My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: MLB testing out Apple's iBeacon to give New York Mets Fans Treats and Free Coupons - iBeacon a challenge to FourSquare

Monday, September 30, 2013

MLB testing out Apple's iBeacon to give New York Mets Fans Treats and Free Coupons - iBeacon a challenge to FourSquare

“Your phone can serve as a gateway to all the experiences around the ball park”

Chad Evans, Developer for MLB’s BallPark App commenting on the integration of Apple’s iBeacon Service into the Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets

Baseball Fans who are also Apple iPhone users will be thrilled at this sip of Apple Cider!

MLB (Major League Baseball) has rolled out a Geo-Location Service using Apple’s new iBeacon Service that making some serious waves in the LBS (Location Based Services) field or at least at Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets as stated in “Baseball's beacon trials hint at Apple's location revolution”, published September 28, 2013 12:00 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

MLB, in a trial run, has installed quarter-sized discs all over Citi Field so named as it was built by Citi Bank as the permanent home of the New York Mets Baseball Team. Once you come in range of any of these little iBeacon Discs that may be behind a poster or a landmark, it synchronizes with the BallPark App (Hot dogs anyone!?) via Bluetooth 4.0 on your Apple iPhone and serves up information on the Stadium, the Team and Free Coupons!

This sounds a lot like a Bluetooth based Service called BlueWave back in 2010 that was to be launched by Multimedia Jamaica, a subsidiary of Television Jamaica as explained in my blog articles entitled “Google AI and Broadcasting - Minority Report” and “Broadcasting and Advertising - Why is the Dog's Nose is Cold”.

Same exact concept; Bluetooth discs developed by BlueWave installed all around Kingston. Whenever you approached an object that had a Bluetooth disc embedded, it served up ads from Television Jamaica as well as free coupons and tickets to certain sponsored events.

It would’ve been a hit in Jamaica as persons at the time who had a Blackberry usually walked with their Bluetooth set on “Open” making it easy to push content to them. Most do this on purpose even today, forming ad-hoc networks to allow for instant sharing of music and files on their smartphones!

Why Television Jamaica didn’t follow it through to completion?

At the time Blackberries weren’t as prevalent and as pervasive as they are now. Also Apple iPhone and smartphones, which were more capable of producing the needed coupons, hadn’t caught on as they are doing now as noted in my blog article entitled “Blackberry popularity wanes as Jamaicans go smartphones - Android and Apple's Smartphone Revolution” and my Geezam blog article entitled “Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”.

Possibly, this Apple iBeacon Technology is really Bluewave Technologies? Who knows, as they did have a close association with Apple at one point in time! Already several American companies are testing this technology in their business places:

1.      Starbucks
2.      Macy's
3.      American Airlines

So it shouldn’t be long before this service spreads and becomes a competitor to other LBS that are mainly powered by GPS, QR Codes or even Wi-Fi as explained in my blog article entitled “Daqri combines QR Codes with Augmented Reality - Ads and PR Minority Report Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Mobile Triangulation without GPS - a solution to crime under our noses

Apple iBeacon – Ballpark App respects your right to Privacy

Apple’s iBeacon, which comes built into Apple iOS which 200 million Apple iPhone users from the Apple iPhone 4S to the new Apple iPhone 5S have updated to as stated in “Despite hiccups, early iOS 7 adoption appears brisk”, Published September 19, 2013 9:52 AM PDT by Josh Lowensohn, CNET News by default is private.

It works in the background but only becomes active once you come in range of an Apple iBeacon disc, roughly about the size of a JA$10 coin, installed at various sites across the Met’s stadium as stated in “Welcome to Citi Field (Pictures)”, published September 28, 2013 12:00 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

Somewhat like an Easter Egg Hunt, but only if you’re interested. This as in order to access content, you have to turn on the Ballpark App, essentially a case of you giving permission for the App to alert you. Then even when on, you have to come in proximity of a iBeacon for the App to trigger, synchronizing with the Beacon’s source and thus serve up Streaming content that can range from Video and Audio Clips to Coupons, Free Tickets and offers for Mets Fans.

Apple future of Mobile Payment – iBeacon makes Bluetooth Personal

Apple’s iBeacon neatly solves a problem associated with most LBS while serving up content and Free Coupons: Privacy. Most Americans, despite their love for trying out new Apps, Services and anything Free that’s part and parcel of owning a smartphone, are not so willing to give out personal information. Especially if that personal information is their location, which readily conjures up images of the movie Enemy of the State (1998) and the hassles associated with people knowing your every move.

Americans and by extension anyone else in the world (Jamaicans included!) toting a smartphone, are tolerant of GPS only to the point of being a service they can call upon to give them location i.e. Google Maps or Foursquare to get information on Coupon Deals at your local Burger King as described in my blog article entitled “FourSquare ramps up Business Model with Burger King Discount Deals from VISA and MasterCard - How Telecom Providers MNP helps The Conjuring of Free Calling Credit via LBS”.

So a LBS that’s specific to a location or business places and doesn’t track you after you’ve left the scene sound more like a Personal Bluetooth based LBS service than an all-seeing-eye one that follows you everywhere like an annoying stray dog.

It also gives us a glimpse at what Apple may have in mind for the develomepent of its Mobile Wallet Service to compete with Google’s cumbersome double-tap Google Wallet which is powered by NFC (Near Field Communication) as described in my blog article entitled NFC now supports Device-to-device Data Transfers – Swapping Music in the Castle of My Skin”.


Expect more deployments of Apple’s iBeacons in the next few months in a targeted challenge to the current king of LBS Foursquare that’s built on the popularity of the Apple iPhone as stated in my blog article entitled Apple is Top Gun in smartphones Sales but Samsung generates the most Web Traffic - ComScore Stats for First Quarter of 2013 and StatCounter Stats for June 2012 to June 2013” and more specifically the recent deployment of Apple iOS 7.

Possibly too, Television Jamaica and Multimedia Jamaica can revisit this BlueWave Technologies idea and give it another whirl, this time in partnership with Apple iBeacon. Or even better, a partnership with JCCUL (Jamaica Co-Operative Credit Union League) and Mozido Jamaica’s to use their Mobile Money Service JCUES (Jamaica Credit Union e-Payment Services).

This is the same JCUES described in my blog article entitled “JCCUL get's approval from BOJ to launch their JCUES Mobile Money Platform - JCUES Mobile Money Wolverine (2013) marks the Kick-Ass 2 (2013) beginning of a Cashless Society” which can be used to do the same thing as Apple iBeacon in terms Coupons, free Tickets to Television Jamaica and even buying content i.e. past episodes of shows from their Website Remotely.

Something for Television Jamaica and Multimedia Jamaica to ponder. In the meantime Play ball!

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