In recent times, a new location technology called Beacon has been developed and is being adopted by more and more companies. These small devices send, via Bluetooth, unique signals that can be identified through our smartphones, or some other receiving device, and allow us to react to it.
These simple devices open up a wide variety of possibilities, from informing us about the latest offers to telling our favorite store to geolocating us in an establishment, in exchange for a very low cost.
The points that make Beacon stand out from the other location technologies are:
- Small devices: Their size does not exceed that of a coin, so they can be placed and hidden almost anywhere.
- They work by Bluetooth: BLE (Bluethooth Low Energy or Bluethooth low energy) to be more exact, so that energy is minimal.
- They emit a signal that identifies it uniquely: Each Beacon has a unique identifier, therefore, there can’t be doubt about the physical origin of a signal.
- Its signal can be received by other devices: This signal is interpreted by other receiving devices, with which a communication channel is established that remains alive while they are within reach of the signal (about 50 meters).
Obviously, the technology has certain limitations, for example, it requires that the user has the bluetooth activated.
In addition, as each device assembles its own bluetooth receiver, the power in which it is receiving the signal, can change from one device to another, so if we want to obtain a very accurate position of the user, we will need to mount a system with several Beacons, in order to triangulate its position.
It is important to keep in mind that Beacons are like lighthouses, they only emit the signal, they do not realize if there is any device receiving it or not, the devices have to manage their behavior upon receiving it.
With all these advantages, and considering its limitations, we can propose a wide variety of use cases that can make life users’ easier:
- Notify customers of our store’s offers. When a customer approaches to our store, we can send him a notification showing our most juicy offers.
- Identify the products that are most interesting for our customers, in order to we could send them personalized offers later. Placing a Beacon in each product, we can capture the behavior of our customers, collecting information, without disturbing them. Which we could use it to offer personalized offerings in the products that they are more interest.
- Locate a user in a shopping center, so that, if you wish they could be guide to our store.
These are just a small example of the possibilities that this technology allows, but, surely, more and more companies will begin to appear and will begin to implement it, creating increasingly interesting use cases.
Our SlashBoy, David Martinez, Mobile Developer is the author of this post.