What is Beacon Technology and How Does it Work - Skywell Software

What is Beacon Technology and How Does it Work

What is Beacon Technology and How Does it Work
Ilya Dudkin
2019-04-04
how do beacons work

Modern technology has come so far that it can completely change the way we view a certain technology without altering the core premise. Let’s take a look at smartwatches. The first generation of smartwatches appeared as toys to most consumers, but as technology advanced, the newest generation of smartwatches from companies such as Apple can give technologies such as chronometers, barometers and other devices a run for their money.    

Beacons are just as old as chronometers. The beacons of today may serve the functions as the ones long ago, but they are much smarter and capable of much more. Before we get into all the details, let’s first find out what beacons are.   

What is Beacon Technology?    

A beacon is a small box about the size of your router at home that sends encoded messages to user devices through Bluetooth if they are close enough to it. The beacons of old used light signals to send messages regarding location, but the newest generation of beacons uses Bluetooth. This gives marketers a lot of insights into the shopping habits of their customers and lets user receive more customized alerts regarding deals in the vicinity if they would like to get such messages. Basically, these devices significantly improve location-based searches for the consumer and provide data on customer activity to advertisers. It is a win-win for both. 

How do Beacons Work?   

Imagine you have a beacon located inside your store. This beacon will transmit a message to the user’s phone which they will be able to view only through a mobile app. The beacon industry refers to such apps as iBeacons or Eddystone apps depending on the operating system that you have. For iPhone users, you will need at least iOS 7 and higher for your device to support such technology. Android users will need at least Android 4 for Eddystone apps to work on their phones.   

Interestingly enough, the app does not even have to be open for your phone to receive this signal. This may sound eerily similar to RFID technology which many users do not like using because it has been linked to identity theft and other violations, but beacons are different. The beacon will only work if the app that can receive the signal is installed on your phone and you can opt out of receiving messages altogether.   

beacon technologies

Types of Beacon Technologies   

Ever since Apple unveiled the iBeacon in 2013 app development frameworks started to account for this newly appeared technology as an increasing amount of beacon devices were being created. Nowadays, there are many types of beacons which are defined by the size, battery capacity and their reaction to exogenous elements:   

  • Basic beacons – These beacons will be about the same size as a Wi-Fi router
  • Small beacons – These beacons will be small enough to fit in your pocket, but just as effective
  • USB beacons – Compact and easy to deploy
  • Parent beacons – Track and gather information about other beacons
  • Special beacons – These devices will not be affected by external conditions such as water, dust, antistatic and any other exogenous elements.     

Benefits of Beacon Technology

Beacons offer many benefits and business everywhere will be able to reap many new advantages with all the information about their customers that will be stored inside the beacons. Mobile applications development services are constantly perfecting the technology in order to make them more accurate and unlock the hidden potential of beacons. Marketers can take advantage of beacons in order to obtain a treasure trove of information. For example, if you connect the beacon signals to your Google Ads account, it will give a lot of information into your searcher’s offline activity and it might even allow you to track in-store visits. If you show the user’s ads after a Google search, it could give you the possibility to attribute how many online visitors actually came into your store. Nowadays such information is more important than ever given how much money companies spend on digital advertising.    

It also gives you the ability to collect more accurate data in terms of how customers move about your store. Such information can be very useful for adapting or optimizing the layout of your store and the product listings. For example, if the data shows that users are flocking to your home décor goods, then you can use the data obtained from the device to order more of the same or similar goods. Or you may consider moving around all of the various departments of your store so that the most popular goods will be more readily available and easily seen by consumers.   

what is beacon technology

We hope that all the information about how does beacon technology work will help you decide whether it will be of use for your business. This technology is relatively new, but given all of the advantages that it offers, it could become mainstream since it gives businesses insights into customer behavior that would otherwise be impossible to get. Finding out how to use a beacon is only half the battle. The other half is using the information obtained, analyzing it to gain a better understanding of your audience and use it to support or augment your current marketing efforts in order to boost sales.