Bluetooth beacons, iBeacons, i-beacons or simply beacons are small Bluetooth Low Energy devices that send out a signal which can be received and processed by smartphones and tablets. The iBeacon specification is introduced by Apple, however Apple doesn't manufacture beacon hardware other than the iPhones, iPads and iPods which can receive the Bluetooth signal. There is a growing number of manufacturers who offer beacons in many shapes and colors. Usually the size of a box of matches and with a battery that lasts for months if not years.
When a phone comes in range of a beacon — and there's an app installed on the phone which listens to this specific beacon — the app can trigger a notification, show an image or open a web page. The app doesn't need to be opened in order to receive a notification, whenever a device comes in range of a beacon a notification can be triggered. On iOS this can be triggered even when the app is killed, on Android the app needs to be in the background.
The possibilities are many, however, there're a couple of rules and requirements.
As a response to Apple's iBeacons, Google proposed an open format for beacons named Eddystone. Eddystones are beacons which can – among other things – broadcast a URL. Smartphones can receive this URL and open it, somewhat similar as providing a QR code for a web link, only now the user can check which Eddystones are in reach by looking at his or her Eddystone stream. Google implemented this feature into the Google Chrome web browser for iOS and Android. You can allow the app to scan for Eddystones, so this features will be available from your homescreen.
With the mobile content builder integrated into our Proximity Platform you can easily create content for Eddystones and track their usage. And reach hundreds of millions of users.
Here you can find instructions on how to enable Eddystone on your iOS or Android device.
To develop and maintain an app for iOS and Android, quickly costs $20K a year. Furthermore, you also need a back end to manage you beacon campaigns, create associated content and collect analytics.
For a fraction of these cost, NowSquare offers a so called proximity marketing platform combined with a generic app. Any business can promote this app to their target audience and add beacons to their services. Whether it's for customer loyalty, hospitality, gamification or simply to add contextual information to objects. Our proximity platform has a powerful mobile site and landing page builder integrated. You can use those to create content which you can use for your beacon scenarios.
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