Are you looking for a pair of Nike shoes in some sports store? Nowadays, the stores are really tech-savvy offering an iOS app for sales and specials notification, and you receive the alerts, if you have installed it before shopping.
If so, your iPhone buzzes, the moment your eye catches the shoes of your choice. The app in the store pushes a notification on the display with info. Now, how did this happen, this happens due to the beacons.
A beacon is a device set with Bluetooth Low Energy. It broadcasts data to the nearby listening devices. These devices do not communicate with beacons to get data.
For instance, in the shoe store, the app was on your iPhone waiting for the store’s beacon to appear within range. Once it “hears” the store’s beacon, your iPhone wakes up your app to handle the task. Thus your app knows you are near the shoe display and it displays information about the shoes.
Earlier to beacons, the apps of the smartphone used geographical region monitoring to receive location awareness. The Geographical region monitors present a combo of GPS and Wi-Fi data determining a user’s location and then notifies an app as user enters or exits a region. This was referred to as geofencing. Regrettably geolocation fails to work in many situations, such as shopping malls, art galleries and also in the libraries.
How Beacons are useful
Beacons are used in various ways. They can be placed adjacent to a stationary spot or some item moving such as:
- A hardware store can place a beacon at each aisle end and help users in finding items that are in the nearby aisles.
- An art gallery beacons positioned at each exhibit provides information on specific pieces as the user walks to them.
- A food discovery app may monitor for iBeacons on food trucks moving around the city. When the user is close to a food truck with a daily special, the app tells the user about that day special.
iBeacons solve several problems using geographical region monitoring. Devices owing to the proximity to specific beacons are able to determine their location. In this way iBeacons have surpassed the GPS location and now it is not required.
iBeacons from Apple and Eddystone from Google have made a progress with beacons. Apple’s iBeacons is available to iPhones, while the Eddystone is available to Android phones as well. However, the Beacons is catching up and very soon it will be an integral part of your apps.