The Risk of SaaS-based Beacon Solutions

Beacons have emerged as a crucial tool for businesses, especially in retail, logistics and asset tracking. However, the issue regarding how beacons are managed is becoming increasingly pertinent. We advocate for the use of generic beacons over those tied to specific Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms for a multitude of reasons, primarily centred around risk mitigation.

Some platform vendors have a vested interest in locking you into their proprietary beacons and subscription platforms. This approach may seem convenient at first, but it comes with a host of limitations and risks. For instance, you’re tied to a particular platform, often with a paid subscription that is subject to price changes. Moreover, if the vendor is a venture capital-funded company there’s always the risk, as we have witnessed, that they might not be around next year, leaving you stranded with unsupported hardware.

Opting for generic OEM beacons liberates you from the constraints of a single platform. You’re not tied to a paid subscription for a specific service, giving you the flexibility to adapt as your business needs change. Generic beacons don’t limit you to the advertising types and sensors provided by a particular locked beacon. You can mix and match different beacon types and manufacturers to suit your physical environment. This flexibility also allows you to second or even third source beacons, thereby reducing longer-term risk.

When you’re not limited by the technical constraints of a proprietary platform, you have the freedom to innovate. You can host the platform yourself or choose a hosting provider that aligns with your business needs. This means you can keep your business data away from a shared server, enhancing security and compliance.

Using generic beacons means you’re not dependent on the service level of a shared platform. If a cloud-managed service experiences downtime or other issues, it can have a cascading effect on your operations. Self-managed beacons offer a level of reliability that cloud solutions may not be able to guarantee.

Lastly, when you opt for generic beacons, you don’t have to lock your code to use a particular proprietary beacon app SDK. This gives you the freedom to develop your applications without worrying about compatibility issues down the line.

In conclusion, while cloud-managed solutions may offer a quick and easy entry point, the long-term risks and limitations can make them a less attractive option. Self-managed, generic beacons offer flexibility, security and independence.