The Downside of Beacon Technology

Delivering customized offers to consumers is good. But is doing it while they’re standing in a store in front of an item?


Like many emerging mobile-based products today, beacon technology, which enables merchants to identify specific customers in or near their stores, has potential to greatly improve customer relations. But it’s highly untested, and improper execution could do more harm than good.

Because beacons, which uses Bluetooth Low-Energy technology, have caught the interest of many in the industry, Fidelity National Information Services, or FIS, is seeking to stay at least on par with the market to identify beacon’s viability, Troy Land, the company’s vice president of emerging commerce, told in a recent podcast interview.

(Jump To: 0:55) “Beacon really kind of caught our attention lately, one of many potential disruptors in the marketplace,” he said during the interview. “It’s still very new and very limited as far as the offerings, but it’s driving a lot of interest nonetheless.”

Because beacon technology, such as Apple iBeacon or PayPal Beacon, is so new, the “$1 million question” is how consumers will respond, Land said.

(Jump To 1:38) As he sees it, beacons border “on the edge of cool and creepy.”

“It has the potential to be very cool, very innovative. But in the same regard, if it’s not executed properly, it could be interpreted as a violation of privacy,” he said. “So it’s really going to be a matter of how merchants, or organizations of any type for that matter, look to deploy it.”

If deployed properly by leveraging the full view of the customer, and the merchant is able to present targeted offers that are attractive and have a high perceived value and that are specific to specific individuals, consumers will have an appetite for that type of service, Land said.

In a recent blog commentary, Land suggested that beacon technology is so new, people still are guessing what the marketing and payments industry impact will be. “Many seem to think it will revolutionize consumerism,” he wrote. “On the other hand, others predict big headaches along the way. But one thing is certain, mobile ads (or targeted offers and communications) are effective.”

To learn more Land’s views on beacon technology and where FIS sees itself in supporting the technology, listen to the full podcast here.


Troy Land
Vice President – Emerging Commerce & Prepaid

Troy Land is a Product Strategy Leader with more than 10 years of increasing responsibility within the financial services industry including a background in retail banking, payment processing, risk management, relationship management and product development. He has proven experience in strategic decision-making, business planning, financial and personnel management, research and development, and new product creation. Troy is strong and decisive, results-oriented negotiator with advanced interpersonal communication skills. He displays the ability to analyze, problem-solve, multi-task and handle pressure in a fast paced environment with ease.

Troy’s extensive knowledge of the payment processing industry and Loyalty solutions make him an Emerging Commerce expert within the FIS Global team. With a talent for developing and simplifying processes and creating innovative solutions, Troy is always committed to the highest levels of professional and personal excellence.