Beacons make it possible to invite passersby
to take a short survey about their current experience
of a precise location in real time. For example, you can instantly survey visitors to buildings and events about their opinions of their immediate environment. A great opportunity everywhere from airports to trade shows to ask people for improvement suggestions.
Each Beacon is effectively a cheap, small Bluetooth transmitter
. The standard broadcast range spans from a couple of centimeters to 100 meters. While GPS is a great tool for locating bigger targets on a map such as streets and buildings, Beacon technology enables you to pinpoint exactly where an individual is standing, even inside a building, to a precision of one meter.
Beacons don’t follow people, they search for devices within their range. When they detect nearby smartphones and tablets, they send out a message which has been designed and saved in the Beacon. However, this is a one-way transfer
. Beacons don’t receive messages from the nearby devices. This means that the survey invitation you send from a Beacon has to redirect the recipient from the Beacon message to the first question of the survey, because the Beacon cannot receive and save the survey responses themselves.
Every smartphone or tablet
is a potential receiver of Beacon messages, but they will only work is they have:
- the Bluetooth function activated
- a mobile app installed which receives and acts upon Beacon signals.
The two biggest players in the beacon market are Apple
with iBeacon and Google
with Eddystone. The latter is better suited for market researchers. Messages coming from Eddystone Beacons are automatically picked up by the ever-present Google Chrome app. So you don’t have to build your own app. In contrast, Apple’s iBeacon solution requires a specially designed app to interact with the Beacon’s messages.