UPDATE 1: Chrome removes Physical Web support on iOS and Android.
UPDATE 2: The Beacons notifications are now supported by Google’s own nearby services, which are active by default on all Android 4.4(KitKat) or newer devices.
We discussed Eddystone, how it is different from iBeacon etc., in an earlier post. In our recent webinar on Eddystone, we talked about various Eddystone use cases, how Eddystone will affect your beacon project and Beaconstac’s roadmap for Eddystone support. In this blog, we will discuss answers to questions we frequently receive from our customers. Let’s get started.
1. Can the same beacon support iBeacon as well as Eddystone?
Beaconstac beacons will be able to support both formats. The firmware update that will be released in a few days will allow you to use both of these. You can, however, only use one format at a time, i.e, you can’t use both formats simultaneously. You will need to switch between the two.
2. Can a single app work with Eddystone and iBeacon at the same time?
Though it is possible, we are not aware of any such implementation currently.
3. Under what circumstances does Eddystone push content to a phone that doesn’t have an app installed?
The only way Eddystone can work with a device that does not have a compatible app installed is to transmit using the URL packet. This also means, that currently there is only the ‘Physical Web’ browser in Android that is capable of receiving this. We expect that the next Chrome release or the release of Android M (whichever comes earlier) will offer complete support for Eddystone-URLs within the Android platform.
Currently, the Chrome browser available for iOS supports Eddystone-URLs, once you enable the ‘Today’ notification in your iOS device. This new Chrome feature works within the Chrome Today widget on the Notification Center Today view.
4. For the Eddystone-URL to work, should there be an app on the customer’s device? How does this work?
The URL is being transmitted by the beacon and for the customer’s device to detect the URL we need an app that is capable of reading that packet and displaying it to the user. At the moment it is only supported by Chrome on iOS and the Physical Web browser on Android. Even the Chrome browser implementation on iOS is predicated on that fact that notifications for the ‘Today’ notifications are turned on. It’s not that the Chrome browser will automatically open and show the web page.
5. Can I decide who I send these URLs to?
No, you do not have any control over it. Anyone who has a device that has an app that’s capable of reading the Eddystone-URL and presenting a web page will get it. There is no customer segmentation that’s possible.
6. Can the Eddystone format be used with other beacons?
Yes, there are manufacturers out in the market who have released/are planning to release firmware upgrades to support this format.
7. There is this perception that somehow Eddystone and Google have killed the need for an app. How true is this?
It’s a very wrong perception. We have known for a while that user privacy is important and there is a need to opt in. But there is definitely the need for an app. It’s just that the app can be Chrome, which everyone has, instead of a retailer-specific app.
8. Do I have to use Google’s Nearby Proximity APIs or can I use a platform like Beaconstac?
There is no compulsion to use Google’s Nearby Proximity APIs. You can put a beacon in the Eddystone mode and use it with a platform like Beaconstac.
9. Can Eddystone-URLs be translated by non-Chrome browsers?
Yes, they can. The Beaconstac SDK that’s due to be released in a few days, will be able to read that packet.
10. Can I use iBeacon on an app that has an Eddystone SDK installed?
Yes, it is possible. In the case of Beaconstac beacons, for example, you can simply take out beacons, put them in Eddystone mode and they will work with our updated SDK (due in a few days). Our SDK already supports iBeacon. That doesn’t go away.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!