Tag Archives: Beacon

Lord of the Beacons: RECO Manager

Three hundred beacons for Miami the Magic City,

Seven hundred for New York the City that Never Sleeps,

Nine hundred for Los Angeles the City of Angels,

One device for the Manager on his comfortable chair

In the office of headquarter where the manager lie.

One device to rule them all, One device to find them,

One device to bring them all and in the cloud bind them

In the office of headquarter where the manager lie.”

 

-RECO Team Blog’s epigraph to “The Lord of the Beacons: RECO Manager”

RECO ManagerRECO Manager is an innovative beacon management product that connects and manages all the beacons in proximity. By installing RECO Manager with RECO Beacons, you can efficiently and remotely manage all your beacons around the world by accessing the web based RECO Cloud Console. You can also integrate the beacon management functions to your existing system with the RECO Cloud API. Pre-order RECO Manager to provide the best beacon experience to your customers.

RECO Manager pre-order started on January 29, 2015

Check out the RECO website RECO2.me for more information

Beacon, Four Things to Consider on MANAGEMENT

beacon infographic

While a Bluetooth beacon may seem like a fancy new technology, remember it is still a piece of hardware and requires a management plan just like any other hardware implementation. Here are four things you should consider about how you are going to manage your fleet of beacons.

 

1. How many beacons do you need?

A Bluetooth beacon can cover an area of up to 70 meters, but depending on the type of beacon service you are building and the information you want to send your customers, you may want to install multiple beacons covering smaller regions. For example, if your goal is to increase the number of walk-ins you get from potential customers passing by your store, one max range beacon on the door may do the job, but if you want to use micro-location marketing you might want minimum range beacons on every shelf. Finally, remember that each beacon can only send a single ID. While you can build instructions into your app to display new messages if a beacon has been in range for a specified amount of time (Need more help? Ask an associate.) or if it has come back within range again (Welcome back!), to send different messages for different micro-locations  (i.e. one message in the men’s department and another over in the women’s department) you will need multiple beacons sending different IDs.

 

2. Where will you place your beacons?

Beacon placement is a major consideration in efficiently achieving your goals with a beacon system. Ranging is critical–devices interact with a beacon the moment they come within range, so you want them to come in range right at the moment you want the message delivered. Design your system with this in mind, and don’t forget that beacons send out an omnidirectional signal–you need to locate them in the center of your targeted message-delivery zone or your design won’t work.

Second, many beacons are pretty and might be an interesting marketing gimmick in and of themselves, but don’t forget to consider structural interference and the possibility of theft when deciding where to place them.

Finally, maintenance considerations may also play a role in placement. Although most beacons have a lifespan greater than a year in general conditions, depending on service design and beacon signal configuration, it can shorten up to three or four months and needs to be changed freequently. In this case, using battery replaceable beacons and placing them so it can be easily accessible is prefered.

 

3. How will you update your beacon system?

If you are considering setting up a beacon system in multiple locations, it is very important to consider how you will roll out updates to each beacon in each location. When you want to simply change the information being sent, you can update the information from the app server very easily. However, if you want to make a change to the structure of your system, whether that be the transmit power of various beacons, the IDs they send, or how frequently they send out a signal, there are quite a few more considerations. Early-generation technology relied on individualized configuration with a smart device from within Bluetooth range and often required a trained technician. Therefore a designated team of beacon managers and on site manager training is needed, which can be costly if frequent beacon configuration change is required to provide the service you need.

 

4. How will you manage batteries?

Bluetooth beacons use Bluetooth LE, which consumes a fraction of the energy regular Bluetooth requires – but they will still run out of battery eventually, usually within a year or two. Therefore, you need to have a plan to check the remaining battery life and to change the batteries. If the beacons you selected do not allow you to change out their batteries, you will need to plan your replacement and reprogramming strategy as well. At the most basic level, this might mean regularly checking the battery level manually while on-site and within Bluetooth range, which all adds up to maintenance cost.

 

Related: What is a Bluetooth beacon?  Beacon, Five Things to Consider on STRATEGY

Beacon, Five Things to Consider on STRATEGY

Beacon, Five Things to Consider on STRATEGY

Bluetooth beacons can be implemented for both B2B and B2C with many possible scenarios, (see What is Possible with Beacons and Bluetooth LE: Dreams Beaconning Reality), but here we will discuss under B2C context.

Thinking about how you could use beacons to help your business? Here are five things you should consider when creating a strategy for your new beacon system.

