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

Healthcare

In healthcare, beacons can trigger apps to provide patients and staff with the right information, at the right time and in the right place. This could include information about how to navigate around a hospital, delivered via voice prompts or on screen messages. Equally, it could be used to bring up the right patient information, allowing doctors to easily make updates, without having to spend time looking for specific notes.

Following conversations with various healthcare providers, it has become apparent that beacons hold a lot of promise to help provide better information to both employees and patients. They can be used for everything from asset tracking and information, to navigation around hospitals.

Transport

In the transport industry, context is important from both an internal and external perspective. Better intelligence can be fed through to help provide rail companies with better intelligence about the status of trains, their location, schedule cards and maintenance alerts or issues. This information can also be used to provide customers with better information about delays, or even how busy certain services may be.

Beacons can be utilised to help to create driver advisory tools that provide drivers with context based on their location, especially in areas with poor GPS coverage. Beacons can also be utilised to improve the accuracy of GPS, when properly integrated along routes.

Travel and Leisure

Beacons have the ability to provide information to users in their native language, by triggering the right information at the right time. London is one of the worlds top tourist destinations, yet very few signs are in anything other than English. Whilst English is one of the most spoken languages in the world, visitors may not be as proficient as signage may suggest.

The technology could be placed around airports, so that notifications of delays and gate assignments could be delivered instantly to passengers mobile devices. Taking it a step further, beacons placed in transport hubs could push other value-added services to passengers, like transfer or car hire information.

Logistics

Some logistics firms are also interested in using beacons for the whole logistics cycle. This includes picking and packing in the warehouse, through to loading onto the vehicle and using it as a security and health and safety feature for all operatives.

For example, if a user walks into a particular area where special equipment is required, and it isnt detected, the user can be alerted and information can be sent back in real-time to the controller to monitor the situation. Additionally, this could also be used to track whether users enter areas that arent safe.

Thinking beyond devices

When it comes to utilising beacons, this is a technology that companies can have complete control over as they will generally be deployed within their own spaces and make up inventory. As a result, companies can choose to use them in whichever way seems fit for adding context and proximity intelligence to the ways in which end users engage.

Its not a technology that is going to be useful to every company, or for every situation, but in the examples shown above, beacons can deliver a huge amount of value and help to deliver benefits across businesses.

Mike Crooks is head of Mubaloo Innovation Lab.

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