iBeacon location-sensing tech put to use at grocery stores

InMarket debuts its iBeacon platform in dozens of Safeway and Giant Eagle supermarkets to give shoppers grocery list reminders, deals, and reward points.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
InMarket's iBeacon platform lets users get reward points while shopping. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Apple's iBeacon location-sensing technology appears to be having a major breakthrough. Mobile shopping startup InMarket announced Monday that it's beginning to use the platform in more than 150 grocery stores across the US, according to The Associated Press.

This means the 20 million people who use InMarket's apps on its Mobile to Mortar platform will be able to get grocery list reminders, deals, and reward points at supermarkets like Safeway and Giant Eagle. To use the technology, shoppers have to opt in by downloading specific apps, like InMarket's Checkpoints.

Apple debuted iBeacon late last year on devices running iOS 7. The location-sensing technology works by sending off short-range transmitters that notify mobile devices when they are within 100 feet of a beacon. This type of location-sensing technology can be used for indoor navigation, automatic ticketing, and location-relevant promotions.

iBeacon has already been used at Apple retail stores, is in testing mode with MLB at certain baseball stadiums, and will even be used for a scavenger hunt at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Starbucks, Macy's, and American Airlines are also said to be testing the technology.

InMarket's iBeacon feature will be in more than 150 stores in Seattle, San Francisco, and Cleveland within the next two weeks; and the company plans to expand to thousands of grocery and retail stores by the end of 2014, according to the AP.

Here are some of the features InMarket's iBeacon platform gives users: