“Instead of a killer app, ABI Research is seeing killer applications like wayfinding, asset tracking, customer analytics, hyperlocal offers, retargeting/attribution, and resource management. New BLE technology advances over the last 12 months mean that each of these applications can scale across hundreds of thousands of buildings globally over the next 5 years, eliminating many of the deployment and management impediments that have held back the mass market adoption to date.”
We are about 1/3 of the way to this date, so it is interesting to take a look at some key developments to see if we are on track.
The mobile device world has rallied around BLE.
Apple and Google (Android) have placed their bets on BLE as the de facto standard for indoor location, with iBeacon and Eddystone respectively. This means that BLE is literally the only technology these mobile devices support for indoor location, which is a huge boost for BLE becoming a mainstream technology. Furthermore, Bluetooth is increasingly left on as we go about our days, thanks to the death of the wired headset and the mass adoption of wireless car/home speakers, wireless chargers, wearables, and other BLE-enabled devices.
The BLE ecosystem continues to grow.
We are fortunate enough to work with some of the best companies in the world to create unified solutions around wayfinding, asset location, analytics, and more. For example, we are doing a webinar with Kontakt.io, one of our newest partners for asset location and IoT management, that I encourage everyone to check out.
In addition, the infrastructure solutions to support this ecosystem continue to evolve with new and innovative solutions, like virtual beacons and machine learning. Here is the brand new Gartner Magic Quadrant on Indoor Location, which gives a good overview of what is happening in the space. (Full disclosure: Mist is in the visionary column for a 2nd year in a row, so I am biased towards this research!)
BLE is being used in real deployments.
In 2018, Mist saw several customers launch full scale BLE deployments. For example, The Orlando VA is using BLE for wayfinding, proximity notifications, and to prevent patient elopement across their 1.2 million square foot facility. Similarly, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is using Mist’s vBLE for wayfinding, proximity notifications, and traffic analytics in the hotel and conference center. Mist is also working with leading retailers, universities, warehousing companies, airports, and more to launch full scale vBLE solutions, so stay tuned…
We still have a way to go for ABI’s prediction to come true. But we have turned the corner with this technology, where BLE is more accessible than ever, easy to deploy and scale, and proven for real live deployments. Many vendors are adding BLE in their WLAN solutions, but Mist is really separating from the pack with virtual beacons, self-calibration using machine learning, and full Wi-Fi/IoT integration. This is why 2019 will be an especially exciting year for Mist as we see our customers move BLE from a “nice to have” to a “must have” in many of their environments.