There was a time when everything was big. The phone was the size of a brick and telephone cords went on like a rope. However, technology is ever-evolving. Soon we learned better ways, easier solutions. The sizes of phones kept on decreasing till they reached their optimum requirement. The cords vanished and were replaced by thin air. As technology advanced, we were able to save space and make living simpler. Some would say that technology in itself is a magician. Then Beacons in themselves are a notable magic trick.
What are beacons?
A beacon is a small Bluetooth Radio Transmitter. It constantly transmits a single signal that other devices can identify. However, it does not emit visible light. Rather it transfers a radio signal, comprising a combination of letters and numbers over a fixed period of time. It transmits these signals very fast; at intervals of one-tenth of a second.
Devices can recognize these signals and respond/collect the data as per requirement.
Beacons are small devices and are easily concealable.
For simple understanding, if the lights are out, a candle is a beacon while we are the device. As soon as the candle is lit, we immediately get the information through our eyes (receptors in the case of devices) and we register the fact that there is a source of light. After registering this, it is according to our brain function (or programming of the device) that we act accordingly.
Where can they be installed?
ANYWHERE! These small devices are easily hidden from plain sight and won’t stick out of the blue. They can be installed in restaurants, washrooms, movie theaters, offices, residential complexes etc.
They are highly efficient because of their speed and in lieu with the current scenario where everyone has a smartphone, they are of high utility.
What are their uses?
To understand uses of beacons, we need to understand what their requirement is like in today’s time. We live in this bubble of luxury where we are instantly connected with everyone and everything. Not so long ago, finding a place was the biggest hassle. Enter Google Maps, which made that problem entirely go away, hence making our environment more responsive and convenient to understand.
Similarly, a beacon is an environmental indicator. When we walk into a shop or a restaurant, we need to look around, decide using information that we collect and make an informed decision. But what if all that information was already collected and sent to us on our smartphone the moment we stepped into that space? It wouldn’t just enhance our shopping/dining experience, it would also save us a lot of time. That is exactly what a beacon does.
Shop owners understand buyer behavior. They know how buyers operate and what they may be interested in. Hence they can feed the information to the beacon and the beacon will do its job.
Some argue that this is unnecessary as they believe that the shop owners can give this information to the buyer themselves. However, this statement is flawed in many ways.
Every buyer is different. All shop owners understand that. The beacons help in 2 ways. It gives the buyer some basic knowledge about the shop and what it has to offer. Now if the buyer is interested, he could further pursue his personal intentions with the shopkeeper, hence simplifying the process for both the buyer and the shop keeper.
A beacon is not just limited to shops. Having the liberty of a small range, it can work in sections too. For example, if a buyer is looking for a shop and comes to the certain shelf which has a discount, the beacon, operating on a small range can work just for that shelf and send an alert for the discount.
This technology completely revolutionizes shopping /dining experiences and has many more uses as follows:
- It has many uses in the retail industry such as sending discount coupons, data about how full a shop is, writing reviews and giving ratings, marking products that they want or sharing it with other people, stalling services when in queues, parking information etc
- In the hospitality industry, information about rooms and pricing, how packed the facility is and how many rooms they have available, unlocking doors and enabling other services, virtual concierge etc.
- In the travel and tourism industry, information about monuments and attractions, fees and charges for entry, helping in self-guided tours, map aids, weather information, travel ticket pricing etc.
Beacons can become a popular use item in all industries and is already significant in the above mentioned along with education, entertainment, healthcare, real estate, advertising etc
Beacons and Web Shuttle
Innovation is the foundation of Web Shuttle. The Beacon technology has been a matter of interest for them since it was released in 2014.
Ever since their inception, web shuttle has tried to incorporate as much new technology as possible. Consequently, they have done significant work in Beacons.
They have successfully developed an app for the restaurant Binge which uses this technology. Anytime someone comes close to the restaurant, their smartphone gets an alert of the existing offers, discounts in the restaurant. The App, which has successfully completed testing will be hitting the store very soon.
They have many ongoing projects on the beacon technology.One is involving heritage sites wherein if someone goes near a heritage site, they are alerted of its significance and history on their smartphones. Another is associated with a renowned university of Rajasthan wherein if someone goes near the reception desk, they automatically receive a download of the admission form in their smartphone for a simplified process, among other utilities.
Web Shuttle plans to break ground and work towards more such tech options to make our world more tech friendly.