Those days are gone when mobile users could only think of Google map or device location sensors as the only outcome of geolocation technology. Now, almost everything on the web and mobile interface comes with a geolocation tag. Location information is intrinsic to our perception of the world around us. For some time, a few advanced geolocation-based technologies are continuing to make the user experience of mobile apps richer and better. iBeacon is one of them.
Thanks to iBeacon mobile retail stores now can be more apt to stay connected and push messages more contextually to their users. Thanks to iBeacon security arrangements in venues and major establishments only got better. Naturally, an increasing number of mobile apps are utilizing iBeacon to make their respective user experience better. But, you need to have a solid understanding of how iBeacon works before considering an iBeacon app development.
What Is IBeacon?
iBeacon is a location tracking protocol first developed and introduced by Apple in the 2013 chapter of Apple Developers. A beacon or tiny signal broadcaster device is at the heart of this technology. The tiny button-shaped Beacons are Bluetooth enabled to send and receive signals with mobile devices coming within its signal range. This allows the beacon devices of a retail store or a business establishment to be notified of the proximity of their customers. In effect whenever a customer or target individual comes within the signal range of the beacon he gets a notification. This notification can be an alert of a nearby store or a special offer to lure him to make a visit. Such location tracking with beacon is also being used by security agencies in sensitive venues.
BLE, The Core Of IBeacon
Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE is the core signaling mechanism that makes iBeacon possible. It has the same capability as traditional Bluetooth to transmit data within a short distance but it consumes less energy and hence is cost-saving.
- It is least energy consumption compared to traditional Bluetooth. With just a single cell battery it can last for almost 3 years.
- BLE is highly cost competitive and offers at least a 60% cost advantage compared to traditional Bluetooth.
- For small packets of periodic data transfer, it comes as an ideal solution.
How IBeacon Works?
A beacon consists of mainly two parts, respectively a broadcaster and a receiver. While the broadcaster in the form of a tiny beacon device is static and announces its location and respective identity, the receiver mobile device only gets notified of this announcement when it comes closer to or within the signal range of that beacon device. There are only two conditions for the iBeacon to connect a device. First of all, the user needs to have installed the same app to be considered as the target user by the broadcaster beacon, and secondly, the user must keep the app notification on to receive notifications.
IBeacon In Mobile App Development
As developed by Apple, iBeacon initially was limited to iOS apps. But with an increasing number of mobile app development companies across the platforms actively utilizing this, soon Android followed by Windows became compatible with iBeacon. At present, a vast array of iOS and Android apps utilize iBeacon as an active feature. Some of the key niches that have found iBeacon extremely beneficial for their business as well as customers include the following.
Shopping and retail: iBeacon changed the in-shop experience to a great extent. By tracking the proximity of buyers now retailers can lure them with promotional offers meant for them.
Security measures: With iBeacon in place certain event venues can restrict entry and exit of attendees and thus make the security arrangements better.
Automobile: With iBeacon installed a car system can easily wake up and unlock the doors as and when the owner comes close.
Classrooms and institutions: iBeacon can be creatively used in classroom education and in institutions to monitor student activities.
Travel Apps: Travel apps can make use of iBeacon in conjunction with airlines, airports, hotels, tourist sights, and restaurants to promote services and make offers based on the user's location and proximity.
In all regards, iBeacon is a revolutionary technology that is continuing to create user experiences better across diverse app niches. From a business point of view, it is helping businesses to drive more personalisation with a contextual address for its customers. It is helping businesses to achieve their ultimate objective of driving sales and gaining revenue.