Exploring Beacons

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Exploring Beacons

By: Allexxandra Nevison

One of the reasons why the major Digital Marketing Technology is needed is because it can encompass many topics within the marketing world.

To start out, Allexx had some important questions about beacons and how they might be used. The following questions are what she came up with:

  • What is a beacon?
  • Can a beacon only be used with iPhone or IOS software?
  • What items can be used as a beacon?
  • Can a beacon only be used if Bluetooth is turned on?
  • How secure is this software and how invasive is it?
  • How long until the messages appear?
  • What is the primary goal of a beacon?
  • How many different beacon software’s are currently being utilized?
  • How do you set up a beacon?
  • How close do you have to be to a beacon for it to transmit data to your phone?

What is a beacon?

A beacon is a Bluetooth enabled device that allows the beacon to communicate messages to your device by the micro positioning of you and your device.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are very similar in the aspect they are able to show your location; however, Wi-Fi can only approximate your location depending on if you are within range of the router/modem. Bluetooth communicates at a much shorter range and allows the beacon to pull your devices micro positioning which is much more exact than that of Wi-Fi.

How will Beacon’s Impact the Marketing World?

Beacons are going to be the way of the future by sending cards, tags, webhooks and notifications to your cellular device based upon your micro positioning.

Let imagine a scenario for a moment: You are a college student who has to be very conscientious with spending habits. While shopping at the local grocery store, you are pondering over which paper towels are on sale… Meanwhile your phone delivers a notification saying that Bounty is buy one get one half off.

Your phone received the notification because your micro positioning met the requirements the marketers had implemented within the beacon.

Beacons have the opportunity to target customers that are specifically looking at a product and possibly persuade them to buy items or more items by delivering sales and specials directly to their phone. This allows companies who choose to utilize this powerful device to market to all customers with a cell phone.

Can a beacon only be used with iPhone or IOS software?

Any smart device can be used with a beacon as long as the app is downloaded. You have to download the corresponding app in order for your device to actively search and be searched by the beacon in order for the notification to work.

Can a beacon only be used if Bluetooth is turned on?

A beacon can only be used if Bluetooth is turned on as this is how the device and the beacon communicate with one another.

How secure is this software and how invasive is it?

The beacon software itself is very secure and will not notify phones that do not have the Beaconstac app downloaded; however, the security and permissions are specific to each individual app implementing beacon software.

How long until the messages appear?

The messages are notifications and appear on your devices screen until you have either dismissed the notification or selected to open it. Once the notification rule/card has been opened you receive two prompts, one to dismiss the notification and one to continue to the prompted website.

What is the primary goal of a beacon?

The primary goal of a beacon is to market products, sales and promote a better sales experience for all customers. You are able to receive notifications straight to your device without having to search for sales or promotions. It benefits the customer as well as the business because it could persuade the customer into buying more than they intended at a discounted price.

How close do you have to be to a beacon for it to transmit data to your phone?

You are able to set proximity settings to your beacons while creating notifications, rules and cards. Each rule has to be programmed with the distance on how close or far the device has to be from the beacon to receive or no longer receive the notifications.

Below you will see the examples of Beacons and how they interact with your smartphone devices.

What are the main types and differences of beacons?

How to set up your Beaconstac beacon:

First download the app from either the App Store or the Play Store:

Beaconstac is currently only compatible with Android or IOS operating systems.

Logging in will show all beacons associated with your Beaconstac account.

You must create the rule/notification in order for your beacon to notify your phone.

Listed below are steps to show how to use a beacon:

You must create the card, notification, webhook or tag in order to create your rule.

In the example below, we are going to create a notification. Select notification.

Beaconstac previews how your phone will look when the notification appears.

  1. Select Rules

2. The rules page shows all active rules and which beacon the rule is assigned to. Select add rule if you are wanting to create a new rule.

You are able to select and assign multiple beacons to the same rule; however, we are selecting a single beacon at this time.

Select your beacons identifying number from the drop down.

The trigger rule allows you to custom select how long of a period the device must be in the beacons proximity in order for the rule to work, called dwell time. In the example shown above, the device will receive a notification upon entering the beacons proximity after three seconds of dwell time.

Select the type of action you wish the beacon to perform. In the example above, notification was selected and you must choose which notification you want to appear on the devices screen.

You are able to configure the beacon once the rule has been established online at Beaconstac.com


Log into the app and click “Configure Beacon.” Tap the wheel to begin scanning for the beacon.

Once the beacon has been located/selected you are able to choose the rule you would like to assign

Confirm the rule to be selected. The next screen shows the rules have been assigned.

Home screen notification
Pull down notification
Media/ Video notification

The goal for this project was to understand and utilize the beacons in order to display a marketing notification over all students’ smartphones in order to marketing this program. We configured two beacons and placed them where students pick up their textbooks.

However, there were some issues we ran into with the notifications being displayed over devices. The research indicates and the Beaconstac app displays a demo or how the card/notification would look if were assigned to a current app. Meaning even though we had displayed and configured the beacons, phones were not receiving notifications.

Two examples of Beacons we see in normal retail stores would be when you enter the Verizon store. I received a notification that notified me that I was eligible for an upgrade while I was in their store, close to their Beacon’s proximity. I was only able to receive the notification because I have the Verizon Mobile app downloaded. Another example is with the Cartwheel app by Target. When you are close enough to Target the notification will be sent to your phone welcoming you to the store and displaying the most marketable sale.

UW-Stout currently does not have an app created for the students smartphones so therefore, even though we created the rule / card notification it was not delivered to the students phones. The content of the card was change from an Https:// to an Http:// in order to make the notification less secure in hopes to reach more students; however, even then many students did not receive the notification.

After collaboration between Kevin W. Tharp (Program Director of DMT major) and I, we decided that a UW-Stout app would be incredibly beneficial and has a variety of uses for the future including attendance, checking in textbook rentals, signing up for school projects and etc. Overall our project was not completed as planned but we learned from our mistakes and are looking forward to advancing and changing the beacons for future opportunities.


Bluetooth Beacons | Buy iBeacon & Eddystone Beacons. (2018, January 1). Retrieved October 4, 2018, from http://bluetoothbeacons.com/

Get Started with Beacons | Beacons. (2018, May 25). Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://developers.google.com/beacons/get-started

Maycotte, H. O. (2015, September 1). Beacon Technology: The Where, What, Who, How and Why. Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/homaycotte/2015/09/01/beacon-technology-the-what-who-how-why-and-where/#5c0bdc6b1aaf

What is iBeacon? (2012). Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://developer.estimote.com/ibeacon/

What is iBeacon? A Guide to Beacons. (2014, March 19). Retrieved October 4, 2018, from http://www.ibeacon.com/what-is-ibeacon-a-guide-to-beacons/

Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth Low Energy (iBeacon) Technology. (2014, November 3). Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://blog.beaconstac.com/2014/11/wi-fi-vs-bluetooth-low-energy-ibeacon-technology/