By now, you know all about what a beacon is and what it does. Now, it’s time to buy beacons.
Just to recap, what is a beacon?
A beacon is a small Bluetooth radio transmitter that can send messages to nearby devices.
This guide is intended to help you as a marketer or business owner invest in the best beacon for your needs.
Here are the core factors to consider before you buy beacons, based on our learnings over the years
This is possibly the most important point when it comes to buying beacons. How far does your beacon transmit or rather how far do you need a beacon to transmit? For example, a product launch within a store does not need a transmission range of more than 30 metres whereas if a real estate agent wants to drive new customers to an open house 300 metres is ideal. Beacons that have a long range up to 300 metres are the most popular and versatile beacons in the market.
Another crucial factor is the battery life of the beacons. You do not want to be in the middle of a campaign and find out that your beacons have run out of charge.
Indoor vs Outdoor:
There are different beacons suited for different locations. The most basic feature to note is if you want to deploy beacons outside, you should make sure your beacons are weatherproof.
Protocols supported (Eddystone/iBeacon):
Does your beacon support only iBeacon? Do you need Eddystone support?. Buy beacons that support both to give you the maximum flexibility for deployment. For e.g. Beaconstac beacons can transmit both iBeacon and Eddystone protocols in an interleaved mode to give flexibility for deployment
When you buy beacons, you may get a platform that will only help you configure your beacons. However, if you are looking to run an effective proximity marketing campaign, you will need more than just a basic platform. Choose an end-to-end solution that offers you a comprehensive platform. Solutions like Beaconstac allow you to manage your campaign through customizable content management system, gather digital analytics and organize related beacons simultaneously.
Beacons have been popular specially since they are not heavy on the wallet. Having said that it’s important not to invest in the cheapest one available on the market. Few factors that influence the cost of the beacon include volume of beacons being purchased, whether the beacons come configured, warranty on the beacons, whether they are white-labeled or not, time taken for fulfilment among others.
Beacons do not always have to be stationary. Smaller beacons that fit in the palm of your hand are perfect if you want to transmit on the go.
If it’s your first time buying beacons, then here are a few additional terms that you will encounter during your purchase decision that will influence what kind of beacons you should buy.
Additional factors to consider while buying Bluetooth beacons
It is merely the level up to which a BLE beacon transmits signals. This can be anywhere between -30dBm to +4dBm. The Tx Power affects the range of the signal. More your Tx power, further your range. However, increasing the Tx power is going to have an impact on the battery life as well. More the Tx power, more the drain on your battery.
This is the interval that you can set for devices to receive your signals. So if you set it for 100 ms, every 100 ms all nearby devices will receive a notification. Shorter the advertising interval, greater the battery drain.
A protocol developed by Apple which requires a relevant app to be installed on the phone or other device.
An open protocol developed by Google which allows Android devices to receive beacon notifications without an app through Nearby.
UPDATE: Nearby Notifications will no longer be supported on Android smartphones after December 6 2018. Please read this blog post to understand how you can continue running proximity marketing campaigns through beacons.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for when buying beacons, consider Beaconstac, an end-to-end solution that allows you to buy beacons as well the platform. Beaconstac beacons are built keeping in mind your diverse needs. To make this simple, we’ve divided beacons based on several different factors. Just click on the different factors to know which is the right beacon for you. Or, take this free assessment.
[Assessment link – https://eddypro.typeform.com/to/Yh0qDi]
All Beaconstac beacons support both iBeacon and Eddystone protocols. This means you don’t have to buy iBeacons or buy Eddystone beacons separately. The minimum OS version on Android should be 4.3, iOS 7.1, Windows 7, and Mac OS X 10.7
Based on your budget:
The iBeacon/Eddystone beacon price mentioned below is for a pack of 3
Long Range outdoor beacons
Based on portability:
The keychain beacon is your best bet if you want to transmit on the go. This lightweight, small-sized beacon can be used in several ingenious ways.
Can iOS devices receive notifications from an Eddystone beacon without an app?
At the moment, no. Google has removed support from Chrome which let iOS devices do that before. The workaround to this is to either have consumers install the relevant app or an app that supports Physical Web like Nearbee.
Can I make my own app using Beaconstac?
Yes, you can. You can use the SDK to integrate with your app.
Do I need to know how to code to use the Beaconstac platform?
No, you don’t. You can launch your own campaign without knowing anything about coding.
Do the beacons need to be customized?
Beaconstac beacons work right out of the box. You can have your campaign up and running within 15 minutes.
How do I mount the beacons?
All the beacons come with a double-sided tape to help mount them.
Wondering, where to buy beacons?
Based on your decision to start with only beacon hardware vs investing in an end-to-end solution, the options would vary. If you want to start with only beacon hardware, you could check out Kontakt or Estimote.
However, you will only get a software that will allow you to configure beacons and not run campaigns. You could log onto the Google Beacon dashboard but you can make some basic campaigns at best.
Whereas, if you want to invest in an end-to-end solution, which has beacon hardware, software to create and manage campaigns, and a powerful analytics engine, then get started with Beaconstac. Beaconstac beacons work out-of-the box and come pre-configured. You can have your campaign up and running in 15 minutes.