August 2016

Beacons: All the Secrets Revealed by NearIT

Mobile strategy
NearIT reveales beacons

In the last few years these tools have seen a great diffusion not just inside stores. But what are beacons? Why do you need them?

Beacons

Beacons are small devices that work with BLE technology (Bluetooth Low Energy) and are among the widely used hardware for Proximity Marketing, that is to say they are used to communicate with users through the smartphone, when they are near a place or a strategic point, and in a specific circumstance.

However, beacons alone do not work: In order to receive information they require an app, through which, in compliance with the terms of the current privacy rules, they can convey content in a profiled and geo-localized manner, using the user’s position when they have their smartphone in their pocket.

Are you interested in beacons for your campaign but don’t you have an app? Discover StartIT!

NearIT reveales beacons

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In the face of behaviors and buying habits characterized increasingly by mobile technology, companies are interested in new techniques and technologies to communicate with their users in a profiled and precise context. It is estimated that by 2021 the number of proximity sensors used globally will reach 500 million, applied in diverse in sectors.

Although they are used especially in the retail sector, beacons also adapt to various scenarios such as fairs, events, museums and exhibition spaces, also cities and territories. By exploiting the user’s geographical position, it becomes possible to connect people, places, products and smart services, conveying targeted communication capable of making the experience more dynamic.

Providing the right information, in the right place and at the most opportune moment actually simplifies the communication process, access to services, and the promotion of businesses.

beacons and potential customers

How do Beacons work?

Beacons emit Bluetooth signals in predefined frequencies, with configurable transmission power and intervals, which can be detected by smart devices such as smartphones.

In this way they allow you to send messages in real time and in close proximity to all users within their range of action, conveying simple information, but also multimedia content such as photos, videos, documents, questionnaires, and feedback requests.

 

Therefore: Information can only be received once a user has downloaded an app, have their bluetooth turned on and have accepted to receive notifications on their device based on their preferences when they are near a relevant point of interest. The sender will be able to manage the contents disbursed from the beacon and their positioning through a web platform integrated with the app.

Beacons Characteristics

The range of a beacon is adjustable and can vary depending on the model of the device and the signal strength. You can effectively send content with a wireless signal up to 60 meters for the most common models, but also over 100 meters for beacons with a greater transmission capacity.

Beacons are mostly powered by coin batteries . But there are some devices  also powered by wall outlets or USB. The batteries of a beacon have an average duration of three years, but there are  models that provide an energy saving system. Some factors that influence its duration are:

  • the transmission power
  • the length of the transmission radius (the longer it is, the shorter the battery life).

the interval at which signals are sent by a beacon (the shorter the interval length the shorter the battery duration).

Materials and shapes

Beacons are available in different shapes, sizes, colors and materials.

Deciding which to choose for proximity marketing depends on the intended use: for example, will they will be placed inside (in a shop, in a restaurant or in a museum hall)? Or outside (on the street furniture,in a square or a street in the city)? In the latter case, it is necessary to pick more sturdy beacon models which are made from waterproof and temperature-resistant materials capable of guaranteeing better performance in terms of signal and durability.

beacon-colour

The advantages of using beacons

Beacons are an innovative but accessible technology, both in economic terms and in terms of management. They are easy to install and to position and can be connected to any place or object, paying attention to some rules in order not to compromise the spread of the signal.

They have a wider range of action than NFC, thus ensuring greater coverage and easier access to the devices, but a range narrower  than that of GPS, working with more precision and less energy consumption even indoors.

Thus, by detecting the precise location of objects even in small radius, it allow users to be involved at the most opportune moment, when they are looking for something. It is possible to collect and analyze data to learn about their interests and behavior in relation to the environment they are in to find out how:

  • time is being spent in one place;
  • which articles aroused more interest;
  • buying habits;

Therefore, by combining the user’s personal data, their behavior and their geographical position, it is possible to plan  more effective marketing and communication campaigns, establishing a new relationship of trust with their users.

 

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