As a business owner or a marketer, you can kickstart your ibeacon-based proximity marketing infrastructure in a couple of ways：
Buy iBeacon compliant beacon hardware from a vendor
The beacon market is flooded with vendors selling iBeacon compliant beacons. Most of these vendors also provide a software to manage the fleet of beacons – monitor battery status, transmission range etc.
Once you buy these beacons, the next step is to build a platform that enables you to create campaigns, notifications and lets you assign them to the beacon. This obviously requires extensive development efforts. Given the resource limitations that most small and medium businesses have, this is not the most cost-effective way to set-up an iBeacon campaign.
Invest in an end-to-end beacon solution
Alternatively, investing in an end-to-end beacon solution that includes, hardware, an app to manage and monitor the hardware, platform to create campaigns and monitor the performance of the campaign, is much more cost-effective.
The average cost of an iBeacon compliant beacon is USD 10. The cost of iBeacon compliant beacons depends on the manufacturer, the transmission range (or the signal range) and the form factor of the beacon. If you choose to purchase beacons in bulk, the price significantly reduces.
On average iBeacon beacons transmit up to 50 meters or 164 feet. However, some forms of beacons, like long-range beacons transmit as far as 500 metres or 1640 feet. Depending on the use case, different beacons can be deployed.
Here’s a list of iBeacon compliant beacons with their corresponding transmission ranges and other deciding factors like battery life, recommended use cases and cost.
① iBeacon for iOS
On iOS devices, it is imperative that a relevant app is installed. This is the only way the iBeacon protocol can communicate with iOS devices. This app could be a brand app or a popular third-party app. If you want to run campaigns for iOS devices but do not have an app, consider using Nearbee, an app designed to broadcast proximity marketing notifications on iOS devices.
② iBeacon for Android
On Android devices too, a relevant app must be installed. However, using the Eddystone protocol (another beacon protocol that Minew supports) can allow notifications to be sent without an app. This is possible due to the Google Nearby.
Apple’s iBeacon technology enables beacons running on the iBeacon protocol to broadcast a serial ID number. This signal needs to be picked up by a relevant app on the phone. Without an app, it is not possible to have the smartphone scan for a signal. The standard iBeacon for BLE advertising contains 4 pieces of crucial information which is -
Unique Universal Identifier (UUID): This UUID tells you general information about the beacon such as who it belongs to or the name of the business that is using it.
Major: This conveys the beacon’s general location. For example, this beacon is located in the store#11.
Minor: This lets you know about the beacon’s detailed location. For example, this beacon is located in aisle 5.
Tx Power: This refers to the strength of the signal. This can be used to determine the proximity of devices from the beacon.
Proximity marketing is essentially a marketing strategy that entails sending hyper-local contextual information. Say, someone is passing by a car dealership and gets information about the recently revealed prices for a newly-launched luxury car brand via the iBeacon installed in the store. That is a classic example of proximity marketing. Proximity marketing using iBeacons can also be used to engage, drive more traffic, offer promotions and rewards and gamify the user experience.
① The customer enters the shop
② Her phone receive the signal
③ She receives the information on phone
④ Interact with the information or deal
⑤ The interaction generates data for analysis
Apple introduced the iBeacon protocol at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013. iBeacon opened doors to a host of opportunities for location-data and proximity marketing. This protocol enables seamless interactivity between iOS and Android devices, and an iBeacon hardware, such as BLE beacons.
iBeacon technology has been empowering businesses by letting them welcome customers, provide location-relevant information and promote ongoing offers. iBeacon compliant beacons allow smartphones to detect BLE signals and display the notifications and campaigns linked to them.
iBeacon and beacon are not the same things!
Although iBeacon and beacon are used interchangeably they are not at all the same thing. Beacons are physical devices that are powered by Bluetooth Low Energy technology whereas iBeacon is a protocol or a way to transmit data.
Yes! This is by virtue of the Google Nearby service that comes inbuilt with every Android phone above version 4.3. The Nearby service enables the Android phones to receive notifications without having to download any special app.
The entire Eddystone proximity ecosystem is called the Physical Web. It denotes the convergence of physical and digital worlds. Broadly speaking, Physical Web is the discovery service that enables beacons scan for the smartphones in their range.
To receive Physical Web notifications, the smartphones must have a Physical Web compatible app (or a browser or a service such as Nearby and CloseBy).
Google Chrome browser was a Physical Web browser until Google stopped supporting Physical Web on Chrome.