Originally published December 27, 2017, updated October 8, 2019
Out of all the remarkable things technology has given us, Beacon technology is certainly one of them. Started back in 2013 with the introduction of iBeacon by Apple, the technology has now gained incredible fame.
Beacon is short are the wireless transmitters working on low-energy Bluetooth technology. It emits signals to other devices such as Smartphones, tablets, iPhones, etc. that are in the near zone of the device. They are the most recent contribution to the location technology and proximity marketing.
Apple introduced its own devices known as iBeacons which basically perform the same purpose mentioned above. iBeacons are an affordable way of advertisement and real-time promotion for retail and other businesses.
These devices work with the help of iBeacon apps. There are apps available for all the major platforms such as iBeacon apps for Android and iOS.
To be more eloquent, let’s look at an example.
Imagine- You are wandering someplace for the first time and are looking for a food outlet. Suddenly, you get a push notification on your phone from KFC regarding the combos and discounts available at that time. You, then are navigated to the outlet and are given the information about the deals available for you. Wouldn’t it be helpful?
This is exactly how the iBeacon applications work.
Now, that this technology is enjoying increasing popularity among organizations and businesses, a rise in the availability of iBeacon apps is also witnessed. iBeacon app development is something that retail and other businesses are looking into. iBeacon apps are a great way to increase ROI by implementing this effective and real-time marketing technique.
Importance of iBeacon Technology for Businesses
1. Great for Tracking
iBeacons apps are an incredible utility to track your customers and employees. Via iBeacon apps, you can examine the various statistics in relation to your customers within the iBeacons’ range without doing any survey or such extra effort to make your services more efficient. These apps work as a personal assistant to the customer in the store by sending relevant push notifications regarding deals and discounts on particular products. As for employees, you can track their login and log out time.
2. Successful Automation
Automation, as the name suggests, is something done automatically, without the need for human supervision. iBeacons apps support automation to an extent that whenever the customer is at the store entrance, the doors will open automatically.
In fact, even when the customer reaches a certain checkpoint, the app will send a personal greetings notification including the name of the customer, eliminating the need for any hands-on employes to do the same. This is a perfect way for advertisements as it sends information regarding current discounts on the products.
3. A Cost-Effective Approach
iBeacon is a successor of NFC while being more cost-effective and effective in general. It is so, for the NFC’s range is only 0.20 meter, whereas, iBeacon has the potential of 50 meters. Meaning, that you get better performance at the lesser cost with iBeacon.
4. Micro Location
GPS being the first location-based technology is an excellent option to navigate anywhere, except closed spaces i.e., buildings. This is where iBeacons come into the picture. Their micro-location geofencing functionality servers the purpose of navigating in buildings and office premises.
Now, that we are familiar with the importance/benefits of iBeacon technology, let us move on to the discussion of mistakes that developers should refrain from making in the iBeacon app development. This is important to discuss, for all the efforts will be futile if the apps are less than perfect; after all iBeacon technology can only be optimized with iBeacon apps.
1. Shady Privacy Settings
Privacy is one of the major concerns in today’s time where customer data can be used for all the wrong purposes. Any new technology, including Beacons, seems suspicious and users tend to be more skeptical of it initially until they are sure that they trust their personal information with that particular technology.
The information collected by this technology about an individual can involve the location of the customer in the store, what they bought, and information like their name. For this reason, it is important for iBeacon developers to build an iBeacon app that addresses this concern.
The fact that 72% of consumers fear for their privacy and believe that brands are not behaving responsibly towards this issue is all the more reason to keep the iBeacon apps transparent, to avoid any future inconvenience.
- The best thing you can do is to not ask for irrelevant information and permissions such as access to contacts and phone media and files.
- The facility of privacy settings must be incorporated into the app by every single iBeacon app development company.
2. Not educating customers on Value Proposition
Though the average number of sensors per Proximity Server Provider continues to grow unprecedentedly, there are still times when customers are not fully aware of this technology and keep a closed mind towards them. This stems from the lack of knowledge provided by the iBeacon apps about Value Proposition in the on-boarding process that is being offered and instead, focus on promoting their features.
In return, customers remain skeptical towards enabling their location-services and turning on their Bluetooth for Beacon devices to connect with them.
While making iBeacon mobile apps, one of the most crucial things that any iBeacon app development company should focus on is explaining the benefits that users will get by using the app, instead of just boasting about its features. Also, try not to get into the technicality of how it works, for the users are least interested in knowing it initially.
Once, the users fully understand the benefits of using your Beacon app, they will surely stick to it.
3. Under-optimized Bluetooth OFF states
It is a given that users don’t always keep their Bluetooth On. Many beacon apps ask users to turn the Bluetooth on while they are on-boarding. However, they may sometimes fail to re-engage the users to do so after the initial visit, which is a topic of concern.
What the Beacon app developers fail to recognize is that these Bluetooth OFF states pose as a great medium to encourage users to use the app by showing what they are missing out.
You can make your empty or OFF state attractive via gamification while explaining to users why they should turn the Bluetooth on.
4. Lack of knowledge about Beacon background modes
And last but not least of all mistakes, iBeacon app builders may not have proper knowledge of and understanding of beacon background modes. This is a prominent feature as it enables smartphones to scan for any nearby beacons, even when the user is not active on the iBeacon app for iOS and Android devices.
This might be a deal-breaker for users as the developers failed to recognize how users may react about this feature and how they will interact with the lock-screen notifications on various devices.
There are two situations at hand that all iBeacon app developers have to consider. First is when the iBeacon apps are run in the foreground, they can calculate the distance to the nearby beacons instantly, and the second when the iBeacon apps for Android and iOS run in the background, they can only identify if any beacon is in the range or not.
Therefore, when building an iBeacon app, developers are required to thoroughly consider which of the modes will allow the app to effectively solve the problem.
If the iBeacon app development process is taken care of well, then there should be no issues related to the performance of the app and also its reception by the users. All developers need to do is refrain from making the mistakes discussed above.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does iBeacon work with Android?
Yes, there are iBeacon apps available for Android. However, there is a slight twist. On iOS devices, an iBeacon can be detected even when the iBeacon app is not in use, but in Android, the iBeacon app needs to be in use or in the background to be detected.
Q. How do you build an iBeacon app?
The first thing you need to do is to gain information about the Beacon Technology. Having a better understanding of technology, its trends, and its market is a great way to start. Look for some existing products similar to yours to be clear about what type of app you want and have an idea of your app. After this, it is time to move forward to the next step. Now, you need to look for a company offering iBeacon App Development Services. Make sure the company you choose has worked on a project similar to yours so that your product is in experienced hands.
Q. Can iBeacon work without an app?
No. In order to use the functionalities of iBeacon, you need to have an iBeacon app.
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