Google's Eddystone Moves Beacons Back into the Spotlight

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Eddystone has done for the beacon space what Donald Trump has for presidential politics. This statement is open to wide interpretation, of course, but my read on it was that it has made beacons interesting again.

The proclamation emerged from the lips of Steve Statler, principal of Statler Consulting LLC, during a panel yesterday at IoT Evolution Expo.

Google unveiled Eddystone, an open beacon format, last month.

This beacon development is interesting for a number of reasons, Statler noted. First of all, it comes from Google, whose Android operating system runs on 80 percent of smartphones. Eddystone will also allow for tight integration with Google’s popular browser Chrome, Maps, and a lot of other great stuff. And, by the way, Google is now offering management services for beacons of all stripes; in addition to management, Google will store beacon metadata for you.

Image via Shutterstock

It’s worthwhile to note, Statler said, that Google is the world’s largest advertising company. A March Business Insider story reports that advertising behemoth WPP invested $2.9 billion of its $75 billion media bookings in Google ads, making Google WPP’s biggest media partner.

With Eddystone, Google could move beacons forward in a way that Apple iBeacon and UriBeacon (also created by Google) haven’t because, as ABI Research analyst Dan Shey described it, the new solution combines the best of the two—plus it addresses the transmission of telemetry. UriBeacon, Shey explained, relies on having a connection to the physical Web—meaning a URL is associated with an object. Apple’s iBeacon, meanwhile, requires an application on the phone, said Shey, who was also an IoT Evolution Expo panelist.

Beacons are essentially lighthouses, Statler, who said they are “like digital cookies in the physical world.” They can help trigger an action; by noting a customer is by a certain display, he said, it can inform a system to send that customer a coupon to incentivize them to purchase a product in that vicinity. Beacons also can enable quick and easy payments at the point of sale.

During his IoT Evolution Expo presentation, Statler showed a Google video on hands-free payment—making the point that it can be inconvenient to fish your credit card out to pay at a restaurant or store.

“Google is testing this in San Francisco,” Statler said, “and my prediction is that it will work pretty well.” 




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Executive Editor, TMC

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