 

  1. What are you going to use beacons for?

Beacons have many possible usage scenarios in different fields. Before starting your beacon system, you need to decide which ones you want to use Bluetooth beacons for. Here are some of possibilities.

  • Marketing: coupons, brand awareness, driving traffic into your store, etc
  • Information: product information, display information, directions, etc
  • Location data: customer location, in-store ad effectiveness, repeat customer information, purchase pattern, etc

 

  1. Are your target customers smartphone-friendly?

Be sure to consider whether your target customers are likely to have smartphones with Bluetooth 4.0 and whether their lifestyles involve close interactions with their smartphones. Remember, some older smartphones are not Bluetooth LE capable, and some demographics have not yet converted to smartphones even.

 

  1. What kind of information are you planning to deliver to your customers?

You can deliver more targeted information to your customers at better times and better locations with beacon systems. To fully utilize the benefits of this new technology, it is crucial to understand what types and form of information is most effective in accomplishing your goal, whether that be brand awareness, point-of-sale marketing, increasing foot traffic, customer engagement, or something else. The type of information you push such can be coupons, individually targeted brand information, or time specific offers and more. The information format can be simple text, images or even videos of ads or product reviews.

 

  1. How will you make sure it isn’t intrusive/frustrating for the customer?

To active smartphone users, push notifications are a very effective way (4 times higher open rate than email, email 23% push notification 90%, http://publ.com/blog/2014/09/29/e-mail-vs-sms-vs-push-notifications-which-is-more-effective) to send information, when they are used right. Therefore a beacon system is a very powerful tool and you need to be careful how you use it.  When used correctly, it can be very effective, but when used incorrectly, it can leave a bad impression of your brand in the customer’s mind – much more so than with other tools. Unwanted push notifications or pop-ups can easily be considered spam and actually drive customers away, while coupons and other beneficial things at the moment of decision can help you convert sales at a much higher rate.

 

  1. Is your beacon service aligned with your branding?

Branding 101, you want to shout out the same tone of voice as your brand. This is a new technology, but it also needs to be in the same line with your branding. Plan to give the whole brand experience seamlessly, matching your brand messaging. Think about the service design as well as the implementation.

 

Related: What is a Bluetooth beacon?

RECO was displayed in the Nordic booth at CES2015

RECO was displayed in the Nordic booth at CES2015

RECO at Nordic booth CES2015
RECO at Nordic booth CES2015

As a Bluetooth beacon manufactured with Nordic Semiconductor’s chipset, RECO was displayed at CES2015 to raise awareness about a company that will be at the forefront of the IoT revolution in the coming year. IoT was the biggest focus of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, as it will be in the general realm of technology, and we the RECO Team are glad that we can be a part of it.

What is Possible with Beacons and Bluetooth LE: Dreams Beaconning Reality

With a general understanding of Bluetooth Low Energy and beacons, (if you’re still in the dark, see our previous posts on Bluetooth LE and beacons) now you must be wondering how you can utilize this technology to develop new business opportunities or create unique customer experiences for your services. In order to do so, you must consider the different scenarios of integrating beacons and determine which scenario best suits your need. In this post, we will break down beacon user scenarios into three categories and give examples for you to use as a guideline in determining your own way of exploiting beacons.

Any service or solution using beacons will always have to consider two factors in structuring the user scenario: beacons and receivers. With this in mind, the three basic scenarios for beacons are:

  1. Beacons as a constant and receivers as a variable
  2. Beacons as a variable and receivers as a constant
  3. Beacons and receivers both as variables

To further explain the terminology used here to describe the different situations, beacons are device that send out a Bluetooth LE signal and receivers are devices that detect signals from beacons. Although any smart device like a smartphone or tablet can be used as a receiver, receivers do not necessarily have to be smart devices or even connected to a network, if you set them up planning for that.

To continue, a “constant” means a device that does not physically move to a different location during the entire duration of the service, and a “variable” means a device that is free to roam around as needed. For instance a beacon or a receiver attached to a wall is considered a “constant”, and any smartphone on the street can be considered a “variable”.

beacons are device that send out a Bluetooth LE signal and receivers are devices that detect signals from beacons

Scenario 1 is currently the most well known case of the three, since it is easily suited to a B2C context. The most common example would be a retail store push notification system, where retailers can push information to customers’ smartphones such as coupons, special offers, or product recommendations. Another example of scenario 1 is placing beacons in venues such as museums and galleries. By placing a beacon on each artifact, you can create an automated docent system where visitors receive additional information about each artifact as they approach it. The additional information can be in any form, from simple text and images to videos or even narration in different languages.

Scenario 2 is more challenging to develop as a service model and it is generally more suited to a B2B context. A simple application of scenario 2 would be a cargo tracking system. By attaching beacons to cargo container trucks and placing receivers at the docking sites, you can track the time and place each cargo is unloaded. A more complex version of this example would be attaching beacons to shopping carts in large grocery stores. By installing receivers on every aisle, you could track each shopper’s movement path and use this data to analyze customers’ shopping behaviors.

Scenario 3 is the most unique and creative scenario and has the most room to be explored. A great example of scenario 3 is the lost and found service model. By attaching a beacon to an object or even a person, such as a young child, you can track the whereabouts of the variable objects in proximity to your variable receiver, in this case your smartphones. When the variable beacon you registered is out of range of your smartphone you will be alerted via alarm, e-mail, or even a phone call. If another person is using the same lost and found service, and the lost beacon that is out of your receiver’s range comes into that person’s proximity, he or she can alert you the location so you can track back and find your beacon. This is a great service that can be very useful if it can scale up to provide enough geographic coverage.

Although we simplified the scenarios to consider just two factors, beacons and receivers, it is technically possible for receivers to act as beacons by changing the configuration, which can lead to more application possibilities. The user scenarios and service examples given in this post are just a glimpse of the potential that exists in the world of beacons and Bluetooth LE. However there are also limitations you must consider before jumping into developing services using beacons, and we will look more into those in our next post.

How Bluetooth beacons work?

In the previous post we explained that a beacon is not something totally new, but rather a “concept” that was present all along to communicate through one-way signalling. We also gave a detailed description of Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth beacon. Are you still a little confused after reading the previous posts or learning about the subjects from elsewhere?  Do we understand what they do and why they are a key technology in enabling the Internet of Things that will dominate the near future?

That’s ok, we aren’t used to thinking about one-way communication with smartphones. Let’s consider the lighthouse, another classic example of a beacon, as a metaphor to help us understand better.

Imagine you are on a ship, and suddenly in the distance you see the flash of a lighthouse, sending out a signal for anyone who is looking to see. You then consult your map, checking to see where the lighthouse is on the map and what the map says you should do next. Depending on your goal, you can do many different things with that information. Perhaps you steer around the rocky shore and safely into harbor, or continue on down the coast, or even realize you have been going the wrong direction and turn yourself around.

Now, did the lighthouse tell you what to do? Yes? No? Really think about it. The lighthouse acted as a landmark, but it was you (your knowledge) and the map that did all the work. All a lighthouse does is let you know which lighthouse it is and how far you are from that lighthouse.

Let’s apply this to Bluetooth beacon – the lighthouse being a beacon, you being your device (smartphone), and the map being the app server where the data is stored. As you navigate the stormy seas of the mall, for example, your phone is searching around to find a beacon – if you’ve enabled your bluetooth. When it sees the signal from a beacon, it knows how far the beacon is from the phone and the unique id of the beacon. Then any apps on your phone that work with beacons will send that ID to their app servers and get the designated data according to the unique id of the beacon.

Just like a lighthouse, a Bluetooth beacon doesn’t give your phone complicated data. All it does is send out a beacon signal with a unique id, which apps on your phone then use to get more information from their servers. Many of the benefits and unique abilities of Bluetooth beacons come from this comparative simplicity –but we will talk more about that in another post.

 

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What is a Bluetooth Beacon?

A Bluetooth beacon is a small device that sends a unique identifier to any Bluetooth device that enters its signal range. This ID is generally thought of as a “location”, and can be used by various apps and programs to initiate a number of processes, depending on what that ID has been coded to in the app or program.

Originally, according to Wikipedia, a beacon means “an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location”. Combined with indicators, it is used to deliver important information, such as to alert those nearby about an enemy attack, dangerous weather, or even the birth of a new prince. With Bluetooth Smart technology, beacons have become smarter than ever.

Now you maybe wondering what is the difference between iBeacon and any other kind of beacon. iBeacon is the trademark Apple uses to label approved devices operating under a narrow range of parameters, which are in fact only a subset of the actual capabilities of BLE and beacons. Can iBeacon work with Android? Yes, they can. All BLE beacons use the same technology, iBeacon just restrict you from using some of the parameters outlined in the BLE standard.

So how exactly do Bluetooth Beacons work? Let’s take a look at the following info-graphic.

How a beacon works

STEP 1 : Suppose a customer enters a shop carrying a smartphone with Bluetooth enabled and an app set to look for beacons.

STEP 2 : When that smartphone comes within range of a beacon, it gets the beacon signal (UUID, Major, and Minor), which the app then decides how to process. If it is required, the app will query the app server to see if the server holds any instructions with a matching signal. If the signal matches, those instructions are sent back to the smartphone.

STEP 3 : The smartphone will then follow that set of instructions, possibly displaying a certain image or a push notification.

Have you ever heard of Bluetooth Low Energy?

–Official but easy definition of Bluetooth LE

What is Bluetooth Low Energy? It is a low-energy communication protocol designed for point-to-multipoint communication of information micro-packets. Adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) as a component of Bluetooth 4.0, it is now marketed as Bluetooth Smart, primarily to be used with smart devices and wearables.

The Bluetooth 4.0 specification also includes the labels Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Smart Ready. Classic Bluetooth is the updated version of what was previously called Bluetooth 3.0. Bluetooth Smart Ready is a label for products like smartphones, laptops, and tablets (the hub devices in a Bluetooth connection) that have dual mode chips, which are compatible with both Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE. Bluetooth Smart is a label for products with single mode chips, which operate using only Bluetooth LE technology. In most cases these are beacons, peripherals, and wearables. This means computers, smartphones, and other control devices are generally able to ‘connect’ via both Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE, whereas peripherals and beacons are generally only able to connect via Bluetooth LE.

So what is the main difference between Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE? As you can guess from the name, Bluetooth LE uses significantly less energy compared to Classic. Classic Bluetooth has been developed towards faster connection speed for data exchange. It was originally advanced as a way to provide a secure, robust ‘paired’ connection between devices that could then recognize and self-connect with each other when they are in proximity.

Unlike Classic, Bluetooth LE took a different approach. Not only does Bluetooth LE send a shorter data packet, it also ‘sleeps’ much more, meaning it doesn’t send out signals as often as Classic – and it has greater flexibility in setting the interval between messages. Other power-saving mechanisms have been included which will allow people to enable Bluetooth on their smartphones without worrying so much about battery life.

Since the goal of Bluetooth LE is efficiency rather than speed, it sends data much slower and often much less frequently than Classic, which inherently takes less power. It is targeted at devices with low data transfer requirements, enabling much longer battery life in these devices than what was previously possible. BLE represents not so much an advance in technology as a technology going in a different direction.

 With a focus on being ‘smart’, as the marketing so aptly puts it, BLE has opened the door to many new technological possibilities. Using less energy not only made it more realistic for people to keep Bluetooth enabled on their phones, it also made it possible to put Bluetooth LE in small devices with miniature power sources. Efficient low-bandwidth long range signaling for Smart home devices is now possible as well. These advances are very important in making the Internet of Things a reality. Though Bluetooth LE has reduced data throughput, the tradeoff is worth it when you consider the possibilities it has opened to us. What will you do with Bluetooth LE?

Developing starts here : https://developer.bluetooth.org/DevelopmentResources/Pages/Getting-Started.aspx

 

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Welcome to RECO team blog

Hello and welcome to RECO team blog.

Since the announcement of iBeacon and the release of iOS 7 by Apple, Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) and beacon products has become one of the major issues of 2014 in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry. Potentials of integrating beacons to create unique value and customer experience are being explored continuously around the world.

However, we felt that although there is a lot of information on the web, most of it is difficult to understand without previous understanding of the technology. So we decided to open a blog to communicate to the newcomers and help them understand and utilize beacons easier. Also we want to share our insights on the industry and talk about the latest trends and news to the more knowledgeable audience.

Basically, this blog is for

  • anybody who is interested in and wants to better understand the technology
  • business managers seeking for inspirations and managerial tips on utilizing beacons for business opportunity
  • service and application developers trying to stay current and keep tabs on the latest news on IoT and beacon technology.

Some of the posts might be very tech heavy and difficult to understand but we will try to communicate it in a non-tech friendly manner for the beacon beginners and business managers.

Any feedback on our posts via comments, e-mail or SNS (Facebook and twitter) is welcomed. If you have any questions regarding beacon or IoT in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will try to get in touch as much as possible.

Thank you once again for visiting RECO team blog and please follow us on SNS for the latest posts.

 

RECO website :  https://reco2.me

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