2017-03-20

Using Eddystone beacons with CliqTags

Using beacons with CliqTags is a great and low cost way to provide context/location based information, be it for information and/or interaction, for the moment or over time.

Wellcore Battery-powered Beacon

There are primarily two technologies used on the market:

  • Apple iBeacon, that set the ball rolling
  • Google Eddystone, that provides added functionality

Whether iBeacon or Eddystone, what we are talking about is small devices that can be placed wherever it’s relevant to provide information about that physical spot, by them continuously sending out a short message via Bluetooth Smart, that can be detected by mobile devices.

All larger manufacturers of beacons support both iBeacon and Eddystone.

Eddystone comes in two flavors:

  • Eddystone-UID, that is like iBeacon in that it transmits an identity that needs to be interpreted into something else
  • Eddystone-URL, that transmits a URL, for navigating to that Web site, supported by Google Chrome on iOS and Android

Benefits with the combination

CliqTags…

  • …handles all the content needs, so after having set up a few Eddystone-URL beacons, you can focus on the content that should show up, and change it at any time
  • …also provides means for interaction, so it can be used for e.g. on-the-spot surveys etc
  • …links are short enough to fit in an Eddystone beacon without having to use a separate link shortening service
  • …also supports other means to access the created content, for situations where beacons are not applicable, e.g. outside venues you control, in print, etc

Advice

  • Not that many use Chrome on iOS, Bluetooth needs to be active and notifications from Eddystone need to be activated, so it’s better for long term scenarios than e.g. short campaigns, unless there’s a possibility to educate, which goes for beacons in general
  • If possible, go for USB- or mains-connected beacons, so you won’t encounter the dreaded “battery low” issue on potentially 100s of beacons
  • Google doesn’t provide beacons, but there are many manufacturers that do; if you want advice about suitable beacons for your scenario, please let us know
  • Be careful about line of sight: Don’t place beacons behind other things, and especially not ones containing metal and water; that will dampen the signal considerably
  • Mark the beacons with the URL, to simplify later maintenance