Reading Alessia’s recent post about her experiments with beacons reminded me of a post that I have been meaning to write for a while, regarding my previous dabbling with building location-aware applications. Beacons are a powerful tool by which to provide fine-grained location services to applications, but need to be used carefully, and really need to be part of a larger mix of technologies in order to provide the richest experiences. In this post, I will look at the weaknesses I have previously encountered using beacons, and outline some of the strategies I have used to mitigate those weaknesses.
“Just like lighthouses have helped sailors navigate the world for thousands of years, electronic beacons can be used to provide precise location and contextual cues within apps to help you navigate the world.” (The Google Beacons development team)
What I find thrilling about beacons is that in their simplest sense they are unaware of themselves or any devices around them and we – humans – are not aware of them. So how is possible that these tiny transmitters are being used to help people in their daily lives? According to reports, 5 million beacons attached to the walls around the world are used to offer great help to people with regard to an array of things like travel, shopping, parking, entertainment, transportation, inventory management, assets tracking, indoor navigation and at last but not least in the healthcare space through more efficient processes and improved patient-care.
Wellness First is a fictitious gym that utilizes beacons to improve the customer experience. In this post we’ll take a close look at the Ionic Framework Mobile App I’ve built that uses Estimote beacons to target a customer located near the room where a Yoga class is just about to start and offers an unbeatable discount.