What Is Beacon ?

What Is Beacon?

Beacons are small, wireless transmitters that use low-energy Bluetooth technology to send signals to other smart devices nearby. They are one of the latest developments in location technology and proximity marketing. Put simply, they connect and transmit information to smart devices making location-based searching and interaction easier and more accurate.

2.How Do Beacons Work?

The beacon device itself is incredibly simple. Each device contains a CPU, radio, and batteries, and it works by repeatedly broadcasting out an identifier. This identifier is picked up by your device, usually mobile, and marks out an important place in your environment.

The identifier is a unique ID number that your smartphone recognizes as unique to the beacon. Once connected, the beacon will carry out whatever function it has been programmed to perform. We will go into more detail later on some of the many functions beacons can carry out.

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3. Beacon Technology: A Timeline

Now that we’re clear on what beacon technology is and how it works, let’s take a look at when beacon technology was first developed and how it has been adopted around the globe.

10th June 2013: Apple introduces iBeacon as part of iOS 7 at World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2013).

1st September – 10th November 2013: Titan installs 500 beacons in Manhattan phone booths for “maintenance purposes.”

6th December 2013: Apple installs beacons in all 254 of their US shops to provide customers with in-store notifications about items, product reviews, and deals.

31st July 2014: Over 50 of the Top 100 US retailers test beacons in their shops.

12th August 2014: 3 UK stores trial beacon technology in their mannequins with the aim of providing prices and links to buying online to customers when they enter the beacon’s 50-meter range. Significantly, customers had to have an app downloaded to receive the beacon’s information. Customers were also tracked on how long they spent looking at an item and their method of purchase in order for the retailers to form a more accurate and personalized marketing strategy.

29th September 2014: The single largest application of beacon technology in retail to date occurs when Macy’s installs over 4,000 devices across their shops.

21st November 2014: Aruba Networks successfully implements “blue dot” indoor navigation using beacons. This offers a cheaper and lower maintenance alternative to Wi-Fi for indoor navigation.

Early 2015: Some of the largest and most downloaded apps, including Facebook and Shazam, begin integrating beacons into their functionality.

14th July 2015: Google launches Eddystone, a platform-agnostic competitor to Apple’s iBeacon. Eddystone is designed to provide location-based content to your smartphone. Being compatible across platforms, it aims to encourage developers to work with beacon technology.

Now, you are probably asking, what does this technology actually mean to me a marketer or local business owner? This next section will cover the benefits of beacon technology and just how these could improve your business.

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