secured another round of funding worth $100 million at a $2 billion valuation. The company also confirmed it plans to speed up its international expansion, targeting Australia among other countries
With DropBox so focused on the consumer, (and more recently, enterprise), Box has exploited the need for an enterprise-based solution. But the funding round speaks more to the ongoing need for enterprises to embrace cloud-based solutions as the IT requirements of their entire businesses grow.
In order to become more productive and efficient, businesses must start considering how to integrate cloud-based technology. With Box having already cornered this area of the enterprise market – and DropBox increasingly gearing up for its own market share – businesses must start thinking about how their internal practices can and should change.