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.