Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons
What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?
Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 4.0) is a wireless communication standard for the Internet of Things. It allows to create broadcasting devices that last for years on coin cell batteries. Beacons are based on Bluetooth Low Energy.
What are Beacons and how do they work?
Beacons are small Bluetooth sensors that allow you to provide location based content or services. A beacon can be installed in or outdoors on stationary or movable objects. This way you can target specific zones around the objects with up to 80 meters. Beacons run on batteries or can be integrated into objects that already tap into an energy source. More info on Beacons here.
Why do I have to turn on Bluetooth?
Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to broadcast data. To detect beacons it’s important that Bluetooth is enabled on your customers’ smartphones.
Do I need a certain operating system if I want to use beacons?
Beacons transmit via Bluetooth Low Energy. All major operating systems support Bluetooth Low Energy. There are two protocols that work slightly different on iOS and Android devices. The iBeacon protocol from Apple enables iOS devices to wake up a closed app once they detected a relevant Beacon. On Android the app has to be running in the background to activate features of the app. In general you are not restricted to a specific operating system to use beacons.
Is it necessary that the app is permanently in use to receive notifications from Beacons?
No, beacons can also be detected in the background in a very efficient way. There are slight differences between Android and iOS with respect to beacon detection and background processing times.
Does my mobile data consumption increase when I use beacon services?
The data volume is typically 100kB per month per user who is using beacon or geofence services by Square Metrics. Additional data is consumed for opening campaign landing pages or images.
Is my battery power usage higher if I turn on Bluetooth?
The usage of the Proximity SDK while having Bluetooth turned on is below 1% of daily energy consumption of the smartphone. It’s not a recognizable change for apps that introduce location services.
What beacons are supported on your management platform? How can I buy beacons?
The Proximity DMP is a vendor agnostic platform, on which you can use beacons from any vendor. Both iBeacon and Eddystone (URL, UID, TLM, EID) are fully supported. You can check out beacon vendors from our Preferred Beacon Supplier list. For more specific questions, we would ask you to contact the manufacturer.
What is a geofence and how does it work?
A geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. It is created by setting a radius around a chosen map coordinate, usually a GPS latitude and longitude value. Once a smartphone user enters or exits the designated area, the geofence, an activity, such as an alert or message can be triggered and sent to the users device. This offers a variety of possibilities to interact with a target group or monitor locations and their frequencies. Geofences are an easy way to monitor thousands of places of interest. More info here.
Is my data secure? Where is it stored?
All data is hosted in the European Union and all communication is encrypted by default. Square Metrics strictly complies to the EU privacy and data security regulations by avoiding the storage of personal identifiable information.
What kind of data is transferred when I use Beacons?
Beacons are not connected to the Internet and do not store any user data. A mobile application can use a beacon to detect the user’s current location. The location data is combined with a unique user identifier to create a customer profile based on visited beacons.
Why do I have to give permission for a location?
Beacons are used to detect a user’s current location. For privacy reasons iOS and Android request that the user provides an opt-in by accepting a location permission pop up.
Proximity Mobile Apps
Which App should I use? Beacon Manager App or Proximity App?
- The Proximity app is a demo app used to showcase the Proximity SDK. It can collect nearby data and send to the Proximity DMP.
- The Beacon Manager app is not integrated with the Proximity SDK. It is simply a tool that helps beacon rollout, identify nearby beacons and add them to your account (Android).
Why are nearby beacons not being detected by the Proximity Demo app?
- The Beacon Manager App should be used to list nearby beacons. The Proximity App is only for demos; it detects Proximity DMP related events. Before using the demo app, please ensure the following:
- The app is synced with your Proximity DMP account using the API Token.
- The beacon is registered with your Proximity DMP account (Should be found under Infrastructure –› Beacons).
- A campaign is setup and the beacon assigned to the campaign.