- by BLE Mobile Apps
What is a Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon?
Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE technology utilizes very little energy to receive signals and transmit data. Bluetooth beacons are tiny devices that broadcast wireless signals in the form of universally unique identifiers. Smartphones, tablets, or other wireless devices like gateways capture these signals. It is available for both mobile platforms; Bluetooth low energy iOS, and Bluetooth low energy android.
How Does Beacon Work? What Does a Beacon Do?
The working of a beacon depends on the type of beacon technology application.
- The BLE beacon wireless signals trigger a specific action when received by a smartphone or tablet. The action like opening an app or showing a push notification will be executed. Such activities come under Proximity Marketing.
- In the case of People and Asset Tracking, the universally unique identifier (UID) sent by a beacon gets detected by a wireless gateway to detect its current location.
- For indoor navigation, BLE beacons measure the distance to the smartphone, which has a particular mobile app. The mobile device app identifies the signals of at least three beacons and its present indoor x,y coordinates. The mobile app understands these coordinates and shows them as a dot on the mobile map.
- Every time a mobile app user’s position changes, the system keeps track of it. It can provide the app user behavior information in-store, various points of interest, and length of stay within the selected area.
What is a beacon app?
Beacon apps are required to set up beacons with the Google beacon platform. It allows the following:
- beacons to be managed remotely
- integrate with Google services
- help users’ devices to detect content
- Identify functionality across Android, native apps, and the web.
Beacon App is available for Android or iOS platforms. Eddystone beacon app and iBeacon app are the most commonly used beacon apps.
What is an iBeacon?
iBeacon is a technology, trademark of Apple for their BLE products and systems for proximity marketing. It is a system built into Apple’s iOS ver.7 mobile operating system that allows iPhones and iPads to scan for Bluetooth devices nearby continuously. It can also broadcast beacon signals to awaken apps on other iOS devices.
How Can the iBeacon can help your business?
- It offers a personalized user experience.
- iBeacon app allows users to give feedback based on their experience and increases your chances of receiving instant feedback.
- When you are in proximity to the product, the beacon will broadcast the information to the user’s device related to the product. You can also make product comparisons with the Beacon app.
- By offering a personalized experience, iBeacon App gives the opportunity to acquire and retain your customers as your app users. Phones with iBeacon app installed will receive app notifications on updates, latest offers or discounts, when in close proximity to your store.
Do beacons operate with iPhones and Android phones? Should the app be continually running even in the background for the beacons to work?
Beacons work well with both iPhones and Android phones; however, the working differs. Apple’s launch of iOS 7.1 has once the iBeacon app is installed; it will search for beacons although the app is shut down or a user’s phone is rebooted. Therefore, iOS 7 devices can now regularly scan for BLE and awake particular apps that come within the beacon’s range, even if they are closed.
Google Nearby applies to all Android devices. It scans beacon notifications within the range and displays the intended message as per the signal.
Android devices, however, lack the same kind of beacon system at an operating-system-level. So this leaves Android beacon apps with the option of continuously running a service in the background to scan for BLE. It results in more battery drain for Android users when beacons scan for apps.
How do the Eddystone and iBeacon differ?
Eddystone beacon is both Android and iOS compatible and maybe a native part of the upcoming Android M release. Eddystone broadcasts three different packets: a unique ID number (Eddystone-UID), a URL address (Eddystone-URL), and sensor telemetry (Eddystone-TLM), whereas iBeacon is also Android and iOS compatible. However, native only for iOS. It sends one advertising packet and a unique ID number.
Do beacons need WiFi to work?
Beacons do not require WiFi, but the beacon app does base on location the app content. If the content is real-time and fetched from the cloud, WiFi, or other mobile network is required to download the data. But, you can cache content to deliver it when the device is offline.