Google improving the beacon construction

July 17, 2015
Romet Kallas
Account Executive

Just like the Eddystone lighthouse was the fourth construction to guide ships safe passage through the dangerous Eddystone rocks, Google is now improving the beacon construction.

And how does Google usually facilitate rapid growth and product development? Create an open source standard, of course.

According to statistics from Proxbook there are already over 830,000 proximity sensors deployed in the world, and iBeacon is the most popular technology. Ambitions and hopes have turned into facts and figures thanks to many successful iBeacon rollouts and published case studies. One of these studies, from inMarket with 36 million monthly active app users, concludes that, on average, its beacon platform generates a 14 percent increase in number of products purchased during a store visit. When Swirl rolled out a successful beacon solution for Hudson’s Bay Co, it resulted in a 50% or greater engagement after the initial push message. And finally the Chinese jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook generated more than $16M from Sensoro’s beacon and proximity solution.

Despite the limited cross-platform support of iBeacons, the proximity industry has demonstrated the potential to break into the commercial mainstream, with more and more use cases showcasing how to make brick and mortar stores relevant again. With Eddystone’s features, like being able to broadcast three types of signals (UID, URL, TLM*) and its open source nature, we believe the initial growth in the market is now set to accelerate. By making its new platform open source and partnering with the biggest beacon OEMs, Google is looking for rapid growth.

This growth coupled with Eddystones ability to mesh together the «The physical web» and the iBeacon standard, might just be the beginning of a proximity revolution. Lets us explain why.

Several proximity software and hardware companies, support the Eddystone platform from day one, like Estimote, Kontakt.io, Bluvision, Radius Networks, Accent Systems, Lightcurb, Beacons inside and Blesh. The full potential is however not extracted, as only a few hardware providers are capable of broadcasting the two packets Eddystone-URL and UID at the same time. That said, we believe that it is just a matter of time before Eddystone URL  is integrated into the browser or better yet directly into Android OS. This is the revolution. In other words, when a customer does not have the relevant app to receive proximity communication, they could still receive an URL leading to the download page.

Eddystone does not eliminate the need for an app. Specialized software will handle the more advanced solutions and serve rich data between various systems, with the difference being that the biggest hurdle for proximity solution providers, to funnel end users into the appropriate proximity app, will be less of a problem. And Google might be close to removing the hurdle all together. The combination of UUID and URL could drastically increase the adaptation rate for apps, by simply notifying the customer via URL of the benefits before downloading it.

This alone gives Eddystone a clear advantage over iBeacon in retail as well as other industries. And then you of course have the 1 billion Android users.

We are yet to see how the Eddystone will perform on iOS and Apple’s response to Eddystone. But now that Google is fully onboard, their improved beacon construction is making the proximity industry shine brighter than ever before, giving retailers and brands safe passage in the otherwise difficult to navigate waters of customer communication.

Eddystone-UIDBeacon’s unique ID number. This frame type triggers push notifications or app actions, just like the Proximity UUID that you know from iBeacon.

Eddystone-URL(UriBeacon’s successor) An URL that can be broadcasted by a beacon or other object. Once a user’s device receives such signals, it displays URLs broadcasted by nearby emitters, ranked by proximity.

Eddystone-TLM(Telemetry) Data obtained by sensors. This frame type enables you to trigger different actions, depending on different conditions, such as temperature, air pollution, loudness, or humidity.

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