Most probably you have a smartphone, tablet or any other Internet-enabled devices that can support beacons. But before we proceed further it is important to understand what beacons are and how they function? In simpler terms, beacons are Bluetooth enabled devices that allow smartphones or tablets to determine their location. Sitting somewhere between NFC and GPS, beacons offer a good alternative to the problem of GPS not working indoors. However, it would be unfair to restrict these small but powerful devices to just about determining the location. Sophisticated beacons come with sensors which can provide information about a myriad number of things like humidity, temperature, magnetic detection, etc.
Beacons—how useful are they?
Beacons are useful devices that allow apps to do some smart things based on their location. For example, retailers can make use of beacons to determine the behavior pattern of their customers while they are present in their shop. It can enable the retailers to tailor their services and messages more in sync with their target audience. It leads to better engagement which ultimate results in better commercial gains.
Technical specificities of their working
Technically, beacons communicate with smartphones and related devices using Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE) communication technology. An earlier version of Bluetooth required you to pair your devices with other devices to receive or send messages, photos, videos, etc. BLE does away with it as it allows beacons to transmit a unique ID or web address repeatedly without pairing with a device it is trying to establish a connection. Like Bluetooth, BLE also works at short range with the distance varying between few feets to few meters. There are also some beacons available in the market that can efficiently work for a distance as long as 300 meters. You must be aware, though that the range of a beacon diminishes a bit when they are indoors.
iBeacon and Eddystone
Very much like any other technology, beacons also need a communication protocol to communicate with other devices efficiently. We often hear about some very important and common protocols like HTML, FTP, USB, etc. Similarly, there are two important protocols iBeacon and Eddystone developed by Apple and Google respectively. Apple came out with iBeacon in 2013 whereas Google released its own Bluetooth 4.0 broadcasting protocol in 2015.
Where to buy
You can buy a variety of these powerful communication devices online. Retailers can buy one based on their preferences to increase engagement with their customers and build customer loyalty. Individuals and small business owners can also buy Heatmapper online from Ekahau Site Survey store.