The Demise of Unsolicited Marketing Using Beacons

There’s a new article at DIGIDAY on how Apple’s new privacy features have further rattled the location-based ad market. The iOS location and Bluetooth permission changes have caused users to opt-out of marketing messages:

Right now opt-in rates to share data with apps when they’re not in use are often below 50% … Three years ago those opt-in rates were closer to 100%

Benoit Grouchko, Teemo

80% of those users stopped all background tracking across their devices

Location Sciences

Google’s discontinuing support for Android Nearby notifications and Apple’s tightening of permissions have caused the demise of unsolicited marketing using beacons. This is understandable because unsolicited marketing is seen by end-users as intrusive and creepy.

However, the iOS and Android mechanisms are still there for more worthy applications such as visitor space usecases that need to provide location based information. For these types of application, there’s the need for good app onboarding explaining location and Bluetooth usage in order to provide the location-based information that the end-user is requiring.

While unsolicited marketing was the key benefit when iBeacon was first announced, the use of beacons has since diversified into less contentious and more practically useful areas such as real time locating (RTLS), IoT Sensing and insights through machine learning.

UPS Shipping Update

We have been using UPS shipping for just over a month now and have just refined our shipping options based on past customer orders and our costs. UPS offer two main services, UPS Standard that goes by road and UPS Express that goes by air.

We have found that UPS Standard to some European countries is taking 5 to 6 business days which we can now improve on for some countries. For Italy, Spain, Austria, Finland, Greece, Denmark and Sweden we now always send by UPS Express (by air) for a similar cost as was the case for UPS Standard. This has a delivery time of 1 to 2 days to most business areas.

UPS Standard goes via the new London Hub that shows as ‘Stanford Le Hope, United Kingdom’ in the tracking. This is UPS’s largest single infrastructure investment outside of the United States. View the video:

The London Hub is 32,000-square metres in size and has a capacity to process up to 28,000 packages per hour. It’s part of UPS’s $2 billion infrastructure investment programme in Europe.

UPS Express gets to via East Midlands airport by the evening of the day it is picked up from us and shows as ‘Castle Donington, United Kingdom’ in the tracking.

UPS Freight Flight from East Midlands Airport/Castle Donington

Freight flights leave every evening to Europe and North America that are delivered in 1 to 2 working days to Europe and 2-3 days to N America.

View the shipping page for a summary of delivery costs and time scales.

New Minew i10 Beacon

We have the new Minew i10 beacon in stock. It’s a twin AA battery beacon, with a long 200m range, advertising up to 6 channels that can be iBeacon, Eddystone UID, Eddystone URL, Eddystone TLM and device information. It uses the newer Nordic nRF52 SoC for a battery life up to 5 years depending on the settings and the type of batteries.

The i10 can be thought of an indoor version of the i3 in that it’s roughly the same size but isn’t waterproof. It’s white rather than black to blend in with lighter walls and the screw mounting is hidden:

A 3M sticker is also supplied as are the two AA batteries (the i3 doesn’t come with batteries).

Sensor Beacon Matrix Updated

We offer a range of sensor beacons but what each beacon actually senses or detects is buried deep in the respective beacon descriptions.

As we have recently added new sensor beacons, we have updated our downloadable pdf showing what each beacon can detect.

If you want to know how you might use these beacons, take a look at our articles on Beacon Proximity and Sensing for the Internet of Things (IoT) , Using Bluetooth LE and Using Bluetooth LE Sensors.

Need more help? Consider a Feasibility Study.

New H4 Sensor Beacon

We have the new Moko H4 sensor beacon in stock.

This beacon transmits up to 6 channels including iBeacon, Eddystone (TLM, UID, URL), temperature/humidity and information (device name, MAC address, battery level ).

The sensor is held outside the beacon in a small cage that allows the beacon to be waterproof to IP66. A unique feature is logging that allows storing and export of up to 4000 historical sensor values:

View sensor beacons

Bluetooth in Aviation

Bluetooth beacons are increasingly being used in the aviation industry to track pallets, unit load devices (ULDs) and audit temperature, humidity and shock levels.

Cargo Airports & Airline Service magazine has an article on the Bluetooth Revolution where it mentions ULD provider Unilode’s use of Bluetooth tags. Unilode is equipping its 125,000 ULDs with Bluetooth readers. This will take over two years but 80% should be fitted out within 18 months.

The most significant development recently in ULDs is the development of Bluetooth Low Energy tracking devices.

The article mentions how Unilode has been exploring the use of RFID over last 25-30 years. It says Bluetooth provides the solution to RFIDs limits of range, infrastructure cost and interference with aircraft systems. Bluetooth additionally allows monitoring of ambient shipment conditions, temperature sensitive cargo and shock sensitive cargo.

The key benefit of Bluetooth is knowing where units are, all the time, rather than relying on scanned updates. It provides for better utilisation of assets. This makes transport of freight easier, smoother and more efficient.

Real-time monitoring of assets allows the client to immediately know when assets are behind schedule, being routed inappropriately, or in poor conditions.

Bluetooth not only provides a scaleable and affordable way of tracking pallets and unit load devices but can also provide for tracking the status of smaller critical packages such as pharma and and cosmetics goods.

Here at BeaconZone, we have seen beacons used more for airline temperature sensing rather than tracking. For example, iB003N-SHT beacons are used by Qatar Airways to monitor the temperature of pre-flight cargo holding areas.

New Bluetooth Range Extender

Nordic Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) inside most beacons, has announced a new Bluetooth Range Extender the nRF21540.

It’s an electronic component to be used at the SoC output to amplify the signal prior to being sent to the antenna. We expect this to be included in some future long range beacon designs. However, note that it uses more current (115 mA at +20 dBm) so is less suitable for use in coin-cell based battery powered designs.

Our ultra long range beacons already use RF amplifiers but from different component manufacturers. For example the iB003N-PA uses a RFAXIS X2401C chip to achieve up to 300m range. The FSC-BP109 also uses an output amplifier to reach up to 1000m on Android and 4000m on iOS but this beacon requires USB power.

Pushcut for iOS Updated

Pushcut, the HomeKit and workflow automation iOS app, has some updates that now allow iBeacon triggered in background. Delayed notifications and ‘do not repeat’ durations are also possible with iBeacon triggers.

Pushcut allows you to execute online actions and web requests in the background providing IFTTT triggers from an iBeacon.

Pushcut is listed in our Solutions Directory.