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10 Things you didn't know About BLE Beacons

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Feb 28, 2024
  • RFID
10 Things you didn

" BLE beacons with their periodic advertisement, indoor navigation, localization, asset tracking, and sensing applications have transformed various industries."

Imagine walking into an event and you instantly get various information related to that event directly into your smartphone. Be it registration, event schedules, ticketing, access as well as navigation, with BLE beacons, an IoT smart device, it is now possible to streamline various such tasks and elevate the user experience at any event, concert, airport, or even a shopping center. 

The BLE Beacon-based proximity marketing has transformed how stores and retail enterprises connect with walk-in shoppers and push related promotions, and notifications directly to customers’ smartphones. Marketers are now leveraging BLE beacons to plan and execute more personalized, successful promotional campaigns with these small smart IoT beacons with large coverage areas and high efficiency. Global tech giants like Google and Apple have launched their version of BLE protocols namely  Eddystone and beacon, allowing users to benefit from BLE beacon technology, with seamless smartphone and wearable device connectivity.

10 Things you didn’t know about BLE Beacons

BLE Beacons periodically advertise Bluetooth signals that may be detected by smartphones and other BLE-enabled devices in close vicinity. When a device comes within range of a beacon, it receives the beacon's signal and can take action based on predetermined triggers. These triggers can involve displaying messages, activating programs, or collecting data from the beacon. The beacon does not gather data; rather, it operates as a transmitter, transmitting a unique identification that adjacent devices can recognize. 

Apps placed on users' smartphones can listen to these signals and respond appropriately, such as delivering location-based information, sending targeted alerts, or carrying out check-in operations. In addition, the applications' data can be transferred to cloud servers for processing and analysis. It allows organizations to get insights into user behavior, track interactions with beacon-equipped sites, and tailor experiences to users depending on their proximity to beacons. The read range of BLE beacons generally spans from a few meters to around 100 meters, depending on signal intensity, ambient conditions, and interference. 

Here are ten little-known facts concerning BLE beacon technology:

1. Beacons are used for proximity marketing

Very few people know that Bluetooth 5.4 specification, which was recently launched, allows for bidirectional PAwR (Periodic Advertisement with Response), a feature that makes BLE beacons the go-to option in localization and location-based periodic advertisements.  

Proximity marketing using beacon networks, gateways, and smartphone applications is growing in popularity among tech-savvy millennials. A nearby beacon can display contextually appropriate beacon messages on the customer's screen, which he can engage with to unlock offers, obtain discounts, or receive a recommendation. Because the alerts are contextually relevant, they have a higher click-through and conversion rate than other forms of advertising such as email and SMS.

1. BLE beacons improve passenger experiences at airports by delivering real-time flight updates, gate information, and navigation help. 

2. Retailers use beacon technology to transmit location-based discounts, promotions, and product suggestions to customers as they browse aisles or enter specific sections, resulting in increased foot traffic and sales. 

3. In the hospitality business, BLE beacons allow hotels to deliver personalized messages and offers to customers' cell phones, improving their stay experience by providing relevant information about facilities, services, and surrounding attractions. 

4. Museums and cultural organizations employ beacon technology to provide interactive tours, exhibit information, and multimedia material to visitors, therefore increasing their engagement and comprehension of exhibitions. 

2. BLE Beacon as a Sensor 

Did you know that BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons also act as sensors? 

We know that BLE beacon is great for proximity marketing and information sharing but sensing? Yes, BLE beacons can also work as sensors. Just as RFID sensor tags, these BLE beacon sensors are equipped with various kinds of temperature sensors, accelerometers, humidity sensors, toxic gas sensors, light, and sound sensors, etc. allowing for various finds of sensing applications in food retail, healthcare, manufacturing, mining, and other industries. 

With long-range data sharing and periodic broadcasting, BLE is great for sensing applications. 

3. BLE beacons work with both Android and iOS Platforms

BLE beacons are compatible with both Android and iOS, making them useful for location-based interactions and marketing. Eddystone, created by Google, and iBeacon, released by Apple, are two of the most extensively used BLE beacon protocols at present. Eddystone is an open-source protocol that enables BLE beacons to transmit a variety of data, including URLs, telemetry data, and app connections. iBeacon, on the other hand, is a proprietary protocol dedicated to Apple devices. It allows iOS apps to receive signals from nearby beacons and execute location-based activities.

4. It was Nokia that came up with the idea behind BLE

Did you know that BLE technology originated with Wibree, a technology developed by Nokia in the early 2000s? Originally called Wibree, it was eventually included in the Bluetooth standard as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with the introduction of Bluetooth version 4.0 in 2010. 

