Before starting my research for this post I wasn’t aware of bluetooth beacons, I’d never heard them referred to out in the ‘normal world’ (by normal I mean out of the office environment!) and unless you already utilise them to enhance your pre-existing app I expect you wouldn’t have heard of them either. Today I’m going to tell you what they are and how they’re used.
Bluetooth beacons are little pieces of hardware that transmit a Bluetooth signal to a mobile device. The beauty of these beacons are that they are considerably more precise than GPS and can be used far more effectively inside, for example in a leisure or shopping centre.
Using bluetooth beacons along with your app can increase customer engagement and encourage increased sales and productivity.
Think about your most recent hotel stay, it’s likely that you used a key card to get into your room (some of you may have even used the good old fashioned real key!). Well imagine if you were told by reception that you could gain access to your room by using your mobile device. All you’d have to do was download the app and confirm your reservation details and you could enter your room by holding your phone near the door handle. No stress of losing your key card and having to ask, or possible pay, for a replacement. No need to drop the key card back at reception when your reservation is over. Doesn’t that sound easier for the guest and the staff? This can be the case if you have bluetooth beacons on your hotel room doors.
Now, how about retail stores? You’ve all learnt by now that I like a good shop! We know that lots of people already shop online which means they are likely to already have their favourite high street brands app installed on their device. Having strategically placed bluetooth beacons in your store can mean that the shopper gets a product related message or offer that could encourage them to make that purchase there and then, rather than walking away and ‘thinking about it’.
Once you’ve set the beacons up to do what you want them to do - letting someone in a certain room or send a message about a certain product line - you don't need to worry. Your app will receive a transmission from the beacon and take care of the rest. It’s a no brainer.
The only thing you aren’t in control of is whether the person standing near to a bluetooth beacon has the Bluetooth on their device turned on but honestly, in this day and age, who doesn’t?
The beacons themselves have a long life span as they don’t use up a lot of energy and run on a coin sized battery so this means they require very little care from you. The other plus is they don’t cost a lot to buy in the first place. All in all they are a pretty handy thing to have alongside your app.
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Next up in the non-techy talks series: Mobile and web apps