Total iBeacon shipments will blow past 60 million units by 2019

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Apple’s iBeacon tech has been a boon for retail stores looking to advertise deals to customers on a per-location basis, but according to the a new report, retail is only smallest market iBeacons have tapped into.

In five years a swarm of 60 million iBeacons and other Bluetooth LE beacons will have invaded the US market, says a report from ABI Research, all thanks to new applications in everything from enterprise, hospital management, smart homes and personal device tracking:

“It may surprise many to see that retail is the smallest market covered in the report,” says ABI senior analyst Patrick Connolly. “In building terms, many stores are relatively small in comparison to a corporate office or hospital, while the items being tracked i.e. consumers, are already BLE-enabled through their smartphones, further limiting the number of beacons required.”

iOS 7 made Apple’s iBeacon API available to the public last fall. Since its introduction, iBeacons have been implemented by  the MLBbars, theme parks, and tons of retailers,

Apple doesn’t stand to make much of the $500 million in revenue the beacons will generate by 2019, as it doesn’t make the hardware, but a number of startups like Quuppa, Sonic Notify and StickNFind have emerged bringing extended capabilities with lower profit margins.

Other companies like Gimbal are looking to cash in on iBeacons by playing the long game of beacon network management, but Apple and Google have the best opportunity to make fat stacks by using your personal location data to serve ads and services not just at the mall, but museums, sports stadiums, parks, restaurants, and pretty much anywhere else you can find an electric outlet.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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