CGI has created a new iBeacon solution for Posti mail package pickups in Finland.
A video shows how iBeacon triggers the Posti app when customers come close to a Posti office.
When we started BeaconZone, our aim was to encourage new scenarios beyond the over-hyped and under-successful retail marketing scenarios.
One of the issues with retail marketing with beacons is that it requires opt-in through the installation of an app. This is a large barrier if you are considering users who are ambivalent about using specific apps and beacons. The only way it’s usually viable is if you are a large brand who already has an app on customers’ smartphones.
The more interesting and successful uses of beacons involve scenarios that are ‘want-in’ or B2B rather than consumer ‘opt-in’. Here are just a few examples of where our beacons are being used:
Beacons have a multitude of further real uses waiting to be explored and exploited.
We have a re-implemented and updated our solutions directory to remove old dead links, include new solutions and make the site more mobile friendly. The directory lists 3rd party solutions that use generic beacons.
There are sections for marketing/retail, industry/logistics, building/staff, visitor spaces, transportation, education and personal.
S Sindhumol of Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, India presents recent research into Implementation and Analysis of a Smart Team Management System using iOS Devices as iBeacon (pdf).
The key thing about this research is that it uses iOS rather than a beacon to advertise iBeacon. The system allows the entire team to determine the location of other members, perform location based tasks, receive announcements and communicate via instant chat.
The paper contains some useful analysis of accuracy of distance measurement on distance, interference, measured power and obstructions:
On iOS it’s only possible to advertise iBeacon if the app is in foreground:
The major limitation of the proposed app is battery drainage while keeping the app active all the time in the foreground
A more practical system would have been implemented by having the users carry a separate wearable beacon. This would have allowed presence to be detected when the app isn’t in foreground and there wouldn’t have been a problem with excessive iOS battery use.
There’s novel recent research on City Marathon Active Timing System Using Bluetooth Low Energy Technology by Chun-I Sun, Jung-Tang Huang, Shih-Chi Weng and Meng-Fan Chien of Taiwan.
The authors discuss the use of beacons vs RFID and create a system using Received Signal Strength Indicator RSSI and gateways connected to detector mats:
Beacons are carried by athletes. The gateways sync their times via NTP and send data up to a MongoDB database:
An accuracy of ±156 ms was achieved which compares well to the nearest second used to generally record times and resolution accuracy of 0.1s for commercial transponder timing systems.
There’s a new solution to track cleaning staff that provides app and web source code to implement a cleaning staff tracking system using iBeacons:
Manage beacons, buildings, zones and broadcast messages. The web interface shows staff activity and allows staff to be assigned to tasks. Staff can update task status and provide notes from their smartphones.
This solution has been added to the BeaconZone Solutions Directory where you can find more solutions that work with generic beacons.
We have re-implemented our Beacon Solutions Directory making it easier to use and more up to date:
We have removed listings for solutions that no longer exist, updated solutions that have changed focus and added some newer solutions that use generic beacons.
We found that a considerable number of marketing/retail solutions no longer exist and only the stronger ones remain. This is mainly due to the demise of Eddystone URL.
There’s an upsurge in checkin/checkout solutions presumably partly due to recent ruling by the European Court of Justice that said that EU companies must have something in place to provide an “objective, reliable and accessible system” that allows the duration of time worked each day to be measured.
The use of beacons in visitor spaces is also a growing area with solutions ranging from single use kiosks to event management platforms.
Generally, support for beacons is being added to existing, mature solutions rather than, as previously, new solutions being created solely around beacon functionality.
One of our clients Chime Software Limited, part of Wren Construction, is offering a Time and Attendance Tracking system for the building construction industry. It’s a mobile and desktop solution allowing teams to easily collaborate.
The clock in and clock out uses iBeacons. It’s possible to view and authorise timesheets either from your desktop or mobile phone. It’s also possible to take textual and photographic notes for sharing across a team or project.
There’s new research on Book Searching Navigation in Libraries Based on iBeacon Technology (pdf). The paper describes a fingerprinting-based real time locating system (RTLS):
As the authors are in China, it uses WeChat to ensure compatibility and to promote uptake. Apart from helping find books, other uses include calculating user traffic, check-in, welcome information, questionnaires and evaluating seat occupancy.