Apple’s iBeacon technology has garnered plenty of attention since its release last year – the use of low-power Bluetooth technology as an alternative to NFC has plenty of businesses excited.

There’s certainly plenty of signs iBeacon is taking off as a major technology stepping stone. This week Sunstone Capital, run by Max Niederhofer, has pumped $US2 million into a Polish company, Kontakt.io, which supplies and creates its own custom Beacon hardware.

The company already counts Apple, Facebook and Google as customers, and Niederhofer told TechCrunch the “rapidly growing” tech could reach a “very large market with high margins”.

“Bluetooth Low Energy and iBeacon are the building blocks of the next wave of computing.”

That statement is bolstered by recent predictions the tech will take off faster than expected – a new ABI Research report suggests within five years shipments of Beacon hardware will exceed 60 million.

“To some extent I see this as an infrastructure build-out play, where Beacons are the routers and pipes of a new network infrastructure on which we’ll see some very interesting applications.”

Also today, retail chain Lord & Taylor has announced some of its stores will start housing iBeacn hardware.

Clearly the infrastructure is taking off, and with good reason – allowing this type of tech inside a retail environment provides great opportunity for not only displaying coupons and offers to users ,but also tot track their movements in a store – something traditional GPS fails at consistently.

But the amount of investment in Beacon manufacturers points to an expansion of the tech beyond the retail industry. Beacons in hospitals, museums, transport and logistics companies and factories of the future could create an environment in which the phone becomes more powerful than ever before.

The future of retail and the connected customer is reaching everyone at the best possible moment – there isn’t a better moment than when someone is walking by a storefront, or is walking into a particular area of a bricks and mortar location. The growth of Beacon infrastructure facilitates an environment where reaching the customer with relevant – not annoying – opportunities is more important than ever.

Of course, in order to stay ahead, businesses need to have been doing that already – are you?