Beacon – An Introduction
Engage your customers better using BEACONS
We have been reading a lot about how beacons are being utilized in various industries to build proximity based unique experiences for the customers. There is surely a tremendous buzz around the potential it holds in building contextualized, personalized experiences. The trend can be predominantly seen in the retail industry where retailers attract customers by delivering promotional offers and contextual information straight to the users’ smartphones using beacon technology.
Adoption of beacon technology is poised to grow over the next couple of years with the release of more mobile devices that are compatible with this technology in the market. But what is a beacon and how does it work? This blog will help you with the basic understanding of this technology and its usefulness.
What is Beacon?
Beacon is a low cost piece of digital hardware that can be attached to a wall or countertop. They are small devices that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and have the capability to interact with applications on mobile devices. They can transmit messages to a customer’s smartphone or tablet.
Beacons broadcast small packets of data at regular intervals through radio waves. These packets can interact with your smartphones to identify your location and trigger events such as push notifications with ads, promotional coupons, and product information.
Examples of Beacons:
What does BLE mean?
BLE is known as Bluetooth Low Energy which is an advanced Bluetooth technology designed to send and receive data using only a small amount of energy. Each beacon has a chipset embedded in it, which follows the BLE specifications.
Here are few highlights of BLE technology:
- Consumes very less power
- Works upto a couple of years on a single coin cell battery
- Cost efficient compared to classic Bluetooth technology
- Lower implementation costs
- Multi-vendor interoperability
- Enhanced range
BLE’s edge over other technologies
- BLE can be understood as an advanced ‘extension’ of earlier Bluetooth technology
- It’s a lot like GPS but uses a LOT less battery
- GPS doesn’t work very well once you are indoors. BLE works
- Provides rich user experience in the form of notifications, alerts, dialogs, etc.
- Capability to engage customers and facilitate payment as well
- Advantage over NFC because of its range and affordability
Use Cases for Beacons
Beacons can play a major role in retail marketing. They can attract consumers by sending offers, discounts or any other interesting stuff through push notifications. As soon as a user comes in the range of any beacon, he can receive the offers in real time.
Flight delays and endless waiting hours is a very common problem. During such situations, brands can attract passengers by sending contextual information, offers, discounts etc. and provide a fine retail experience.
The experience of visiting museums/zoos can be enhanced by sending the detailed information on the user’s smartphone. Although these places, have the relevant information displayed on boards, contextual information, related videos, captivating images etc. send to a user’s device will enrich his experience.
Amusements Parks/Trade Fairs/Stadiums
While waiting for half an hour in the queue, if a user gets the information on the head count and wait time beforehand, he can spend his time wisely and optimize his experience by visiting all the rides he likes.
At stadiums, visitors can be given a rich experience by sending information on favourite players, merchandise, navigation etc.
Relevant information like meeting agenda, guest details, key note speaker details, their biography and much more can be easily pushed to the right person at events.conferences with the help of beacons.
Facilitating Payments (Google Wallet, PayPal)
As soon as the user comes in close range on a beacon, the payment gets authenticated automatically. PayPal is very actively working in this direction.
Many more industries are adopting beacons in order to provide contextual and personal experience to the customers. With ever increasing smartphones and app usage, it is just a matter of time when beacon based proximity solutions will be considered as a must have in the marketing strategy of any brand.
Soon we will be presenting next blog on technical implementation of Beacon in Android and iOS.