First introduced by Apple in 2013, Beacon technology is a small Bluetooth device that can send notifications to smartphones based on location and proximity. It can be used to send customers when they are in store, beacon warnings as well as warnings for certain products in a store- store.
Within the delivery industry, for some packages, off-the-shelf bluetooth beacons are insufficient and a tailor-made high-tech solution is needed. An interesting development from UPS has come out to address problems that arise when workers accidentally load the wrong package in the wrong vehicle. UPS’s new initiative is called SmartScan, and uses a suite of packaging and processing operations to ensure greater operational accuracy in terms of package accuracy – making sure the right packages go on the right truck at the right time to prevent delays.. To address this challenge,UPS worked with a supplier to create a custom beacon so that the delivery vehicles which are parked very close to each other – as challenges arise with bluetooth beacons interfering with one another.
BLE is on the verge of mass rollout and many technology, service and product companies, including UPS, have already begun implementing the new Bluetooth standard. The beacons can be configured to match the exact dimensions of the package and the car.
The most revolutionary aspect of the beacons is that they can create a new way of talking to each other through contextual intelligence. This allows enormous amounts of data about the actions of the user to be recorded and the data to be placed in context at the same time.
Beacons can collect customer data to help create a better, more personalized experience and gain additional insights into customer behavior.
For example, video beacons can be used to provide context information and navigate hotels and resorts. Granted, hotels and resorts are not in major use at the time of authoring this blog post, but there are other facilities, such as high traffic hospital environments, which now and in the near future may be in greater use, and these applications can crossover. When it comes to showcasing high-quality beacon technology, a video beacon, such as an Estimote Mirror beacon,for example, might be the right thing to do. The Estimote Mirror Beacon plugs into a screen’s HDMI port, and communicates video imagery depending upon what other beacons are communicating or moving around it within an environment. Another example would be RedBull’s beacon stickers, which were essentially small, personalized beacons given to attendees at a sporting event, and are used to sense the movement of a crowd. Whereas this type of use in the recent past may have been geared toward large events, in our current context this may mean that beacons could hypothetically be used to help encourage or ensure social distancing in public environments.
Beacons also have navigational uses – beacons can provide users with in-store maps to help them find the products they are looking for. Customers can install a mobile app to connect the beacon technology to their devices. Whereas in the past beacons may have been seen as a novelty, with the need for social distancing, the need to quickly and efficiently move customers throughout a store has increased as opposed to previous times.
Beacon technology can be an incredibly effective way to create a coherent online and in-store experience. Businesses and consumers around the world have rapidly adopted beacon technology as an important aspect of the Internet of Things (IoT). With their fast-growing adoption, open source beacon registers are a key element in advancing the functionality of beacons in the IoT landscape.
Beacons are reliable devices and can be accessed by virtually anyone and anywhere, and their signals are not blocked by thick walls or underground areas. Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which sends the same signal as other devices, but the way the information is received and displayed to the user varies depending on whether or not the beacon is used for transmission to another device. All modern smartphones support beacon technology and users need iOS 7 or Android 4.0 or higher on their devices. The beacon will use Bluetooth and is therefore compatible with any modern smartphone that supports it.
When beacons emerged in the first years of 2013, the beacon, a beacon with a positioning sensor, a GPS and a radio frequency signal, was a typical beacon. Apple has introduced beacon technology as we know it today that has its own communication standard. The majority of the offerings of Beacon technologies have appeared in recent years and make it possible to integrate Beacon solutions into existing applications.
Beacons are easy to operate, have a low price and, on top of that, offer the possibility of communicating with the customer more efficiently and efficiently than conventional radio frequency signals.
While our current environment does not involve crowds, events and large gatherings, beacon technology had received wide adoption in recent years, including such wide application spaces as Major League Baseball in various stadiums to inform baseball fans about the start and end times of games and other important events in the game. Beacons bridge the digital and physical worlds through the use of mobile billboards, mobile apps and social media such as Twitter. In our newer age, it is important to review some of these recent past applications in order to innovate and re-contextualize how beacons may used in our new normal. Can beacons be used for better contextual environmental messaging? Can beacons be used to help make deliveries and logistics easier and faster in ways we had not previously thought, given the extreme rise in home delivery?
Beacons are also used to alert passers-by to offers to lure people into their shops. This is certainly a noble technology application in recent times, given that shops around the world have been shut down, and will likely continue to be shut down on various occasions off and on as the pandemic progresses. Helping passing customers understand capacity information, safety information, and pricing could mean the difference between revenue and no revenue for certain types of high foot traffic stores. Ultimately, beacon technology is able to motivate customers to make purchases and visit stores they would otherwise have missed. If we think of beacons as modern day, “mini” lighthouses, helping to keep people safe it may make more sense to enable them to reach as many people as possible in both the physical and digital world.