FAQs

Answers to our frequently asked questions
What is a beacon?

Beacons are small physical devices about the size of a small coin. They use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to broadcast their location to nearby mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet.

Compatible mobile apps on bluetooth-enabled mobile devices listen for the signals being broadcast by a beacon.

Upon receiving a beacon broadcast, the app can trigger a relevant action on the mobile device, such as displaying a welcome note or a relevant discount, all without user interaction.

Beacons transmit but do not receive information from your personal device.

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is a protocol first introduced by Apple in 2013.

Beacons use the iBeacon protocol to transmit location information to nearby Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices running compatible apps.

Upon receiving a beacon broadcast, the app can trigger a relevant action on the mobile device, such as displaying a welcome note or a relevant discount, all without user interaction.

How do beacons work?

Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transmit micro-location information to to nearby Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices running compatible apps.

Upon receiving a beacon broadcast, the app can trigger a relevant action on the mobile device, such as displaying a welcome note or a relevant discount, all without user interaction.

What is an SDK?

SDK stands for Software Development Kit.

In the context of iBeacon protocols, SDKs refer to micro-location code that can be injected into existing mobile apps to receive beacon transmissions.

The app can then trigger a relevant action, such as displaying a welcome note or a relevant discount, all without user interaction.

What is Bluetooth Low Energy?

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a transmitting system for making wireless connections over short distances.

BLE consumes significantly less power than earlier Bluetooth technologies. Beacons use BLE to transmit their location to nearby users via bluetooth-enabled mobile devices running compatible apps.

What is the difference between using a beacon and QR code?

The key difference between how a beacon is used for marketing, as opposed to a QR code, is that beacons enable businesses to proactively engage with a customer, without need for the customer to decide to take action.

Beacons broadcast their location to nearby mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet.

Compatible apps installed on the mobile device can launch or open automatically when triggered by a beacon, without the customer having to do anything. Messages can then be displayed on the mobile device to enhance the customer’s experience in a specific location.

A Quick Response (QR) code is a machine-readable code made up of a unique array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs.

QR codes require the user to see something they wish to engage with, and then read the QR code via the camera on a mobile device.

Another difference between using beacons and QR codes, is that the same QR code can be used in multiple locations, for example on printed marketing material. So the use of a QR code does not give information back to the business on exactly where the customer is, when they engage with content.

What is NFC?

Evolved from Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Near Field Communication (NFC) uses electromagnetic radio fields to allows a small amount of data to be transmitted between two NFC chip-enabled devices held about 10 centimeters or less from each other.

NFC is the technology used for contactless payments by devices, as well as store and banking cards.

What is a Geofence?

A geofence is a virtual perimeter programmed into Global Positioning Systems (GPS). It uses fixed coordinates to determine whether a user is inside or outside a virtual perimeter.

Geofencing uses GPS, whereas beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transmit information.

Geofencing is most commonly used in larger distances, like a city block.

Do beacons work with the Apple Watch?

Yes. Apple Watch is a smart, wearable device that can send and receive notifications, including those transmitted from a beacon.

Apple Watch interacts with your iPhone’s apps to display notifications.

If you have compatible apps on your bluetooth-enabled mobile device, these can be sent seamlessly to your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch also allows contactless payments via Apple Pay, using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

What is Beacon Spoofing?

Beacon spoofing is the idea where another beacon or phone could be created with the same beacon ID in order to trigger events and messages in a different location than intended by the originator.

After identifying a registered beacon, the mobile device validates the phone’s geo-location to prevent the spoofing of beacons.

Beacons are also provisioned with changing IDs to prevent direct copying of the beacon ID.

How big is our SDK?

Our complete SDK is around 3mb for both Android and iOS.

How often does a beacon transmit a signal?

This is dependent on them manufacturer, and is usually adjustable. But as an example, we often use Bluevision beacons. They are adjustable from 10Hz down to 0.1Hz. Generally, if you are using beacon for long range, you will adjust to lower Hz. For short range, you adjust to higher Hz, as then the delay may have more impact on the experience at close range. The higher the frequency, the more drain on the beacon battery – so this is also taken into account when designing an experience.

What is an ESL?

ESL stands for Electronic Shelf Label. ESLs can be used to update pricing and product information at scale, across large numbers of retail stores in minutes. Localz partners with Display Data, whose ESL solutions feature the latest electrophoretic display (EPD) technology in a range of sizes to deliver high quality, fully graphic product labels.

What is a BESL?

BESLs are BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) enabled ESLs. That is, the ESL has a beacon inside it, which can be used by retailers to enhance customer experiences or staff processes, by knowing exactly where a person is and communicating with them via their smartphone.

What is Mobile Push Messaging?

Push notifications look like SMS text messages and mobile alerts, but they only reach users who have installed your app. Each mobile platform has support for push notifications — iOS, Android, Fire OS, Windows and BlackBerry all have their own services.

What is SMS?

SMS stands for short message service and is also called texting or text messaging. SMS messages or ‘texts’ are usually sent from one mobile phone to another, but can also be sent from some home phones. It is a quick and convenient way of sending a short message to someone.