The world’s largest network of iBeacon devices has emerged in China, consisting of 110,000 units run and managed by Sensoro. The network spans 25 movie theatres, sixteen airports, 39 high-end retail stores, 40 major tourist destinations, 200 universities, 260 high speed trains, 1,500 Pizza Hut restaurants, and 2,100 Chow Tai Fook (CTF) jewelry retail stores among other locations.
During Chinese holidays, traffic at these beacon outfitted locations reached hundreds of millions. An estimated 12 million visitors visited the 40 Class 5A tourist attractions (the highest level of tourist attraction rating category rated by by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), while more than 300 million passengers rode on the 260 CRH trains to their holiday destinations. Chow Tai Fook, the largest jewelry stores by market share in Mainland China with annual sales of over 11 billion dollars, owns more than 2,100 stores. Key co-operations in digital marketing have significantly expanded public exposure to beacon devices around the world, building momentum for further innovations in the applications for iBeacon and the results seems to be unexpectedly positive.
During the 2015 Chinese New Year, Chow Tai Fook’s use of iBeacon brought in 11 million dollars in revenue with a conversion rate up to 63 percent, far surpassing expectations (Source: CTF 2015 annual earnings). The success of the case persuaded CTF to deploy beacons in all 2,100 of their Mainland China retail stores over the next three months, and provided an excellent model of digital marketing for other companies including Real Madrid, Sony Pictures Television, and Yum Brands to adopt.
In May 2015, in cooperation with China’s largest traditional television media outlet, CCTV News Channel, and the China National Tourism Administration, Sensoro deployed more than 4,200 beacons at 40 5A-class scenic attractions. The use of iBeacon technology created the first instance of cooperation between traditional television media and offline tourist destinations. Due to CCTV’s high-density live broadcasting, reaching over 12 million tourists and uploading more than 60,000 high-value real-time news clues. The large number of obtained real news clues led to crack down on chaotic tour guide market.
With the growing number beacon ecosystems, Sensoro began working on ways to further develop a network to link all 110,000 deployed sensors. An array of information gathering capabilities spread across of network of hundreds of thousands of devices when integrated into an effective platform will create further possibilities for data analysis. In retail situations, the accumulation of data will allow retailers to target customers with an ever increasing accuracy, making personalized, on-location discounts a reality.
Several top brands have chosen to cooperate with SENSORO to launch digital marketing activities, including the world’s top sports brand — Real Madrid, the world’s largest restaurant group — yum, famous television production/distribution studio — SONY Pictures Television, etc. Technology companies SENSORO cooperates include: Microsoft, Huawei. Nokia is also in frequent contact with SENSORO.
Based on a large number of public information, several iBeacon network features could be seen as follows:
- Technological Innovation. SENSORO is the first to propose the concept of the enterprise marketing with its iBeacon hardware. Technically, SENSORO chose a completely different way with other iBeacon manufactures. The new generation of SENSORO products are said to be a collection of GPRS, GPS, Zigbee, WIFI, BLE, ultrasound and many other sensing technologies. The new products also support remote control (GPRS) directly. However, traditional iBeacon manufacturers always choose to use WIFI for remote control. Though WIFI is relatively cheap, when in large-scale network operation, the WIFI’s instablility has always been criticized by enterprise class customers. The end-to-end GPRS direct remote control solution enables SENSORO to build a highly controlled data network instead of WIFI. Also, the iBeacon in the integration of Zigbee solve the problem of mesh networking between Beacons straightforwardly.
- Cost control. Currently, SENSORO is said to be the best hardware manufacturer who does well on cost control. SENSORO has controlled the hardware cost under 10 dollars. Its 20 dollars products could defeat the 30 dollars European and American products like Estimote beacons in its design, performance and the integration of multi sensors.
- Market selection. SENSORO has given up developers’ market but select enterprise-class business market. In general, the enterprise-class market has characteristics like long period cycle and high service requirement and so on. Those characteristics led enterprise market to be the most inaccessible areas for start-up companies. There is no doubt that SENSORO has made a great breakthrough in this area.
- iBeacon network operation. SENSORO entered the market as a hardware manufacturer whose team is mainly composed by data engineers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft Research. The hardware assembling work was done by Foxconn. After selling a large quantity of beacons, SENSORO turned to construct a beacon environment based on customers and assist in the cooperation between customers, so as to run from one-spot deployment to a network management. Thereby SENSORO complete its transformation and become the provider of the entire network.
With the recent advent of iBeacon and Eddystone technology in large-scale enterprise cases, industries such as retail are just beginning to enjoy the implications of beacon deployment. Due to the scale of enterprise deployment and generally long cycles of the retail business, the initial impact of applying big data digital marketing solutions is not representative of what can be achieved down the road. As customers become more accustomed to interacting with the technology year on year, the accelerated rise in data accumulation will also increase the relevance and accuracy of data analysis. New takes on data analysis will also provide avenues for entirely new applications outside of targeted discounts and consumer profiling. For example, it is hoped that the platform will be able to achieve more efficient methods of inventory stocking, by predicting what customers will need, reducing productions costs for manufacturers.