Business Technology

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Real business applications for Bluetooth beacons – and how they can help your bottom line

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Context and awareness of our surroundings helps us to make important decisions every day, without even realising it. The senses humans use every day help us to decide how to react to situations and influence our behaviour. While our phones have some context, such as date, time, geo-location and some sensory information, they aren’t always as smart as we need them to be.

What are Bluetooth beacons?

Bluetooth beacons are an assistive technology that help to connect physical objects or spaces with mobile devices, helping to provide context to the areas that we’re in or the things we are in front of.

In the simplest terms, they can help to provide what a user needs, in the right location, at the right time.

While beacons aren’t the magical answer for every business or every situation, in many instances, they could prove to be transformational and save millions in costs and time.

If we look at some of the use cases of beacons, we see that they can benefit everything from fieldwork, construction, healthcare, transportation and travel and leisure.

Engineering, maintenance or other field based roles

Often, engineers’ time will be spent going to every asset, checking it, logging information about it and, if required, spending time maintaining it. In many cases, engineers may be equipped with paper based documentation, or a mobile device to log the information. In each case, time would be spent logging each part of the process or finding relevant documentation.

With beacons, when an engineer approaches each asset, it can trigger past service history and then provide the engineer with exactly what they need, based on the asset they are in front of.

By utilising other sensors, that can log the temperature, electricity, humidity, pressure or others, the potential is for the engineer to focus on the assets that need attention. From the interaction with beacons, the information can be collected and fed into the company’s backend, to help with business intelligence.

In one example, using beacons to save around 30 seconds off on-site process for one company, could equate to over £10m of efficiency savings when applied over a large field team.

Construction

By placing beacons on site, the right information can be made available based on where employees are, or the task they are doing.

If implemented properly, entering into a beacon range could trigger a safety alert which needs to be acknowledged by employees, via a wearable or on their mobile devices. This can have obvious benefits from a site safety and legal perspective, for both the employee and the company.

Thinking beyond this, connecting beacons with sensors will allow companies to evaluate conditions on site. Integrating beacons with sensors can help to identify when an environment is no longer safe or suitable for construction workers to be in.

Read about more sectors and beacons on the next page…

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