Apple created the concept naming it iBeacons. However, the industry has adapted it dropping the initial ‘i’ and renaming it Beacons.
What we are discussing here represents a fine line between e-commerce and geolocation.
These are small devices, beacons, in English, which use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies and can send notifications (push messages) to any smartphone. But they are not geolocation systems as we know them. These small devices operate using the proximity of smartphones to transmit information. The main advantage this offers is that they do not need to be in a fixed point or to be static to be able to interact with the smartphone.
The use of Bluetooth Low Energy provides a much wider range than the NFC technology, for example. Thus, the optimal range in NFC is about 4 centimeters, while in BLE with the Beacons, the range can reach 50-70 meters, which makes it particularly attractive for some of the applications considered. Besides, the battery can last more than 3 years.
As we can figure out, their uses have great potential. But the truth is there are so many that we probably don’t know many of them yet. What is certain is that it will soon come the day when we walk down the street and start to get advertising on our mobile with offers and promotions from nearby establishments. One of the biggest beneficiaries will be the retail sector, affected by the unstoppable growth of ecommerce. Through this new technology we can receive specific offers from their stores, for example. However, its use can also be extended to museums, theme parks and even public administrations.
What do we need to have this service on our smartphone? Nothing. A while ago you could try this service through different apps. However, it is now a reality that many terminals include by default. In fact, in its iOS operating system version 7, Apple already had an integrated function that allows users to activate it so that their terminal starts reading beacons.
The fact that many terminals now include this functionality will contribute to its implementation and final consolidation. In addition, some payment platforms like Paypal have already adopted it. This is a clear indicator that it is a dominant technology that will not go unnoticed and will be stronger than, for example, QR codes.
It is a revolution that offers countless benefits to users, as it only requires users to get closer to these devices with their terminal to obtain the real-time information they can provide, as these devices have a high accuracy level.
So remember its name and what it is. We need to keep it in mind, because this new technology will revolutionize many concepts, even habits.
Finally, here are some links where you can find information on the use of beacons in different businesses: