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Digital contextual marketing is a new subject for
many marketing professionals.
Mobile apps can feel complicated, beacon and
nearables might be unheard of terms not to even
mention concepts such as indoor positioning and
Bluetooth low-energy (BLE).
However, a concept that enables customers to
receive notifications, offers or functionalities based
on where they happen to be moving, sounds
interesting. Is it really possible?
It's time to set the facts about beacons straight.
1. What are beacons?
Beacons are small radio transmitters that
send out a signal at regular intervals. This
signal contains an individual beacon id.
Mobile apps can identify this small digital
beacon and figure out their distance to
that particular signal.
Beacons often contain other ”extra”
information that smartphones can query,
such as temperature or motion data.
2. How do they work?
Beacons use Bluetooth 4.0 –standard
low energy -technology (BLE), which only
uses a fraction of the energy of normal
Bluetooth signals, which gives the device
a much longer operating span.
Beacons are ”registered” to an app so
that the app will function in the required
way when it’s near that particular
beacon. To manage the beacons and the
app, Tietotalo has created the
Liki CMS -platform.
3. What data do they send or
By default beacons only send their
individual id data by which the
smartphone can determine its location.
In addition to the id data, beacons can
measure temperature and motion. The
mobile app can query this info from each
beacon in turn and it can then adapt its
The beacon doesn’t send out user data or
functions to the user. These are saved in
the mobile app and can be controlled in
platforms such as Liki CMS.
4. Which devices do they function
Technically all Bluetooth Smart compatible
devices can indentify beacon signals and
practically all newer smartphones already have
beacon support installed.
Supported platformrs are iOS, Android,
Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, OSX, Linux and
Windows 8. These platforms should preferably
also be updated to the latest versions.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has
predicted that 90% of smartphones will support
Bluetooth Smart –technology by the year 2018
5. What’s the difference
between beacons and
Beacons are larger and have larger
batteries. Nearable stickers are about the
size of a finger tip and have the same
properties that beacons.
Beacons are designed to be used in
locations such as museums, airports and
shopping centres, while stickers can be
attached to individual objects. By
attaching a sticker to a product, that
product becomes a nearable that can be
identifyed by a mobile device. The app
can now automatically give information or
discount offers relating to this product.
6. Do I need a mobile app to use
Yes. Becons and stickers only send out an id signal
which gives the mobile app information to interpret.
The mobile app decides which functions and content
these signals trigger. Liki combines the information
from the beacons and the control of the mobile app
into one user interface and enables the effective
management of these two.
Read more about Liki.
7. How long do the batteries
Beacons and stickers contain a single use
lithium battery that lasts about 1-3 years
depending on their configuration and usage.
Optimising the configuration can prolong the
battery usage to up to 4 years.
Beacons can also be built directly into the
infrastructure of a building where they can be
connected to the main power.
8. What’s their range?
The Bluetooth low energy signal the beacons
send out typically ranges to about 60-70m.
The range is effected by the position of the
beacon because the signal can bounce back
or be dispersed by obstacles in its
By adjusting their range the battery life can
be extended. Often the beacon doesn’t have
to be set to the maximum range.
9. What’s iBeacon?
iBeacon connects BLE-transmitters (beacons) and
their properties, development platforms and the
devices that receive the signals.
iBeacon is a term launched by Apple which means
the way BLE signals are handeled. Apple released
iBeacon-support with iOS7. As of yet iBeacon is not
a separate device.
Apple phones and tablets can also function as BLE
transmitters, beacons. Apple iOS8 devices can detect
beacons and send app users information
eventhough the app is closed. Other platforms
require the app to be opened for it to receive
Did we answer all your questions?
If you have any more questions about beacons and
the market around them, you can send us your
questions and we’ll get back to you with an answer.
You can also get in touch if you want more info
about the content management system for mobile
apps and beacons.
+358 50 407 2766