World’s largest iBeacon network rolls out in China

World’s largest iBeacon network rolls out in China

A network of 110,000 iBeacon devices, thought to be the largest in the world, has emerged in China.

The network, which is run and managed by iBeacon manufacturer Sensoro, runs across 25 movie theatres, 16 airports, 39 retail outlets, 40 tourist destinations, 200 universities, 260 high-speed trains, 1,500 Pizza Hut restaurants and 2,100 Chow Tai Fook stores.

This comes as beacons, location-based technologies that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with beacon-enabled devices, have grown in popularity in the advertising and marketing worlds.

So far, these beacons have tracked hundreds of millions of people. According to Sensoro, around 12 million people visited the 40 tourist destinations and 300 million people took journeys on the 260 CRH trains.

As well as tracking the number of people visiting these locations, the beacons have also helped participating organisations make healthy amounts of profit. Chow Tai Fook, the largest jewelry retailer in mainland China by market share, turned over $11 million dollars in revenue and saw a conversion rate of 63 percent as a result of the beacons during the 2015 Chinese New Year.

Due to the success here, the retailer has since agreed to deploy the beacons to all of its 2,100 mainland China stores over the next few months. This digital marketing model offered up by Sensoro is also being considered by companies such as Real Madrid football club, Sony Pictures Television, and Yum Brand.

This network has seen different industries and sectors working together, too. In May of this year, CCTV News, China’s largest traditional television outlet, worked with the China National Tourism and Sensoro to deploy over 4,200 beacons across 40 Chinese tourist destinations.

Through this partnership, CCTV was able to reach more than 12 million tourists and upload more than 60,000 real-time news cues. Sensoro claims this has “led to the crack down on the chaotic tour guide market”.

Alex Jeffers, creative manager at Tradebox Media, gave his thoughts on beacon technology when speaking to Internet of Business: “We think there could be real benefits of using iBeacons for the Internet of Things; a use case like an iBeacon network guiding visually impaired people around unfamiliar subway systems using iBeacons is a really strong example of how this technology could be a benefit to society.

“The biggest drawback however is encouraging adoption by organisations who would be responsible for installing the technology and requiring the potential users to have the relevant app on their device to interact correctly with the beacons themselves.”