Isn’t it awesome that whenever a person walks by your store, all the details about your offerings and deals get popped onto their smartphone? It is just the upgraded version of that person you used to give salary for standing out of your shop and attracting the customer by shouting about the discount offers. So, ibeacon technology does the same in a more advanced manner.
Today, this blog will discuss all the ibeacon technology, how it works, how it is beneficial for business, what are the different types of ibeacons, the leading players in the ibeacon technology, the utility of this technology in different industries, and much more. So, let’s get started-
- What Is iBeacon Technology?
- How Does the Beacon Technology Work?
- How Is Beacon Technology Beneficial for Your Business?
- Effective and Cost-efficient Marketing
- Competitive Advantage
- Better Brand Image
- Better Connectivity with Customers
- Expands the Database
- Increases the chances of conversion
- Proximity Marketing
- Boosts Productivity
- Indoor Navigation
- Event management
- Content delivery
- Retail Industry
What Is iBeacon Technology?
Beacons are small Bluetooth devices that omit Bluetooth signals with unique ID numbers. Each beacon is equipped with a specific type of information displayed via any device that connects to the beacons’ signal. These signals are recognizable by smartphones and similar devices. At the same time, smartphones and similar devices can also configure the different beacon devices available near them.
In simpler words, the beacon devices are Bluetooth technology that connects to the nearby Bluetooth welcoming devices and represents the messages and information fed to them.
How Does the Beacon Technology Work?
Every beacon device comes with a unique ID number registered with the dedicated app of the device. With this ID number and device, the store owner can customize the message and purpose of using the beacon. So, whenever any external device comes in the Bluetooth range of these devices, the owner’s message is communicated directly to that external device.
Let’s understand with an example. Let’s refer to a grocery store owner who wants to use a beacon device for marketing purposes. Here, with a beacon device, the owner will be provided with an app integration and ID number. With the help of the app, the owner can instil information like discount offers, new deals, and newly available products. So, the next time beacon connects with the Bluetooth signal of a person wandering near the store, he/she gets all that information on their smartphone and visits the store if the offers are relevant enough.
How Is Beacon Technology Beneficial for Your Business?
Beacon technology is not just a device or tool, it is a whole concept. So, the beacons are much more useful for your business than just informing you about the latest products and offerings. The efficient use of a beacon can bring your store into the limelight in front of your audience base and thus can significantly benefit your business.
The benefits of beacon technology for your business are but are not limited to
Effective and Cost-efficient Marketing
Marketing is generally very costly for businesses, and at the same time, smart marketing is even more complicated. So, the beacon concept makes it cost-efficient and, at the same time, provides access to smart marketing. The store owner can connect to the nearby target audience by installing the beacons in the store. Over a period of time, the owner can easily understand consumer behavior to provide more relevant discount offers and products to the customer. So, it helps enormously in establishing a strong customer relationship.
The current market is highly competitive and sustaining in the market is all about achieving a competitive edge. So, having a device that helps you directly connect to your customer ensures competitive advantages for your business. Getting notifications from a store will push them to choose that certain store over any other business.
Better Brand Image
When you are using a smart device to communicate your offer to the target audience, it automatically enhances the brand image of your firm. After all, getting an instant discount offer as you walk near a store is something you don’t experience frequently.
Better Connectivity with Customers
Targeted marketing helps businesses to connect more efficiently to their target audience. The concept of sending random emails and messages to a potential consumer base is not new and receives very few impressions from the audience side. The standard push notifications are opened just 14% of the time, while the notifications received via beacons are opened more than 50% of the time due to their better relevancy. So, beacon helps to establish communication between the store owner and audience.
Expands the Database
Beacons help to build a strong database with the time that can be key to your business success. By implementing the beacon technology, you will know the customer who frequently visits your store, the prime time of the day when the number of people are maximum around the store, along with the message content that catches the attention of customers the most.
Increases the chances of conversion
You can easily show the ads on television, newspaper, or social media. Still, there are no chances that the user will get up from the couch and instantly visit the store to avail of the discount or offer. But, when it comes to beacon technology, you are communicating your offer to someone standing just outside the store. So, if your offers and messages are tempting enough, the customer will not have to think for a second time before visiting the store.
What Are the Types of Beacons?
Technology never stops improving, and thus, always has something better to offer to mankind. Similarly, when we were done with the basic Bluetooth beacons to leverage the above benefits, the technology transfigured the model. It introduced different types of beacons that deliver the benefits in an even more proficient manner. Let’s talk about these different beacons and their working principle-
The most basic type of beacon operates on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). As aforementioned, it transmits the signals which connect with nearby Bluetooth devices and transmits the message on the other end. The concept can be compared to that of the lighthouse, where the sailors use the light to get to the edge.
Talking in the simplest term when Wi-Fi substitutes Bluetooth, it is called Wi-Fi Aware. The network strength is better in this concept. A Wi-Fi Aware Device searches for other Wi-Fi-enabled devices to share the information. Once the Wi-Fi connection is established, the information is shared with another device. However, the use case of Wi-Fi enabled beacon is vaster than the BLE model as it can transmit small information as well as extensive data.
Ultrasonic Tracking Beacons
Totally different from others, this one plays on sound frequency. An ultrasonic tracking beacon, when installed in a shop or public place, emits a sound of frequency between 18 KHz-20 KHz. This frequency cannot be heard by humans but can be easily identified by any listening device like a smartphone. As soon as the device catches the frequency, the already coded information is already presented on the device.
