So, I was lately asked to work out a story, featuring the buzz about Beacons. Somehow, I was back then unfamiliar with what it referred to. The next second, I phone called my brother and inquired if he had come across such a thing, but he laughingly asked “You mean B-A-C-O-N, right? I'm munching a bacon roll right now!” and I sympathetically answered “No, bro, not that. I meant “B-E-A-C-O-N, enjoy your snack by the way!” So, I, of course, was left with Google and I was actually pretty much amazed to know what all can a Beacon (a small device that works on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and has the capability to interact with applications on mobile devices) actually do for you.
Well, Beacons have actually been creating much buzz over the internet because of their surprisingly versatile-utility; they are now used in various industries to build proximity based unique experiences for the users. Though, the verdict is not yet out, on about how much of an impact beacons will be able to make. But, they surely happen to hold an astounding potential in building some very personalized experiences for the end users especially in the indoor retail segment. Did you still not get it what I'm really trying to talk about? Here, watch this explanatory video.
So, did that arouse your interest? If yes, then come let’s go into details, and understand how Beacons do it- they 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. So far cool, right?
Taste some Beacon-facts now-
High Battery Life- Yes, they happen to have high battery life and can last up to 2 years and even more.
Low Cost- They are low-cost devices, with the cost varying from 25 USD to 100 USD per piece.
Bluetooth Low Energy- They efficiently work on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which is an advanced Bluetooth technology.
Small Devices- They are small and thus can pretty much fit anywhere, ranging from 1-5 inches and come in many shapes, sizes, and battery lives.
Good Range- Beacons transmit small Bluetooth packets up to a range of 70-100 meters. Mobile devices with compatible apps pick up these packets and the apps, in turn, present contextual information to the users.
Manufacturers- Some of the prominent beacon manufacturers are Gimbal, Estimote, Kontakt, StickNFind, BKon, etc.
Compatibility- They are engineered to be compatible with iOS as well as Android devices. This lets brands build contextual experiences to run across mobile platforms and can be used by a large audience.
Easy Installation- They are easy to physically install anywhere. Beacons are generally small enough to be attached to a wall or a counter top.
And, here is why there has been so much hype-
The context that makes beacons so powerful, for brands as well as end users, is that with the emergence of mobile, as a primary channel for digital experiences, it becomes imperative for brands to connect with their on-the-go users. And, to not miss on cashing the opportunities, brands are interacting with their customers in varied environments like retail stores, sports venues, entertainment halls, concerts, events and much more. In order to deliver, a more enriching and above all a relevantly personalized experience to their customers, brands need to have the Context. Beacons help provide the proximity context of the user to the marketers. For example, through beacons, you can detect your customers as soon as they enter a retail store or when they are in a specific aisle in the store. With this context, you can build personalized experiences for your customers. That’s quite angelic of beacons, right?
These astounding capabilities and opportunities of building proximity based contextual experiences for customers make beacons a sure shot deal for brands. For, it shall most definitely, help brands engage with their customers in real time and at right time.