BLE was created to use minimum power while offering wireless communication to devices with low data throughput needs, such as sensors, wearables, and beacon devices. Since its inception, BLE has been extensively accepted across sectors due to its energy efficiency, low cost, and connectivity with smartphones and other devices, laying the groundwork for current beacon technology.

5. Beacons serve as an indoor navigation solution similar to GPS.

Beacons are a game-changing option for indoor navigation, providing a viable alternative to GPS technology in areas where satellite signals become blocked or unreliable. While GPS performs well outside, its signals struggle to penetrate buildings, resulting in mistakes and restrictions in indoor navigation. Beacons, on the other hand, serve as a beacon of hope for easy navigation in indoor environments. Organizations can create accurate and dependable indoor location systems by carefully installing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons throughout their buildings, venues, and facilities.

6. Beacons Support Secure Encryption

In addition to its adaptability and dependability, beacon technology prioritizes security with strong encryption techniques. The Bluetooth 5.4 specification features CCM encryption ( Counter with CBC-MAC ) block cipher mode. “It is used with a 128-bit block cipher such as AES to encrypt and authenticate messages. Authentication is achieved by including a calculated message authentication code (MAC) which the Bluetooth Core Specification calls a MIC (Message Integrity Check)” as per Bluetooth officials. 

With robust encryption in place, beacon broadcasts are protected from unauthorized access and data breaches, protecting the confidentiality and integrity of sent data. Beacon signals are encrypted using advanced encryption methods, preventing attackers from intercepting or interfering with them. The safety function is especially important in sensitive situations like healthcare facilities, where patient data privacy is essential, or in corporate settings, where secret information can be communicated via beacon-enabled programs.

7. BLE Beacons Streamline Warehouse Management 

Beacons play an important role in revolutionizing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), increasing efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in warehouse operations. By strategically installing beacons across warehouse facilities, firms may construct a network of accurate location tracking and inventory control. Beacons offer real-time asset tracking, allowing warehouse managers to follow the movement and status of inventory items with unprecedented precision. Its improved visibility enables more efficient inventory control, reducing stockouts, overstock situations, and human mistakes. Furthermore, beacon-enabled WMS can improve order pickup procedures by giving workers turn-by-turn navigation directions to find and retrieve products more effectively. Furthermore, beacons enable automated processes and job allocations, ensuring that resources are efficiently deployed and productivity is maximized.

8. Beacons simplify the process of event management

Beacons are transforming event management by providing a unified and engaging experience for both attendees and organizers. Beacons' capacity to broadcast signals to adjacent smartphones allows for exact position monitoring and personalized interaction within event locations. Organizers can carefully install beacons in important locations including entrances, session rooms, exhibitor booths, and refreshment areas to present participants with pertinent information, notifications, and special offers based on their proximity. Its customized communication promotes audience engagement, navigational efficiency, and overall event enjoyment. Furthermore, beacons make data collecting and analytics easier, allowing organizers to obtain insights into attendance behavior, traffic flow, and popular attractions, which can help with future event planning and optimization efforts.

9. Beacon Can Be Configured Remotely

One of the most impressive characteristics of beacons is their capacity to be adjusted remotely, which greatly increases their versatility and simplicity of maintenance. Businesses can make use of remote configuration features to change beacon parameters such as transmission power, advertising frequency, and content without having to physically access each beacon. Remote administration capability simplifies the deployment and maintenance processes, allowing enterprises to quickly grow beacon networks and react to changing demands and circumstances. The remote setup allows organizations to swiftly and smoothly execute changes, such as updating beacon firmware, fine-tuning beacon parameters, or releasing new content and promotions.

10. Beacons for Digital Payments? 

Beacons have developed effective tools for simplifying and optimizing payment procedures, providing a smoother and more efficient alternative to existing methods. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, beacons enable contactless payments, allowing consumers to complete purchases with a simple tap or wave of their smartphone. It eliminates the need for real currency or cards, eliminating friction and making the payment process faster and easier. Furthermore, beacons can enable location-based payments by automatically detecting a customer's proximity to a payment terminal and inviting them to authorize the transaction via a mobile application. The proximity-based technique improves security and decreases the risk of fraud because the transaction is initiated and authorized near the payment terminal.

To conclude, Beacon technology has transformed industries, giving conventional businesses a platform to protect their customers from internet attacks. For the first time, conventional stores can use the same sophisticated marketing tools as internet merchants.

Beacon technology simplifies the lives of both shop promoters and consumers, who now have access to more personalized offers than ever before and, of course, spend less time at the checkout. Beacons provide business owners and stakeholders with a new source of revenue as well as a higher return on marketing expenditure. Finally, beacons are low-power gadgets with a lower acquisition cost than other in-store marketing tools.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Feb 21, 2024

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