Artificial Intelligence has transfigured everything with significant advancements. Similar is the case with beacons, where they don’t rely on some kind of signals. On the contrary, they rely on the movements and gestures of consumers in store to send them the relevant deals and discount offers.
Leading Players in Beacon Technology
Not many tech giants have marked their presence in this segment. Still, there is several companies that are known for their beacon solutions. Let’s glance at some of them-
Ensuring the presence of Apple, one of the biggest tech giants in the beacon industry, iBeacon is among the most commonly used beacons used by people. The beacons powered by Apple are compatible with iOS and Android devices to ensure better reach for users. The Apple iBeacons are the best choice for UUID broadcasting and transmitting notifications.
Introduced by Apple, iBeacon implements Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to generate a different way of generating location-based information and services for iPhones and other iOS devices. This first arrived in the iOS7 operating system and was made available on devices such as iPhone 4s, iPad, iPad mini, and iPad touch as well as this technology also works on Android OS 2.3 and above. With the help of this technology setup, shops can ably send notifications about special offers to the customers passing by with the use of third-party low-cost Bluetooth-enabled hardware called “Beacon”.
AltBeacons is similar to that of iBeacons when assessed from a technical point of view. However, the AltBeacons follows a simpler approach to API that makes the operations more flexible and customizable for the users. Undoubtedly, it is complex to handle due to its API approach.
When Google decided to step into the beacon industry, Eddystone was introduced (released in 2015). Eddystone has comparatively better features and capabilities than iBeacons and Altbeacons. Eddystone comes with standard UUID which helps to send the URLs. So, whether or not the device at the other end has installed any kind of application, the URL connects and transmits the message. The features play a significant role in engaging the new audience.
Sensolus Geobeacons are a little different as multiple geobeacons are used at the same time to ensure usability. These beacons are used mostly for industrial buildings where the beacons are installed in different zones inside the building. All the beacons are configured and detected by Sensolus trackers. So, you can track the location of the asset based on its connection with the particular beacon. If there is no connection with any of the beacons, it will not be difficult to understand that the asset is not at the premises.
Utility of Beacon Technology Across Various Industries
The foremost benefit of beacons is proximity marketing. Having installed in dedicated places like shops, stores, exhibitions, or events, beacons easily track the customer’s exact location and communicate the attractive offer to them in no time. Once it’s been time to use beacons for marketing, the store’s owner can easily understand its target audience’s preference and thus customize the discount offers and deals accordingly. Thus, by providing a personalized experience to the customer, the loyal consumer base of the business can be increased significantly.
Another big use case of beacons is to enhance the overall productivity of a factory or a company. For example, beacons can be used for the sign-in and sign-out of the staff when they are entering or leaving the office premises. At the same time, important updates and notifications can be shared with the employees in no time with utmost accuracy.
People often struggle to find the right room, bathroom, library, emergency room, and other facilities in hotels, hospitals, and other big places. So, beacons can be installed in such buildings to offer insight into indoor navigation via people’s smartphones.
Event management has become significantly easy with the use of beacons. Beacons are used to deliver information to multiple people simultaneously in no time. The main attractions, navigation of the venues, schedule of different events and much more can be shared with visitors via beacon connectivity.
If you want audience attention on your particular content, beacons can be a great medium. You can install the beacons in popular places like cafes, bus stops, airports, etc., and your beacons will do the rest. People present in the area will automatically receive your content, and chances are that they will have a look.
A significant use case of the beacon is possible in transportation where the passenger can be informed about the route schedule, current location of the vehicle, and arrival and departure time. Similarly, beacons can help manage ticket deployment and provide information on delays or changes to passengers.
As discussed before, the shopkeeper can install a beacon in the store to communicate the offers and discounts to the nearby customers. This type of insight can bring customers and give you a good sale multiple times a day.
The hospitality industry is all about how to personalize you make your guest feel. With beacons, you can generate an automated greeting message as soon as they enter your premises. You can guide the guests to their rooms with digital maps. At the same time, you can even know their preferences and feedback via beacons.
The Healthcare industry is another landscape where beacons can significantly help in numerous ways. First of all, it can help the patient or visitors to navigate through the hospital. At the same time, the general guidelines and essential alerts can be shared with people via beacons.
Beacons in the education industry can be used to track the student’s attendance and thus verify if the students are skipping classes. Similarly, the beacons can also help indoor navigation of college and university campuses.
Real-life Examples of Beacon Technology
One of the best real-life examples of the use of beacon technology is proximity marketing done by Walmart. The firm uses beacons to identify the location of a customer near as well as inside the store and then communicate discount offers, reminders, and coupons. Each notification is sent to the consumer after analyzing time spent on location, definite requirements, etc.
Similarly, the SXSW festivals also use beacons to manage their events better. Tasks like registration of attendees, marketing the event, distributing valuable information, location navigation, and much more are ensured by beacons only.
Beacons are a new concept introduced in the market being used by businesses for different purposes. From connecting to customers to receiving payments, beacons are now being used in every segment. Let it be connecting with the customers, communicating coupons and offers, or receiving payment, beacons are playing a core role everywhere. Both small, as well as the large scaled businesses are leveraging the technology to transfigure their operations.