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Sunday, June 09, 2019


Beacons are small and cost efficient, micro-location-based technology devices that can emit radio frequency signals and notify nearby Bluetooth devices of their presence and transmit information. Smartphones or other mobile devices can capture the beacon signals and distance can be estimated by measuring Received Signal Strength Indicators (RSSI). Stronger signals are received with the proximity of the receptive devices. Various industrial sectors including retail, educational institutions, transit systems, travel, enterprises, event organizing, finance etc. have started leveraging beacons solutions to track and communicate with their potential and existing customers. A beacon fixed on to a shop wall or event location or any public place, can communicate easily with a corresponding smartphone app and figure out where the person is located currently with great accuracy. The retailers or event organizations can then come up with a much targeted or personalized communication based on the proximity of the customer.

How do beacons connect to the web?

You’ve probably heard of Bluetooth. It’s present in more than 90 per cent of all phones and has been around since the 1990s. While many consumers don’t use Bluetooth on a daily basis, it’s hugely important to the Internet of Things. Being in 90% of the world’s phones, Bluetooth technology means beacons are compatible with devices consumers use on a daily basis around the globe. Bluetooth provides the infrastructure for the entire beacon ecosystem. It’s a standard for sending data over short distances, a wireless technology not so dissimilar from Wi-Fi. This is why beacon hardware can be simple. There is already a web of Bluetooth around you that can connect beacons and smart devices and almost anything else.

How do beacons work?

As you move through a shopping mall installs beacons in their shop, all of the beacons will have certain IDs, registered in their dedicated app. This means a smartphone app can immediately recognize that the incoming ID is important and that it’s from that particular mall. The ID, however, has little meaning on its own; it’s entirely up to an app or other programs to recognize what it means.
What happens next? That depends on what the owner has programmed it to do. One code could trigger the app to send a coupon. Another could offer navigation services. The possibilities are nearly endless. All the beacon has to do is connect your exact location to the app, and the rest is up to the program.If this sounds a little too big brother for you, don’t worry. There are limitations to what they can do.

First, beacons only work if you have the right app. Beacons can’t ping your phone unless you give them permission to pair, which is done through installing the mobile app. If you don’t have the app installed, you won’t ping the beacon.

Second, beacons don’t work with when your phone's Bluetooth is turned off. Unlike the store’s Wi-Fi network, you’re in full control of whether your phone pings beacons. Even if you have the app installed, you can manually turn off your phone’s Bluetooth to cut off any communications with beacons.

Third, beacons have a limited range. If you’ve ever used a Bluetooth device, you know the range is limited to half a mile in the most ideal, unobstructed, outdoor conditions. Walls, merchandise, other device signals, and other obstacles limit this range to 100 meters or less.

Beacons in Retail industry

Customer experience has become the key to the success of any industry including retail. Retailers can deliver a much more appealing customer experience for consumers by implementing reliable Beacon Solutions. These micro-computing devices can easily figure out interested customers, loyal customers, potential customers exactly where the person is, what they are interested in, when they enter into the store environment and many such attributes. This provides an opportunity for retailers to provide a much engaging Customer experience by sending contextually relevant, hyper-local, significant messages and advertisements on their smartphones. Beacons solutions will act as a bridge between the online and traditional offline shopping by capturing and sending consumer data to retailers and vice-versa to create an enhanced shopping experience.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author's and not necessarily represent or reflect the views of DOT Club as a whole