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Understanding iBeacon & its Key Benefits for Businesses

by appstudio January 21, 2020 Time to Read Blog: 6 minutes

It is a technology used by Apple to position people or objects indoors. It is a wireless technology that makes use of Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE, this new version of Bluetooth, has many improvements but the most important is surely the best battery management, so it requires minimum consumption of our device.

One of the objectives of this technology is to send very specific information to the user depending on their location, unlike GPS, this technology works in enclosed spaces and with very good accuracy. Its radius of action can reach from 1m to 50m. It is not a substitute for the NFC since the NFC is designed for much shorter distances since it has a range of about 4cm.

At the moment one of the most used applications for iBeacon is to detect users in specific locations, such as when we approach our favorite cafeteria, we can receive a message asking if we want to order our favorite coffee before entering the door, or perhaps receive a promotion for the sale of televisions if we are long-standing in the television section of a department store.

We have to take into account why an iBeacon only communicates with a certain application, so we will only receive a notification if we have downloaded that application and have allowed it to locate us, we will not receive iBeacon indiscriminately but only from applications at that, we allow them to access our location.

The iBeacon is compatible with devices that have iOS version 7 or higher installed, and have Bluetooth 4.0 support.

Functioning

Already there are on the market dedicated iBeacon emitters quite economical and of small dimensions, some of the sizes of a coin, these have a small battery, which allows them to operate for more than a year without problems emitting a low-intensity Bluetooth signal. They are very economical and allow us to install them anywhere or establishment easily.

The iBeacon technology is also compatible with Android since there are already some libraries to be able to communicate with the iBeacon protocol, just like iOS it is necessary that the device supports Bluetooth 4.0.

One of the most surprising features is that any compatible iOS or Android terminal can exercise both as a transmitter and as an iBeacon receiver, so this technology can be applied in very varied applications and not only applications where dedicated transmitters are used.

The communication process of the iBeacon is quite simple, it is based on a UUID identifier (universally unique identifier), and the Minor and Major values. The UUID is the main identifier and basically, it is a unique string of characters that the sender emits, and the receivers listen.

For example, in a normal scenario, a supermarket chain wants to install this technology to send offers to its customers when they are close, all iBeacon of all its stores will use the same UUID, to identify what store it is, the Major value will be used and to identify In which section or department is the user the Minor value.

So with these three values, we can locate our client quite accurately.

Operating Modes

The functions that we can use with our devices are Advertising, Monitoring or Ranging. The Advertising function makes our device act as a current iBeacon transmitter, creating an iBeacon region and assigning a UUID and a name to it. The Monitoring function allows us to listen to iBeacon and receive a notification when the device enters or leaves a given region. And finally, the Ranging option allows us to estimate in the best way the distance that is the iBeacon of our device.

Advertising

To start broadcasting we need to create a region and assign the UUID values, an identifier and optionally the Major and Minor values.

Once the region is created, we can optionally set the energy emitted by that device, to better approximate the distance. In our case, we will leave it void.

And finally, we will activate the option to start our iBeacon. The self-peripheral Manager object is an object of the CB-Peripheral Manager class, which is responsible for managing the Bluetooth of the device.

Monitoring

To start receiving notifications when detecting or stop detecting an iBeacon, as before we must create an iBeacon region. This time, to detect all iBeacon with the same UUID, we will not specify either major or minor.

The self.locationManager object belongs to the CLLocationManager class, which is responsible for using our location, so it will be necessary for the user to give us permission to use it before.

Ranking

And finally, there is the Ranging function, through which we can always know our distance to the iBeacon. As before we will first need to create the region we want to use.

And then simply activate the Ranging option, to start receiving this information.

[self.locationManagerstartRangingBeaconsInRegion: region];

The information of the three modes is received by registering the corresponding delegate, for the issuer function to the CBPeripheralManagerDelegate and to the CLLocationManageDelegate delegate for the Monitoring and Ranging part.

The iBeacon technology emerged just two years ago and is currently still in beta for many companies. Those who have introduced it to their lives have managed to take advantage of it very well, but unfortunately, other companies still do not know it and they are losing certain benefits that they would surely appreciate having.

Due to its enormous marketing potential, iBeacon is a tool capable of capturing and increasing customer loyalty and perhaps it is time to make it more known so that any company (preferably physical) can use it. Without a doubt, Mobile Marketing is evolving very fast and this technology joins many others that are building a gold mine in Digital Marketing for companies.

Benefits of iBeacon for your Company

Custom Messages

Through iBeacon technology, any business or brand can know when a user is active and in a specific place, so that a message adapted to the client’s possible needs can be sent. For example, in a shopping center, if we place the “beacons” of iBeacon at the entrances to the center, we can welcome the customer once the signal is detected for the first time, being able to offer information about the stores and businesses of the mall, in the form of offers or usage information for the consumer.

APP Download

The user who passes between the “beacons” of the iBeacon, can receive a message informing of the advantages that it can have if the APP of the business or establishment is downloaded, with the aim that it can later know the brand more and take advantage of the personalized offer to be shown.

Get ahead of Consumer Needs

With the technology offered by iBeacon, messages can be sent to the user as soon as they enter a physical place, so if this customer has a need, send a message with a link to all available information or possible answers (FAQs) can Serve you a lot so that as soon as you enter the business you know the location, the price, the offers and the availability of the products or services.

Create a much more segmented database

In the event that you have an online store and a physical store, taking advantage of the iBeacon technology you can increase the records of the database, segmenting those users who have visited the physical store, and can then send them a message thanking them and inviting them to visit the website.

The best success stories for Companies and good uses of iBeacon

iBeacon’s that guide the blind in the London Underground

To facilitate access for the blind, the London City Council, together with the company Ustwo, created a system of beacons, Wayfindr, located throughout the stretch of access to subway trains, which verbally warned blind people every time they passed through a beacon until they reached the train car.

Carrefour tested Bacon technology in 28 hypermarkets in Romania

The supermarket chain installed approximately 600 beacons in 28 supermarkets, 20 for each one, by the company Onyx Beacon, in order to guide customers through the store, offering personalized promotions, via users’ smartphones or Samsung’s own tablet that is built into cars.

With this technology, users can save their shopping list, so as not to waste time on the next purchase, and go directly to what they are looking for or interested in the next purchases.

Master Card pioneered iBeacon technology at a music festival

Together with the company R / GA, festival organizers wanted to test the use and interaction of users with iBeacon technology, measuring the number of downloads of the festival APP and especially, offering users more detailed information in time real.

In this way, Master Card managed to reach users at the time they can use their cards, without being intrusive and offering what they need.

Google tests payment transactions with Beacon Technology

Google announced in April of this year that it was going to carry out several tests whose objective was to improve the payment methods, facilitating the user’s methods. Therefore, they created a mobile application that benefited from the advantages of Beacon technology, in order to be able to make payments using the “hands-free” option.

Today, this form of payment is being tested and it seems that usage data is increasing more and more, so it is not surprising that soon we can pay using iBeacon technology and our smartphones.

This kind of tool in the mobile sector is a clear picture of how companies can benefit from the introduction to the mobile market. If you have a business, or work for a company and want to offer them an extra income and dissemination channel, do contact us!

appstudio

Appstudio is a full service Mobile App Design & Development Company offering services in Native iOS Development (Swift 5.1), Native Android Development (Java and Kotlin), React Native Development & Unity Game Development. They have collaborated with Fortune 500 companies, Startups and Mid Sized firms across a spectrum of industries, ranging from Health Care & Finance to On-Demand Services, to create Mobile apps that are actively being used by Millions of users across the globe.

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