Beacons have gotten a lot of attention in recent years. Since Apple announced its iBeacon specification, a new industry has exploded and many marquee retailers, entertainment venues, out-of-home networks and more have integrated the technology to enhance their abilities to understand and engage mobile users at particular places. However, like with any new industry and technology, there is a lot of confusion floating around. Determining which form factor and power option to adopt can be a difficult task that varies from customer to customer. It is important to keep in mind that beacons are not a one-size-fits-all sort of solution, and even given the high flexibility of the products, some are more optimized than others for particular applications. With that said, here are some helpful things for you to keep in mind to determine which one is a winning solution for you.
The main and most important question is what sort of use cases are you trying to enable, and as a result, where will the devices need to be placed? Because a user’s smartphone can only detect a beacon’s Bluetooth signal if they are near it, you’ll need to be strategic on placement. Based on this, different sorts of form factors and power configurations might do the trick. These can be battery-powered options like Gimbal Proximity Beacon Series 21 or Gimbal Proximity Beacon Series 5 , or could be battery-independent choices like Gimbal Proximity Beacon U-Series 5.
Another thing to keep in mind is duration. Are you planning on having beacons just to last a couple of weeks or months, or do they need them to last for years? Again, this has a lot of broader implications; will the beacons be used again; is it a one-off scenario? For temporary uses (like events or festivals) our coin cell battery-powered Gimbal Proximity Beacon Series 10 is ideal. For longer-term use cases, the Series 21 and U-Series 5 are the better choice.
Additionally, what scale will your beacon program have? Depending on how many different locations and beacons you use, different form factors may be better suited for you. For a nationwide retailer, it would probably make more sense to deploy beacons that can be installed once and do not need to have batteries swapped out or maintained. Imagine how much higher the cost would be if every few months you had to dedicate resources to taking them down, swapping batteries and testing to make sure they are working properly! Conversely, if you are looking to power a festival with a location-first mobile experience, a temporary beacon would make more sense.
The good news is between battery-powered beacons, USB beacons and beacon firmware (enabling other devices to function like a beacon), we have you covered. Additionally, it might make the most sense for you to have a blend of form factors.
Still have questions? Reach out and we will be happy to assist you.