What is a Beacon Gateway? How to Deploy It?

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combination of mokosmart beacon gateways

It is a privilege to live in an age where we have improved connectivity. This is all thanks to the latest developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) and beacon gateway is at their helm. The Beacon gateway enables the communication between Bluetooth beacons and existing LAN & WAN networks. Therefore, communications between smart devices and Bluetooth beacons in a building are possible. This capability is quite beneficial for us, and we widely deploy it for various IoT applications. The constant innovation accompanied by a beacon gateway is making it possible for us to build more and more smart systems. Soon we will reach a nexus where we will have smart, connected, and sustainable ecosystems.

What is a beacon gateway?

A beacon gateway is a smart device, which allows Bluetooth beacons to communicate with the existing networks. In other words, it acts as a bridge between the Bluetooth beacons and the cloud server.

Such devices are necessary because beacons are small wireless transmitters that periodically broadcast Bluetooth signals containing unique IDs and some additional information. On their own, the range of their transmission is extremely limited and they do not have any network connectivity beyond local wireless communication. A beacon gateway receives the Bluetooth signals from the beacons in its proximity, processes them, and forwards them over the internet or a local network to cloud servers or applications.

How to deploy a beacon gateway

If you are deploying a beacon gateway for the first time, it might seem challenging. However, things will be easier and smoother if you have some expert guidance. So, the following step-by-step guide will help you juggle through the process.

Define your requirements

The first thing you need to do is to define your business needs and requirements. So, you should sit down with your business analysts and engineers and thoroughly go through your operations. You should extensively map down areas where you need advanced IoT connectivity. Once you have identified the areas where you need to deploy IoT connectivity, you can move on to the next step.

Procure and activate beacons

Seek for available Bluetooth beacons in the market that match your business needs. After that, you can contact a reputed vendor like MOKOSmart to provide the beacons you are looking for. Once the beacons arrive, you can activate them. Activating beacons might seem tricky however if you purchase from MOKOSmart then you will receive detailed user manuals as well. This will make your job much easier.

Installing and setting up the beacons gateway

This step is very important and there are many subsequent stages. These are described below:

  • Find out ideal spots: You should map out where you want to place your beacons gateway. For this purpose, you should consult the construction blueprints of your building. This will allow you to mathematically calculate where you should place every gateway. The rule of thumb is to place a beacon gateway approximately 4-6 meters above ground level. Also, you need to ensure that every beacon gateway has a spacing of at least 9-11 meters. Additionally, you must ensure that your beacons are not in direct contact with toxic elements.
  • Use the best deployment techniques: You should use adhesives for deploying stationary beacons such as the ones we use for asset tracking. Commonly, we use adhesives like zip ties and 3M stickers. However, for beacons that involve a significant amount of motion, we recommend using screws.
  • Activate and set up the beacon gateway: After installing the gateway on the perfect access points, now you can activate the beacon gateway with a user manual and expert guidance. The ideal access point should have the capability to scan WiFi as well as BLE signals.Thus, your overall beacon operations will be more efficient.

Maintenance of beacon gateway

If you work with a good firm, then you will also have management tools based on cloud computing. This will allow you to monitor the battery life of your beacons from anywhere in the world. So, if a beacon gateway requires maintenance then you will receive a notification and you can address it effectively. The best thing about Bluetooth beacon gateways is that they are based on BLE so they consume very little power. Hence, they tend to have very long lifespans.

How does a BLE beacon gateway work?

Once you deploy a beacon gateway e.g. MKGW3:

  • It begins to detect incoming Bluetooth signals from nearby smart devices. These smart devices include but are not limited to laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
  • The gateway then processes all of those signals and records relevant data. So, the relevant data includes position, geolocation, motion, stationary time, etc.
  • When the gateway collects the data, it then sends it to the cloud server. Once the data reaches the cloud server, they apply sophisticated algorithms to this data. So, the data is now available in the form of processed information.
  • You can access this information from anywhere in the world and at any time. For this purpose, all you need is a good internet connection and a smart device to access the dedicated MOKO Cloud Dashboard.

The best thing about this BLE gateway is that it tells you its state of working during data transfer and network connection. It can do this through its LED indications. If you want to change the type of data these gateway stores then you can do it simply by inserting a new command through USB.

Features of Bluetooth beacon gateways

The advanced features of the beacon gateway give it a significant competitive edge over conventional alternatives.

  • Ultra Low Power Consumption: It is a renowned fact that BLE beacon technology is very power efficient. This means that a beacon gateway consumes a very little amount of power. Hence, you can expect a battery life of up to a decade.
  • Superior Data Gathering: Beacon technology allows us to monitor all sorts of data within the premises of a building.
  • Remote Monitoring and OTA Update: The Beacon gateway allows for remote monitoring of connected beacons and sensors. It supports over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates for seamless upgrades and maintenance without needing physical access.
  • Indicator LEDs: Most beacons and gateways come with a basic indicator LED. Our BLE beacon gateways come with multiple LED indicators. This means there is one LED indication when the gateway is connected to a power source. The second LED indication is for a successful connection with the network. And there is a separate LED indication when the beacon gateway is transmitting data to the cloud server.
  • Offline Storage: The gateway has local storage capability to temporarily cache data from beacons/sensors when the internet connection is disrupted. This offline storage ensures no data loss during connectivity issues. Once the connection is restored, the cached data is automatically synced to the cloud server.
  • Flexibility and Portability: The gateways are very portable so that you can deploy them in all sorts of settings. This is especially useful if you want to indulge in shadow marketing. The gateways from MOKO Smart have robust design and long operating life. Their considerate mechanical design ensures that you can easily fit them where you need them.

