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iBeacons hide their light from qual

Enabling brands to push messages to nearby customers, iBeacons are one of this year's most exciting technological developments.

These small devices can be attached to just about anything — from billboards to supermarkets shelves — and work by emitting a lowrange Bluetooth signal, which is picked up by nearby smartphones. This triggers a reaction from compatible apps: anything from opening a relevant webpage to sending the consumer a coupon.

Though much of the hype around iBeacons has so far focused on their application to marketing, they also could potentially transform how we conduct qualitative research, particularly to understand more about how consumers behave in-store. Using iBeacon technology, it will soon be possible to send respondents messages as they reach or depart particular points in-store. Giving insight pros the ability to gain in-the-moment insight on everything from products to promotional offers, this is definitely a technology to watch.


Emma Muckersie
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, June 2014
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2014