As drones are making their way from dropping bombs in warzones to friendly doorstep delivery of online bought goods; technology seems to be donning newer avatars which are progressive in nature. However, we are not talking about drones here I will wait for them to fly out of controversies; it is Beacons that I am more interested in as of now.
In my last blog we discussed about, what Beacons are exactly and which other sectors are they benefitting, apart from retail? This blog is all about the progresses that have taken place in the Beacon tech sector recently. Needless to say that the evolvement has been really impressive giving a clear indication that in the coming days, Beacons will prove to be game changer in the tech competition.
And in these few months I have noticed that beacons are evolving as an easily adaptable technology. Different manufacturers of this gadget are experimenting to come up with more innovative ways of putting Beacons to effective use. It won’t be long before this device will become a part of our personal necessities; it already has to a certain extent.
From the regular updates I have gathered that the competition is high amongst the Beacon manufacturers and each is trying to outdo the other with every new launch. Well, it is obviously fair in our world; because that is your only chance of survival.
Stay innovative to stay in the competition!
Here are accounts of some interesting recent developments that have taken place in the Beacon industry:
1. Estimote’s Beacon Stickers (Nearables)
Estimote is indeed trying to keep it minimal while increasing efficacy; at least so it seems from the ‘Nearable’ introduced by this leading Beacon maker. These Nearables or Beacon stickers are almost similar to their real equivalents in appearance; the only difference being their thickness which is 3mm. Now that is shockingly thin!
Well there’s more, they have also added an accelerometer, optimized ARM Processor with Flash Memory and temperature sensors along with Bluetooth radios. So now you can easily stick a Nearable to your shoes or bicycle and find out how many calories you burnt or distance you covered running or walking.
When we already have something similar why launch a duplicate version? If that’s the question on your mind; then think about it this way, you will not have to be dependent on the UUID (Universally Unique Identifiers) with this new device. The imminent SDK for the Nearables will have a higher level of intellection, to make the Estimote Stickers more object specific. For instance, there will be different trigger actions based on the type of object category and motions your Nearable is aligned with.
2. Beacons Compatible with Wearables
PayPal’s ‘Wearable Wallet’ is amongst one of the concepts attuned with the Wearable technology and there are similar ones on the cards. As the world is going gaga over Smartwatch and eagerly waiting for the launch of iWatch there will soon arise the inevitable need for Beacon tech, which will be in sync with these technologies. Additionally, as users will get used to the wrist gadgets it will turn friendlier when they will have all the information right in front of them without taking the hassles of opening an app and/or searching for relevant offers.
However, I am not very comfortable with the idea of having this technology in my eye-glasses. Well that is a personal uneasiness though! There are many who like the idea of having all the significant information right in front of their eyes as they enter any store.
3. Optional Bluetooth Usage with Cloud Beacon
Now that is a real awaited progress in the Beacon arena. It should be simply about receiving data but also sending some not to forget the storage needs. Kontakt.io introduced the Cloud Beacon to take this technical knowledge a step higher. You can easily collect data of people who have Wi-Fi turned on in their devices and are walking within the range of your monitored Beacon locations; even with your Bluetooth off.
The Cloud Beacon technology helps manage your entire Bluetooth Beacon fleet too. Simply install a Cloud Beacon amongst your other Beacons such that they fall within its range, which is quite high 650 feet and it can access all the details from other Beacons even with the Bluetooth turned off. Organizing all your updates and similar information stored in your Beacons is a matter of few minutes.
In order to get a more detailed insight into your customer behaviour, Cloud Beacon allows you to collect their Media Access Control or MAC address. This is a unique identifier for physical network on network interfaces, allowing you to understand their preferences and related requirements.
So you now have a more intelligent tool for monitoring your user behaviour and accordingly putting forward choices for them.
4. Smarter Bluetooth iBeacons
If they started with using beacons to aid blind travellers in San Francisco airport; they have certainly ensured that, this technique can be effectually used in easing the life of customers even further. For instance the service sector where you have to wait for an attendant to come and take your orders or the delays caused due to bill payments can now be avoided.
At this year’s TechCrunch hackathon, we saw some really innovative brains at work. One of which was the display of using the BLE device smartly in restaurants, whereby both the job of the waiter and making payment for the customer gets easier. Ray Ho and Mark Watson the two brains who presented this concept displayed, how by simply placing a beacon at every table in the restaurant and linking it with an app in this case Clover, a pre-integrated point of sale solution, one can manage so many things. Beginning with the tables’ possession, to taking orders and even paying bills it will all be managed with the aid of BLE technique. Furthermore, it will also help the backend team to learn more about your meal and cuisine preferences to make your future visit even more enjoyable.
5. Battery-less Beacon by Ifinity (AirBeacon)
It’s pretty much clear that in the coming days we will be able to turn the Beacon technology into an absolutely customizable concept. But have you wondered how this technology can be made more efficient in terms of its make? Well, Ifinity gave it a thought and soon they will be launching AirBeacon; a battery-less beacon device. The pre-order procedure has already begun, which is a sign that customers have been looking for this sort of development.
This concept is to charge the Beacon batteries through low current electromagnetic waves. By placing a peripheral gadget such as a router which will emit EM waves; the surrounding Beacons will stay charged without requiring any batteries. Besides its thinner so you can put it at tricky places too.
The Bluetooth Low Energy Device had set out on a journey which it has covered at a faster pace than anticipated. The marvellous changes and the speediness with which we have seen it take newer strides is a sign that the future of Beacon technology is bright. The more it shakes hands with the latest techs in the market the easier its way will get.
The biggest transformation I felt it took was moving from BLE to Cloud and going battery-less. Since the set-up doesn’t ask for a lot of investment and there is hardly any need for the user to get himself trained to operate the technology, it has easily been able to get considerable followers for itself. As I already discussed in my last blog about the detection challenges in the initial versions of the device; I can see that the developments have been quick and certainly these issues are sorted.
What I have personally found in this technology is the proficiency of using minimalist requirements for providing superior solutions. Moreover as mentioned before, the adaptability of Beacon has made it a compatible partner for different technological developments, whether it is Clouds or Wearables. And it is proven only the versatile make a place for themselves in the fast moving tech world.