Custom Bluetooth Beacons

While we stock a very large range of beacons, it’s occasionally the case that beacons needs to be customised to better suit the project. There are different types of customisation with corresponding complexity and cost. There are also different minimum quantities at which the different forms of customisation become financially viable.

The most basic customisation is setting of the settings at the factory at time of manufacture. This saves lots of time at rollout because each beacon doesn’t have to be configured using the smartphone app. If configured at the factory, beacons can still be subsequently updated if there’s a change of some sort.

Beacons with custom settings and labelled

The settings typically include setting the beacon id, power and advertising period. Labels are also usually attached to the beacons so they they can be visually identified. Configuration at the factory implies they are manufactured to order which typically takes 4-6 weeks depending on the factory and time of year. The minimum quantity is usually about 200 to 300 units. We also manually configure smaller quantities for clients but this is much more expensive per unit.

The next level of customisation is changing the colour of the case and/or branding the beacon with a logo. Again, the minimum quantity is usually of the order of 200 to 300 units.

Custom logo for Malvern Instruments

Some customers need the case to be a specific size, shape or to be, for example, more rugged. It’s also possible to re-specify some of the inside components to improve ruggedness, particularly when beacons are to be used under vibration.

Custom cases are much more time consuming and can take 3-6 months. The beacon usually has to be re-certified that’s also time consuming and expensive. Case modifications are usually only financially viable for tens of thousands of beacons.

Custom case for AddMobile

The final type of customisation is to have non-standard software. This might include new sensors or use existing sensors in innovative ways. This usually takes of the order of 3-6 months software development. Software can be flashed manually onto small numbers of devices but the software image is usually eventually sent to the factory for putting into the beacon at the time of manufacture. Because of the software development cost, this is usually only financially viable for tens of thousands of beacons.

Custom beacon programming

For all customisations, it’s possible to have samples but the factory always needs payment upfront for the full shipment. For very large custom orders we can work on a consultancy basis. We use our skills and expertise to effectively communicate with suitable manufacturers and tie down your specification after which we hand over to you to purchase direct to save costs.

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How Do You Build Your Own iBeacon?

To build your own iBeacon from scratch you need electronics and software skills. You start by choosing an SoC manufacturer and using their prototypes boards and SDKs. When you have working design, you move it to your own printed circuit board and case. You then need to get CE or FCC approval. Read our inside a beacon series of posts for more details.

In practice, it’s less expensive to find a manufacturer who has something as close as possible and ask them to modify for your needs. Many organisations come to us having failed to source custom beacons themselves directly from manufacturers. Unless you have an existing relationship with a manufacturer, you will usually find your enquiries either aren’t taken seriously, aren’t answered, are misunderstood or the purchased beacons aren’t as expected. Sometimes organisations make the costly mistake of dealing with disreputable Alibaba middle-men rather than the end manufacturer.

For large custom orders we usually work on a consultancy fee basis. We are the best connected and experienced company in the industry when it comes to dealing with the beacon manufacturers. Manufacturers trust us. We help you choose the right beacons. We jump start purchasing through knowing which manufacturers are open to doing the various types of customisation. We know the pertinent questions to ask of manufacturers, contact the right people for you, sidestep known problems and negotiate the best price for you as we know what is a sensible price. You end up buying direct from the manufacturer but with the assurance of advice and direction from ourselves.

We provide:

  • Consultancy related to using beacons with your idea.
  • Refining of your beacon specification based on your needs, including regulatory certification.
  • Working with our technical contacts at suitable manufacturers to work through a solution and price (this usually takes 5 to 8 weeks). We take no commission from the manufacturer.
  • Advice on initial settings to be programmed at the factory to save you considerable configuration time.
  • Advice on software integration.

We charge a fixed upfront fee for this service.

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