As a result of the coronavirus crisis, many companies are reorienting the use of their beacons to ensure physical distancing.
For example, companies such as Radius Networks or Estimote send an alert to users of their devices when a person is at a shorter distance than the recommended social distancing distance.
The aim is to equip employees in logistics centres or production sites to ensure that health measures are taken on these premises.
What is a beacon?
As hardware, a beacon is a box, beacon or wireless transmitter capable of communicating with other devices, such as a smartphone or tablet.
For communication to be effective, it is necessary to ensure that the systems are compatible with Bluetooth technology.
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is the current standard commonly used.
The beacon emits a signal at regular intervals.
When a device is in the broadcast area, it receives the transmission and manifests it as a specific action for the recipient.
There are many applications and they are usually integrated into both private or public setting.
One of the primary use cases in the tourism sector is the accompaniment of visitors to cultural venues such as museums.
It is possible to create personalised itineraries according to the user’s profile.
In commerce, the beacon can display messages and promotional offers.
For industrial or logistics sites, the beacon is mostly used for geofencing purposes.
The geolocation technology then acts as virtual guarding.
With which technology can these devices be used?
Beacon is based on Bluetooth communication and therefore consumes very little energy.
The operation and administration of the systems remain inexpensive and easy to maintain.
Since the transmission is between the beacon and mobile devices, it is essential to integrate compatibility with the main operating systems, such as Android and iOS.
Depending on the nature of the message, it is important to ensure communication with universal streams and formats.
These are considered standards in the field of mobile technology and IT.
Commercial Real Estate Applications
The retail sector is one of the main areas in which beacons are proving their usefulness.
This technology provides an exclusive experience for consumers.
Information, events, promotional offers, discount coupons, and product display are just a few examples of how beacons are being used within this space.
To receive targeted messages, users must have the mobile application of the brand, have activated Bluetooth on their smartphones, and be within the beacon’s transmission perimeter (between 5 centimetres and 70 metres).
Apple was the first large retailer to use this technology at scale; they have deployed iBeacons in all Apple Stores from the end of 2013.
From a retailer or company perspective, Beacon is proving to be a valuable marketing tool.
It allows them to perfect their knowledge of the offline customer journey and better assess their behaviours and consumption patterns.
New uses of beacon technology are developing due to population density monitoring and social distancing.
The use of beacon is mature; however, it is the first time that HR departments are showing a real interest in beacon technologies.
The government enforced lockdown resulted in many Fortune 500 companies having to instruct their workforce to work from home.
Companies are now faced with the challenge of resuming activity within offices and shops whilst adhering to distancing guidelines.
Beacon seems to be a mature, low-cost technology that has surfaced in the toolbox of the post-COVID 19 planners.