Apple is the developer of the iBeacon protocol. Apple introduced it at the Worldwide Developers Conference of 2013. Since then, multiple vendors have come up with hardware transmitters that were compatible with long range iBeacon. These are typically known as beacons and are categorized as a type of BLE devices. These beacons have the capability to broadcast their identifiers to nearby smart devices. This technology allows tablets, portable computers, and smartphones to perform certain actions when they are in the proximity of an iBeacon.
We can use an iBeacon for making an indoor positioning system. This can help smartphones to identify their location or access contextual information. For instance, an iBeacon can help a smartphone to navigate through a large store. Brick and mortar retail stores frequently use long range iBeacon for pitching special offers to their customers, mobile commerce, mobile marketing, and mobile payments. This helps in setting up an effective sales funnel.
Another application of long range iBeacon is that it allows for distributing messages at points of interest. For instance, we can use it for sending notifications at a bus stop, a conference room, a departmental store, or a vending machine. We can accomplish all of this with maximum precision and minimum power consumption.
Know your needs before buying a long range iBeacon
Before you start looking for a long range iBeacon, you must know your requirements. The following factors will help you decide,
Most long range iBeacon manufacturers claim that their product has a battery life of 1-2 years. However, when we test them to broadcast at an Apple compliant frequency then the battery life turns out to be much less. IoT experts often extensively test beacons for Apple compliant frequencies. Their testing has revealed that coin-cell based beacons have a battery life of only 2 months. Therefore, you need to find a long range iBeacon which has a long battery life. This will significantly reduce maintenance costs.
We mostly use long range iBeacon in indoor settings. However, with increasing innovation, we might have to use them in outdoor space. But this may come with some problems such as frost, rain, ice, and extreme temperatures. Water is a highly absorbing medium and it can find its way through complicated spaces like museums and hotels. Long range iBeacon deployed in such spaces might incur severe damage. However, extreme temperatures can also contribute to significantly reducing battery life. Therefore, long range iBeacon must have significant strength if we are to use them in an outdoor setting. So, it is important for you to know if you want generic indoor beacons or all-weather outdoor beacons.
Use Cases/Peer Reviews
Long range iBeacon manufacturers often claim to have superficial features in their product. You must not give in to such temptations. If you are thinking about deploying long range iBeacon for your business then you must ask experts for their opinion. This is very important and you can greatly benefit from it in making your decision. You should also review specific use cases as it will reveal more information. For instance, if you are thinking about deploying long range iBeacon in a museum then it is a good idea to ask another museum using beacons regarding their insight.
Comparison of long range iBeacon from different manufacturers
Now that you have finalized your long range iBeacon requirements, we can now take a look at the available options in the market.
These are manufactured by an Australian firm known as Plus Location Systems. They come in a cat-shaped casing and have two AA batteries. These batteries are replaceable and they are connected to the wall through a mounting plate. They also offer SDK and Data analysis options.
Gelo is an all-weather beacon and you can use it for a variety of deployments. They offer a Gelo SDK compatible model as well. However, they are still working on the Apple iBeacon compatible version and they will launch it next summer.
These are manufactured by Qualcomm which is a big hardware company. Gimbal offers a range of 50 meters however it has a battery life of only 2-3 months. They also offer web-based tools and a set of APIs which have various functionalities. However, if you intend to use Gimbal then you will have to pay a fixed amount per user. This might be acceptable if you intend to deploy it in a small store. But if you are intending to deploy Gimbal in a museum or a football ground then it will cost you a lot.
Some IoT experts are quite fond of Kontakt because of its aesthetics. These are nicely designed and offer customization. You can insert your own branding on Kontakt and use them in any color of your liking. Kontakt also offers a CMS and an extensive back-end.
They offer integration kits and beacons tailored for retail purposes. If you want to place the beacons behind paintings then the integration kit will come in handy. Although this is quite convenient, the SDK is not complete and you will have to wait for that.
Where to buy your long range iBeacon?
If you are looking to use iBeacon for your business then you should go with a vendor whom you can trust and rely on. MOKO Smart is a renowned name when it comes to IoT solutions. We offer you MOKO Beacon which is a high-performance long range iBeacon. Our hardware team has come up with efficient circuit design for MOKO Beacon and it also boasts an efficient enclosure design.
MOKO Beacon comes with a seamlessly integrated Lithium Battery which has a long battery life and the smart integration allows for low power consumption. We offer customization in terms of branding and you can place your logo or company name on it. We also have a dedicated application on the app store which is named MokoBeacon. You can use it for setting up your CMS. Feel free to reach out to us if you want to know more about its features or if you want a quote.