The Magic Of Beacons Technology – 5 Things Marketers Should Know About Programmable Beacons
In today’s modern world, it’s becoming difficult for business promoters to reach targeted customers and prospects, much less prompt them to take desired actions. However, this complicated task seems to have at least one relatively simple solution: Wireless Low Energy “beacons.” (WLEB) Also known as “Bluetooth beacons,” these affordable devices transfer appropriate, focused information and messages to nearby mobile gadgets and devices.
Beacons aren’t just for advertisers and product suppliers, either. They’re also being implemented in sports arenas, airports, business exhibitions and conventions (such as CES), educational institutions, and museums that desire to interact with and learn more about their customers. In many cases, the main objective and reason behind beacons’ implementation are to increase client and customer involvement, also sales and loyalty. Businesses use beacons for campaigns, as well, and some medical centers use these gadgets to improve individual patients’ care or track expensive resources.
Last year there were some major enhancements and development in the physical world as well as in the marketing industry. 2017 is considered as the beginning of mass beacon deployment. Beacons have become a part of the newest edition of the Wireless / Bluetooth special interest group (BT-SIG).
Basically beacons are broadcasted from a piece of hardware to the nearest portable electronic device – it could be a cell phone, portable pc you’re already carrying—and allow these portable devices to perform some sort of action.
Common illustrations are:
• When you get near to an entrance, it unlocks
• When you get near a shop, you get a discount coupon at your cell-phone
• Walking through an art gallery you approach a display, and suddenly an audio description about that display is sent to your mobile phone.
The usage of different wireless beacons can make your head spin. These days in the real world “Bluetooth beacons are becoming marketers dream”.
”Bluetooth Beacons are not about sending information, it’s about allowing information to be received”
Beacons use a versatile combination of both hardware and software.
1- What’s the Big Deal About Beacon?
With a Beacon system, any brand, store retailer, app, or platform will be able to understand exactly what that customer is actually looking for. This provides an opportunity to deliver customers highly contextual, hyper-local, significant messages and advertisements at their smartphones.
How do Beacon works?
The common situation looks like this. A person holding a smartphone walking into a store, mobile app installed at consumer’s smartphone sense for iBeacons. When an app sense for an iBeacon or that customer is in the range of a beacon, it conveys the appropriate data (UUID, Major, Minimal, Tx) to its server, which then triggers an action.
This could be something as simple as push notification message [“Welcome to *Store Name! Check out Special discount on article 3!”], and could include other things like a targeted or focused advertisement, special offers, discount coupon or any helpful reminder [“You’re standing right next to a product with 75% off”].
Other features of this prospective device include mobile payments, customer analytics and exit outside of the retail stores, at airports, concerts, restaurants, theme parks and much more. The potential is unlimited.
I-Beacon has provided a digital expansion into the physical world. We are definitely excited to see where I-Beacon technology goes in the next few years.
2- What are (Bluetooth low energy beacons) BLE?
Basically beacons are small, low battery-operated devices that use BLE technology to transmit signals into devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and gadgets within a radius of 250-300 feet.
Blue tooth beacons are actually one-way transmitters; they identify close-range devices by gadgets in order to deliver the information, but the targeted devices don’t send information back to the beacons. Beacons are like lighthouses which means, multiple beacons can be placed around an area, such as inside a shop or an airport terminal, to transmit relevant or appropriate information to portable devices within their reach. Mobile device owners can then respond to, engage with, or use the details for turn-by-turn navigation and shop discount rates, among other things.
Beacons are not just used for only one purpose. In fact, they can be used to track other gadgets, and their users, when in a certain range. For example, marketers can use beacons that connect to a mobile devices to find out how long customers stay in a specific shop section.
3- There Are How Many Beacon Platforms?
The two biggest players in the beacon market are Apple & Google, and both have their own consistent BLE (Beacon) implementations.
– Apple’s iBeacon was the first standardized beacon platform. The company introduced its technology in 2013 at the global developer’s conference, when it added iBeacon support to iOS 7. The iBeacon system allows developers to build mobile applications that can get signals, such as location-notifications, from iBeacon-compatible gadgets.
– On Dec. 6th, 2013, Apple installed I-Beacons in all of its leading store outlets. Customers with the Apple store app installed on their Bluetooth-enabled iOS devices with active location services can receive in-store notifications about new offers, new products and much more.
– In June 2015, Google announced about Eddy-stone, its BLE beacon technology (A U.K. lighthouse inspired theme name). Eddystone is similar to iBeacon, but compared with Apple’s technology, Google is free, and it’s easily available on Git-Hub.
– Both iOS and Android operating system users can get information sent via the iBeacon and Eddystone system, according to Errett Kroeger, vice chairman of marketing for Wireless SIG. Promoters “don’t need to worry about buying an I-Beacon compared to an Eddy-Stone beacon,” he says because they both work across the two systems.
– However, there are some variations between Apple’s and Google implementations out there. Especially, Google beacons can send URLs to cellular phones, which can then easily be opened in a mobile browser. This exclusive feature does correlates with Google viewpoint of the cellular web browser as an all-purpose app. Apple’s I-Beacon, as of now, communicates only with mobile applications on user’s smartphones.
4- Who create beacons? & what’s their production cost
As mentioned above there are two competitors in the market offering beacons. But both Google and iPhone don’t create their own beacons. There are many manufacturers who sell beacons based on one or both implementation standards. List of those vendors is below:
- Estimote – Aruba – Gimbal – Kontakt – Radius Networks – Accent systems – April Brothers
- Blue Sense – Gimbal Series – Tod – Sensorberg – Reco Beacon – Minew – Roximity
How much do they cost? Basically they are not that much expensive. Average price range costs from $5 – $30. Prices only differ due to beacon signal range, battery type used (typical battery life can be several years) and probably there include many other factors as well.
Now a day’s Face book is also offering beacons which are available for free to people and businesses with Face book pages. These beacons are created to induce Facebook place guidelines and provide information about the companies and businesses to users’ mobile phones.
5- Why should marketers and promoters use beacons?
These day’s beacons can help marketers gain more detailed exposure. Wholesales dealers and retailers can gain more exposure and could have an overview of the customer that “at which item or product” they are spending a great deal of time.
If store owners know about their customers that they have to spend a great deal of time in that store versus another, then you might do something about targeting them from one of your ad/marketing networks.
Beacons do really help out in boosting customer’s loyalty by not only rewarding them with transactions but with physical presence in the stores and getting a click and collect orders as soon as they enter into the store and then letting them know.
Accompanied by special offers and deals, Bluetooth beacons can easily help increase sales of any retail store, any restaurant, food and Beverage Company, etc. According to Forbes, at the recent super bowl match in St.Levis they used about 2,000 beacons along with stadium app, which helped increase food and drinks order by 76 percent as compared to their stadium’s previous record *(said the CEO of Venue Next)*
Beacons are considered as a promising technological innovation.
Definitely, in the upcoming years, beacons will find their way into intelligent smart house systems, too. Think about coming home after a long and hectic meeting — or from a marketing job, perhaps — to a house that instantly feels your existence, switch on/off your room lights, and play your favorite song from the playlist. This sort of “useful attention,” could play an important role in the technology of beacons.