Choosing Beacon Pro For Your Wayfinding Project

20 November 2020

Location systems based on beacon technology have proven themselves in countless applications in a wide range of environments. From hospitals to airports and industrial settings to museums, beacons form the backbone of location-based solutions. If you’re planning your own proximity-based solution, here’s why our Beacon Pro is your ideal starting point.

What is Beacon Pro?

Beacon Pro is a beacon that is optimized for indoor wayfinding and proximity marketing. Each beacon has a five year battery life on standard settings and is equipped with replaceable batteries for long-term solutions, which can be extended further by measures such as turning the beacon off when your facility is closed or using the beacon's ambient light detector to put the beacon into power-saving mode when not in use. Beacon Pro supports both Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC, allowing all standard smartphones to access the system. Communication and ID shuffling is fully encrypted, and it supports iBeacon and Eddystone. Individual beacons have a 70m range, allowing full coverage with a relatively small number of units. The beacons are clip mounted and can be attached to any surface, and easily detached and moved when optimizing your solutions. Weighing just 2.5 ounces, they are discreet and can be placed where they will not be bumped or damaged. They have temperature and ambient light sensors as well as an accelerometer for mobile beacon purposes. The beacons can come with various pre configured profiles and settings to suit your project needs.

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Why Use Beacon Pro for Wayfinding?

GPS-based systems require a line of sight to a satellite. Beacon-based systems allow indoor wayfinding with standard smartphones. Using an app you provide, visitors, customers, and employees can use their phone to effectively move through your space. For employees, working in large buildings, such solutions allow them to efficiently do their jobs if they need to move around unfamiliar spaces. Beacon Pro's telemetry lets you analyze where staff spend more time to eliminate bottlenecks and improve decision-making, especially in large warehouses. These beacons also have temperature alerts, making them useful for walk-in coolers and other places where temperatures need to be kept stable.

For visitors, it can be even more important. A large museum, store, or trade show floor can be intimidating, especially to people who might be visiting for the first time. Indoor wayfinding can also allow users to locate things that change in real-time. For example, some airports are now providing apps which locate and direct passengers to the shortest security line, spreading passengers out and reducing wait times for everyone. Trade shows are using them to help people find a particular booth. Museums can update the map as temporary exhibits change without a lot of effort or the cost associated with replacing signage.

Beacon Pro is ideally optimized for wayfinding purposes. The beacons are low in cost and can be positioned wherever they are needed, and easily provide wayfinding coverage for your entire building. With a 70m range, you only need to install one beacon in a room, and then allow the associated app to tell the user where they are. For most indoor wayfinding purposes, this is more than sufficient. Beacons can be located where users will not even see them (ideally, higher up on the walls or on the ceiling where they will not be walked into).

The app can then hook into the cloud to give users turn-by-turn directions to their destination, whether that's a room in the hospital, a new museum exhibit, or the nearest bathroom. Beacon Pro is compatible with both Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5, which future proofs the system while supporting current budget smartphones. It also supports iBeacon for users on iOS. This means there is no need for expensive devices, energy demands are low, and the system remains reliable over time. The system provides excellent coverage for accurate wayfinding.

Beacon Pro is a great, affordable way to move from passive wayfinding such as maps and QR codes, to an active system that is smooth and nearly invisible to your users. Using our device management software, you can also generate a map of beacon locations that helps you identify beacons that are not working or need new batteries.

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Why Use Beacon Pro for Proximity Notifications?

Think about a museum. Exhibits have signs next to them, and these days they often have QR codes to allow people to use their smartphone to get more information about the exhibit or artifact.

With beacon-based systems, your visitors don't have to gather around signs or sign a QR code. Rather, the location system will tell their phone to automatically download the information, reducing crowding and improving the visitor experience.

This is not the only use for the technology. Proximity marketing can push ads or deals to a smartphone based on where somebody is. For example, you might use proximity marketing to inform customers about things often bought with the item(s) they are looking at. Highly-specific marketing tends to cause less resentment than general announcements. Proximity marketing is also useful at trade shows, where booth holders can be given the opportunity to provide marketing information that can be pushed to attendees as they enter that person's booth. You can also use it to give visitors and employees safety information, share important notices, remind people when the store is closing without loud announcements, etc. Proximity-based notifications allow for a much more specific and granular way of providing information, without anyone needing to take action.

Again, Beacon Pro is optimized for this use case. It's compatible with iOS or Android apps, as long as your customers or visitors have downloaded your recommended app, it can communicate the information needed. The information is not stored on the beacons, but in the Cloud, with the app making the downloads based on location data from multiple beacons. Much like indoor wayfinding, this allows your visitor's location to be pinpointed, but the purpose here is to provide them with useful information or appropriate marketing materials. - UPDATES on the sanitation or reminders about covid stuff etc

This makes for a better visitor experience. For employees, there are other use cases. For example, an employee can use an app to check when the next scheduled meeting is in the room they are in, so they know how much time they have before they need to vacate. Warehouse employees can get information about inventory levels (which can also be automatically flagged for restock) and where there might be backup inventory, as well as the location of equipment. Employees can even leave each other virtual notes that show up only in the relevant location, reducing clutter and saving paper that might otherwise be wasted on "sticky notes." This can be integrated into preventive real time maintenance systems or time keeping.

Beacon Pro offers reliable and secure performance with an extended battery life and a good range, and can provide proximity-based content and notifications to all visitors using their own devices. All you need is a customer-facing app that allows your visitors to get the appropriate information from the Cloud.

Upgrade to Beacon Pro

Whether you are implementing a new indoor wayfinding and proximity-based notification system or replacing an older Wi-Fi-based system, Beacon Pro is your go-to hardware. By switching to Bluetooth from Wi-Fi, you free up your users' Wi-Fi bandwidth for other purposes and reduce the amount of energy the system uses. Bluetooth is a universal protocol and as Beacon Pro supports Bluetooth 5, it is likely to be a long time before you need to worry about hardware updates to support newer devices.

Using Beacon Pro allows you to improve the accuracy of your indoor wayfinding systems without using expensive readers or having to hand out tags and badges to visitors. Instead, it works smoothly with your customers' and employees' existing devices, integrating with outdoor wayfinding solutions as necessary (for example, zoos might have a GPS-based system for the grounds and then switch to beacon-based when entering an aquarium or animal house). Users will not notice the system, only the information they are able to get to support their experience.

The paired device management software allows you to onboard devices automatically, detect low batteries and reorder as needed, receive notification about infrastructure issues, etc. While no solution is set and forget, Kontakt.io's software allows you to focus on things other than your RLTS, such as updating the content and continuing to improve the customer experience. It also comes with a smartphone app that can be used to configure beacons, ensure firmware updates go through, and check usage right from an Android or iOS smartphone. This makes updates easy to do on the fly and helps maintenance personnel keep the system running smoothly.

By switching to Beacon Pro and Kontakt.io, you can improve the experience of both customers and employees, attract customers and save money by improving employee efficiency. To find out more, check out Beacon Pro today, and talk to us about custom solutions and assistance with installation.

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Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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