Practical applications of beacon gateway

Beacon technology is making huge waves and is the key to IoT based futures. Some of its emerging applications are as follows,

Inventory management

One of the biggest problems that business owners face is that they don’t know which product to buy in what amount. Therefore, they often sell out some of their products while having a surplus inventory of others. Beacon gateways allow us to monitor which product customers are showing more interest in. Hence, we can effectively manage our inventory and increase our revenue.

Animal tracking and monitoring

Owners of large farms often struggle with keeping track of their cows and sheep. It’s difficult to do a manual headcount and figure out if an animal has left the farm premises. So, we can deploy beacon gateways to know the exact location of all the animals at all times. Hence, we will receive a notification whenever an animal leaves the farm, and we can chase and retrieve that animal in time.

Asset and patient tracking in healthcare

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities often have a large number of valuable and portable medical equipment like wheelchairs, IV stands, monitoring devices etc. By attaching beacons to these equipment, their real-time location can be monitored using a network of beacon gateways installed throughout the premises. Moreover, by equipping patients with beacon tags, beacon gateways can precisely monitor their movements throughout the hospital premises.

Retail personnel management

Large store owners often struggle with where to position their employees. Customers are coming into the store all the time and they often need help with various matters. So, it is necessary that a store employee is always nearby. Hence, if we deploy beacons then we will know which sections of the store are crowded at a particular moment. Therefore, we can position our employees in those sections to help out the customers.

Event and exhibition management

We live in an era where large events and exhibitions are happening all around us. Some prominent examples include large concerts, fundraisers, weddings, celebrations, social speeches, public campaigns, etc. Managers often struggle with preventing people from entering certain restricted areas of the premises. By handing out special visitor card beacons to the attendees, we can use beacon gateways to track their movements at all times. If they try to enter a restricted area, we can immediately stop them.

Proximity marketing

In the world of sales analytics, proximity marketing is an emerging phenomenon. It means marketing those products or services to prospective customers that align with their contextual settings. For instance, a person enters a clothing store. He goes to the t-shirt section and stays there for a couple of minutes. Now imagine that he receives a notification on his smartphone that there is a special promotion running on a particular t-shirt. In this case, it is much more likely that he will buy that T-shirt. Such is the power of proximity marketing and we can implement it by using beacon gateways.

Transportation and logistics

The supply chain is an integral part of any business as it involves moving products around. During logistics, many products are often lost or damaged. So, we can minimize this by tracking their position and motion at all times.

Beacon and iBeacon gateway: whats the difference

We often confuse the terms “beacon gateway” and “iBeacon gateway” with each other. Also, we often use them interchangeably. However, that is not entirely true as the two terms are technically different. iBeacon was first introduced by the tech giant Apple in 2013. The iBeacon gateway dominated the market for some years before its competitors arrived in the market. Then came the AltBeacon which was introduced by Radius networks in 2014. It was the major competitor to iBeacon for a year. In 2015, Eddystone was introduced by Google and it remained a favorite for some period. However, in 2017 Tecno World announced its GeoBeacon.

In short, all of these technologies fall under the beacon gateway. That’s to say, beacon gateway is an umbrella term while iBeacon, Eddystone, GeoBeacon, AltBeacon, etc. are subcategories.

Why choose BLE beacon gateways from MOKO

MOKO SMART is a large supplier of BLE beacons and beacon gateways with a proven track record. Our BLE beacon gateways are highly reliable, scalable, and work well with all leading beacon protocols such as iBeacon, Eddystone, and others. Equipped with features such as extended connectivity range, energy-efficient working mode, and enhanced security; MOKO’s BLE beacon gateways are well-suited for various industries’ numerous applications. Also, our solutions come along with effective technical support and customization options so that businesses can fit individual needs.

FAQs about beacon gateway

What’s the typical range of a Bluetooth beacon gateway?

The typical range is 30-150 meters indoors and up to several hundred meters outdoors with line-of-sight.

How much does a beacon gateway cost?

Entry-level models cost around $20-$100 per unit, while industrial gateways range from $200 to $500 or more. Pricing for large-scale deployments is often negotiated.

Written by ——
Nick He
Nick He
Nick, a seasoned project manager in our R&D department, brings a wealth of experience to MOKOSMART, having previously served as a project engineer at BYD. His expertise in R&D brings a well-rounded skill to his IoT project management. With a solid background spanning 6 years in project management and get certifications like PMP and CSPM-2, Nick excels in coordinating efforts across sales, engineering, testing, and marketing teams. The IoT device projects he has participated in include Beacons, LoRa devices, gateways, and smart plugs.
Nick He
Nick He
Nick, a seasoned project manager in our R&D department, brings a wealth of experience to MOKOSMART, having previously served as a project engineer at BYD. His expertise in R&D brings a well-rounded skill to his IoT project management. With a solid background spanning 6 years in project management and get certifications like PMP and CSPM-2, Nick excels in coordinating efforts across sales, engineering, testing, and marketing teams. The IoT device projects he has participated in include Beacons, LoRa devices, gateways, and smart plugs.
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