Have you already heard of beacons? These sensors are a promising but still relatively unknown technology. Mobile usage is becoming more and more common in our daily lives. Whether you are in a store or a museum, there are new ways to interact with a visitor at a physical location. However, indoor spaces block cellular signals and prevent geolocation via GPS. That’s why Beacon technology offers a new field of possibilities.

What are Beacons?

The Beacon is a small physical box that uses the Bluetooth connection. It emits signals at regular intervals that are read directly by a smartphone or tablet when it arrives near the beacons. These devices can estimate the distance to the beacon by comparing the level of the signal they receive (RSSI) with a reference level.

Bitcoin, iBeacon, Beacon… (or Bacon)?

The Beacon shouldn’t be confused with Bitcoin, a system of virtual currency associated with the internet. And the iBeacon is a system of beacons produced specifically by Apple.

Advantages of Beacon technology

The good news is that these sensors are affordable. The price varies depending on their capabilities, but generally they’re €10-30 per beacon.

Using a Bluetooth connection provides them with real independence. As opposed to wi-fi, a beacon doesn’t need an internet connection. It also covers a broader range (up to 450 meters, depending on the model) than does NFC (Near Field Communication), which limits exchanges among peripheral devices at distances of 10 cm or less.

Another advantage is that a beacon consumes very little energy. It uses standard Bluetooth Low Energy, an efficient version of Bluetooth that allows devices to remain powered longer.

Limits of Beacon technology

The biggest drawbacks are the need to have Bluetooth activated on the target device, to have enabled geolocation services and to have accepted push notifications.

What Are Beacons?

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What Are Beacons?

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The Popularization of Beacons

The explosion has already begun: as of January 1, 2015, there were more than 250 players on the global beacon market and there would be 4 million beacons installed today.

Nevertheless, France is still reluctant to massively implement this technology. Why? Deployment costs that are still high, imposed by the dominant players in the market. PandaSuite is committed to the democratization of this technology to encourage the creation of applications based on the Beacon and the development of new uses.

Beacon Hardware

Kontakt, Estimote, Radbeacons… there are many Beacon manufacturers. The differences are mainly in terms of autonomy and reach of the beacons.

capteurs beacons

There are many standards for different platforms: Eddystone, AltBeacon and iBeacon. If you want to use beacons with PandaSuite, make sure that the Eddystone standard is installed as it offers the best cross-platform compatibility.

Use Cases

Apple was the first to deploy iBeacons in its stores.

Today, in retail shops, airports, museums and businesses, many brands today use this technology to offer their customers a personalized journey and an exclusive experience. Locate, transmit messages, send promotions, register… these tags allow all kinds of actions that could change our way of life.

Just for you

If you want to use the Beacon technology in your PandaSuite project contact us and get a discount on a Estimote Beacon pack!

Go Further

Now you’re a Beacon technology expert it’s time to practice. Here is an article about successful Beacon uses. If you want to try it on PandaSuite a tutorial is available on your Help Center. You will see how to use it like a boss. Have fun!