In the year 2015 Google Inc. presented their response to the iBeacon technology from Apple – the Eddystone standard.
As the developer stated, one of the advantages of the new protocol is that there’s no need for users to install an app in order to catch a signal from a beacon.
And though this statement is true, without an app the technology’s possibilities are significantly restricted.
Let’s now find out how the Eddystone technology work:
Here’s a citation from the Google representatives: “We want beacons to be useful even when there’s no app. For that reason, in our Physical Web project we will use Eddystone beacons that transmit URL-links to help people interact with the surrounding environment” (https://google.github.io/physical-web/)”.
What does it mean from a point of view of a user and not a programmer?
Beacons (Eddystone and iBeacon) with a certain periodicity (for example, once a second) transmit their identifier to the surroundings. When the user’s smartphone gets to the coverage area of a beacon signal it catches the identifier.
Now, to show the information we need on a smartphone screen, the identifier should be processed. And that is exactly what an app does.
In app we set in advance the conditions for the ad to display. So, for each separate user there’s particular personalized information shown.
For example, we can address a user by his name, show him different types of ads depending on his age and gender, as well as thank him for visiting our shop – and do all that with just a single beacon put at the entrance.
The settings for the device are customized in an app.
How does Eddystone work when there’s no app?
When there’s no app installed on a user’s smartphone it is still able to catch the signal. Unfortunately, in this case we face a range of restrictions and drawbacks:
- devices working on the iOS can’t process a signal from an Eddystone beacon. To work with the protocol there should the Google Today widget be installed.
- without an app users will only receive one URL-link to a webpage for each beacon. To see the information displayed a user will need to enable mobile data transmission, launch a browser and follow the received link.
- And finally, the major drawback of the absence of an app is that there’s no possibility to target messages, manage personification and collect user analytics data by the criteria set. A single beacon will transmit one and the same URL-link to all the users.