Beacons—a Brief Introduction

Beacons are small Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices that continuously transmit a unique ID or web address devices intended to be picked by devices like smartphones or tablets, which are near them. You can think of them as small computers wrapped in a plastic box which make use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to detect human presence and identify their behavior. This very nature of identifying location and behavior makes these proximity devices invaluable marketing tools for retailers. They can make use of beacons to quickly deliver personalized and contextual messages to their customers, in the process giving a solid boost to their endeavor to engage more actively and efficiently with their customers. Each beacon has a Bluetooth Low energy transmitter that transmits a continuous signal. This signal heard by devices within a certain distance triggers a response if the devices have the relevant apps installed. The app establishes a connection with the server asking whether it has any meaningful information to share with it.

For example, let us assume A is a Bluetooth Beacon, M is a mobile device and X is a server. To begin with, ‘B’ continuously transmits a radio signal. This signal is then picked up by M (smartphone). ‘M’ then gets in touch with the server ‘X’ and the server displays the relevant message.

Why marketers are so excited about beacons?

Beacons today have become an invaluable tool of communication for businesses. A large many of them are using the location awareness provided by them to send personalized messages to their present and potential customers in real time. Sending regular messages about any upcoming events, sale, discount offers or wishing their customers on special occasions augments engagement and builds customer loyalty.

Another major offered by Beacons is that they operate on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standards. It enables retailers and marketers to deploy them anywhere they want. Another prime advantage offered by BLE is that it uses much lower receiving device battery power enabling it to function for an extended period without battery replacement. In fact, BLE beacon can operate without glitches for many years on standard coin-cell batteries.

iBeacon and Eddystone

Many people think these two important communication protocols through which Bluetooth beacons communicate to be physical pieces of hardware. It is important to note that they are not hardware but in fact standards or software protocols for Bluetooth beacon communication. iBeacon has been developed by Apple whereas Eddystone comes from Google.

HeatMapper

HeatMapper is the little brother of Ekahau Site Survey. It is a novel tool which facilitates detailed and accurate mapping of your Wi-Fi network. You can use it to make your Wi-Fi more secure and fast thereby drawing more customers to your shop.