When is an iBeacon NOT an iBeacon?

Well there are a couple of answers to this;

Firstly when it hasn’t been certified by Apple, but more importantly…

When the battery dies.

You can have the best setup in the world, but if that little watch battery dies on you, it’s game over.

We ordered one of the first batches of Estimote beacons back in the day. These beacons have never been deployed as we were concerned with the lack of ability to change the broadcast numbers.

These great looking little beacons have been sitting on our desk doing nothing.

We thought “doing nothing” in the iBeacon world meant not having the broadcast numbers picked up by and app, but in this case it really was doing nothing.

Our batteries are all dead which means so are the beacons. This may have happened over the last few days, but it may have happened months ago. Whenever the batteries shed their mortal coil they’ve left us with some pretty, but unusable pieces of plastic.

Not a problem for us as we were only playing with them and have many different sizes and types of beacon. However, if these had been deployed we’d be in a pretty bad mood right now – and so would our partners.

This isn’t a dig at Estimote. We know that they have since allowed access to change the beacons numbers and we think they recently upgraded their firmware to provide longer battery life. In fact we also have two other beacons using the small battery – both of those are dead too, although it’s easier to replace the battery.

The moral of this story is that you need a robust solution to battery management. There are a lot of clients out there that have been talked in to setting up iBeacon solutions in their stores. Most of these will be battery powered beacons and this means they’ll die.

Don’t wait for your partners to complain – get out there and regularly check the signals AND put in place a system for replacement.

iBeacon bugs fixed in iOS7.1.2

As reported across numerous apple forums, we believe that iOS 7.1.2 will fix a couple of issues with iBeacon connectivity.

This was also going to be the case and we’re certainly glad these issues are being addressed.

This issue didn’t seem to affect all users, but it’s pleasing to see that the iBeacon experience will be enhanced with the new update.

Carriers are being seeded with the new release and so the update won’t be far away.

We’ll certainly be updating, but… we’ll be keeping a couple of devices running the current versions for testing purposes.

TESCO iBeacon Trial

Hat’s off to Tesco – they are running an iBeacon trial on one of their Essex stores.

There’s not a lot of information coming out of the trial and, why would they want to give out this commercially sensitive information.

There are a few references to this trial in some of the mobile business web sites, but they are all missing the point.

[They] pontificate on the whys and hows of this trial and comment that, “Tesco don’t want to alienate the shoppers by providing too many push notifications etc etc”.

This type of thinking (and this isn’t Tesco’s thinking, we’re sure) is wrong on every level.

Why should Tesco customers download an app for a supermarket and then NOT be sent notifications.

This system will only work on the very latest Android devices and iPhones that have been upgraded to iOS7 (and are as new/newer than an iPhone 4s).

Users are going to try this technology in a way that ANY old DVD was worth having back in the 1990’s. It doesn’t matter what push notifications are sent. It doesn’t matter whether it works. It doesn’t matter whether only 4 people that go through the doors actually interact with this system.

What does matter, however, is that Tesco are thinking ahead. They’ve decided that they need to experiment with this tech’ and they need to do it quickly.

iBeacons are not going to go away and within 18 months every phone being used will be equipped to work with BlueTooth Low Energy devices.

Take a bow Tesco.