Beacon vs. Beacon Pro: The Best Beacon for Deployments

November 28, 2016

What’s different about the Beacon Pro and how can it lead to the best beacon deployments? Why now?
Beacons come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but there are a number of things you can always expect, like a CPU, radio, or batteries. One of our latest beacons, the Beacon Pro, was carefully designed in response to several issues that beacon users regularly have with their hardware. Here, we’ll explain exactly what makes the Beacon Pro different and why it matters. (Read more about beacons)

What’s different about the Beacon Pro? Why now?

It has been three years since the release of the iBeacon protocol and a lot has changed since then in beacon technology. Software has expanded drastically as increasingly more businesses turn to proximity solutions. Hospitals, hotels, museums, and everything in between can benefit from beacons in a number of ways; that’s why the number of existing apps and platforms in the ecosystems is on the rise. Moreover, while these sleek customer-facing apps are receiving all the spotlight, beacon hardware is also going through a revolution.
Ordinary beacons have a long lifetime compared to other comparable technologies. They are made of simple hardware and can be deployed with ease. The existing specs, however, also represent consumers’ past expectations with beacons. If beacons are to move into the mainstream and be leveraged by more than just early adopters, the hardware needs an upgrade. Without enhanced hardware, the cost and headache of testing, deploying, and maintaining a beacon infrastructure could lead to huge drawbacks and costs. That’s why our latest beacons were designed with their future owners in mind. We wanted to design the best beacon for full-scale, long-term rollouts.
Customers deserve great apps and proximity-based possibilities, and executives need great hardware that they can quickly and easily leverage.

Here’s why Beacon Pro may be our best beacon yet


Made to move

Beacon installation is a bit of an art. The exact placement location and settings may be carefully and logically planned, but physically attaching the beacon to a wall is not an exact science. They are usually affixed using tape, though it is often possible to mount them on a nail. This can make moving or replacing beacons painfully time consuming. The Beacon Pro was made to be moved. It comes with an added mounting clip that can be affixed to the wall, making it easy to detach and reattach the beacon as needed.

One in a million

Even the best beacon deployment plan can go awry when you’re not sure where the beacon you’re looking for is. Beacons are designed to be almost identical. When a manager orders a box of one hundred beacons to install in their store, it can be entirely overwhelming. In order to find one specific beacon, whether in a box or a venue, you’ll have to check each one. There’s no doubt that, if we want to make the best beacon technology, we need to find an easier way. That’s why we put a single, powerful LED light in each Beacon Pro. The next time you need to find your beacon, this LED will show you the way.

Smart and sensible

Beacons were made to be simple, but it’s time to make them smarter. Ordinary beacon capabilities are limited to sending out a continuous radio wave that can be edited only in the appropriate web panel or app. The Beacon Pro can do that too--but it also includes a light sensor and accelerometer to update the cloud about changes in movement or light. When combined with technology like the Gateway, you can use beacons to trigger actions without having to intervene or even extend their battery life by having them power down at certain times.

Longer lasting

You’ve done a POC and deployed some 200 beacons. What happens when it’s time to replace them? Technology maintenance and replacement is a part of any infrastructure, but modern batteries can do much more than previous iterations. Battery life should not be something a user has to begrudgingly accept. It should be optimized, extendable, and as long-lasting as possible. The Beacon Pro comes with one of the best beacon lifetimes, lasting a minimum of 60 months. Plus, this number can be easily and reliably extended by utilizing the built-in sensors. Using the seriously power-efficient Nordic nRF52, and with the possibility to alternatively be powered by USB, this beacon is made for the long haul. You deserve the best beacon battery life possible.

Better accessibility

Instead of having to manually search for your beacon every time you want to check battery lives or deliver an update, built-in NFC technology lets you scan for a beacon’s UID instantly. That means faster access to beacon information and less time spent searching and typing ID numbers.
What does this mean for the future?
Proximity technology is no longer for niche use cases. Software upgrades and new apps are helping get end-users on board. Now, businesses need the best beacon hardware for their deployment. This will enable more firms to get onboard with proximity and lend the industry fresh momentum as well as use cases. It will also push manufacturers to raise the bar for hardware standards. Beacons should be easy to deploy and capable of more complex actions than they were in 2013. This is one strong step towards better beacons and the best beacon infrastructures yet.


Hannah Augur

Content writer / tech blogger / geek based in Berlin. Hannah reports on all things tech and has a medium-sized tolerance for buzzwords.

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