In this current era, it is easier to locate a food court or a mall using GPS/location based services. But when it comes to locating/navigating the place where GPS does not work, what would you do?
In such scenarios, iBeacon comes into existence. iBeacon is a bluetooth-based beacon technology that allows you to broadcast and receive data in a limited range. Apple version of beacon technology, iBeacon works in two parts, one as a sender device, Broadcaster-beacon device while the other as a receiver, a smartphone-mobile application. With iBeacon one can communicate with different electronic devices around your world like automobile chips, electric switches, home automation appliances etc.
So if you are looking for such an option that helps in locating/navigating in the absence of GPS, iBeacons are the best. You can hire a team of expert iBeacon app developers from any recognized mobile app development firm for your iBeacon app development project. But during the iBeacon app development, developers face several challenges. Here in this article we will put light on all the major challenges and tricks that can help resolve these issues.
How Does an iBeacon Application Works?
An iBeacon application helps in communicating among the electronic world around. The iBeacon App Development is way difficult as compared to the development of ordinary mobile applications. Let’s have a look at how the iBeacon app works.
For a better understanding of yours, Beacons actually work as a battery that supplies power to the transmitter device for a continuous or periodical emission of radio wave signals. This way electronic devices that use iBeacon applications can easily discover the Beacon and start sharing important information like transmitter ID and small packet data. Basically, iBeacon provides one-way communication and makes use of packet data for sending push notifications, SMS, app prompts and other functions. However, modern day devices come featured with iBeacon that offers a facility of both sending and receiving data.
Which Industries are Getting Benefited with the iBeacon App Development?
Here we have listed down industries which are taking advantage of iBeacon apps in different work scenerios. Let’s start with:
In the fashion industry, iBeacon apps are being used for sending push notifications to the
buyer devices. These messages contain information about the aid campaign and fashion retail store, which helps in spreading brand awareness among the targeted audience.
While in the fitness industry, iBeacon applications support keeping track of accuracy and metrics of sports equipment. Thanks to used BLE sensors in the system.
With iBeacon applications, one can keep track of inventory and easily identify products through their exact locations.
Entertainment and Hospitality
Entertainment and hospitality sector is monitoring growth with the use of iBeacon applications for keeping track of their day to day work.
Health and Medicare
It is easier to check on everyday progress and other health movements and activities of patients using iBeacon mobile apps. Thanks to used BLE sensors. The iBeacon technology helping in healthcare app development. You can learn about healthcare app development here.
Challenges iBeacon App Developers Encounter While iBeacon App Development Along With Tricks and Tips to Tackle Such Issues
There are certain challenges iBeacon app developers encounter while developing an iBeacon app. Some of them are listed below:
1. The Right Feature Set
Using the iBeacon app, one can approximate the physical distance between a user and a broadcasting beacon. Now you can share information with the user based on his/her behavioural history in context with the beacon. But to do so, mapping between the beacon and the user is must. Once the mapping is done, the backend of the application starts aggregating the vital information of the user like his/her exact location, time spent and application context. This information will tell you more about the interest of the user so that you can push time-based coupons to that particular beacon’s location and user’s preferences. So these are the factors which are must to keep in mind along with the following aspects while selecting a feature set for iBeacon app.
- Include elements which help in enhancing user’s experience.
- Ensure user privacy
- Include features that do not cripple the app if the beacon is out of range.
2. The Permission Matrix
If a user wants to use features associated with a Beacon, he/she is required to grant location permissions. Along with it, the bluetooth of the device must be turned on. Other than this, there are several parameters which must be fulfilled in order to offer a seamless performance between the app and the beacons. Since these parameters form the permission matrix and it is essential that these parameters should be met in a permission matrix for a proper functioning of a beacon app. Which are:
- The device should have bluetooth specification in order to support beacons.
- Bluetooth should be turned on so that the device can easily interact with the beacons.
- Location services should be enabled.
- The app should have authorization to access the device’s location.
Beacon-enabled applications require permission to access bluetooth and location services, if they are looking to interact with beacons. One can make users enable these services through push-notification when the user is in the range of beacons. But for a new application, the best way to ask for permission access is in the end when the user gets aware of almost all the feautres and is in the range of beacons.
3. Triangulation and Tracking
Since iBeacon offers a one way radio communication therefore there is no choice of developing a two-way communication between the beacon and the application. Due to this reason, beacons that broadcast cannot recognize the users’ devices. Only the advanced iBeacon offers the facility of two-way communication, they can establish connection with the mobile devices and transmit data back to the server. Besides all, this is not the part of iBeacon specifications, so it will drain your device battery significantly.
So the best way is to let the app work itself. It will allow you to connect with the backend and update data with the registered users and personalize the app accordingly.
4. Problems with Hardware and Signals
iBeacons work on the Bluetooth low energy technology. So it is necessary that the application should take care of external signals interactions. Because, the frequency of bluetooth low energy and the Wi-Fi interface falls in the similar spectrum band. It can be a problem for the iBeacon to find the user device.
The beacon signals’ quality may vary considering factors like temperature, device power and others. In other words, we can say the accuracy of signals among different iBeacon hardware manufacturers and the app may vary according to the type and variable information received by them.
5. The Server Piece
An iBeacon app uses a range of variables which requires different business logic scripts as essential for extracting out data accrodingly. Whenever an application reaches in the range of a beacon, it starts accessing the business logic script and gets a list of users registered at that beacon. Not only, the scripts provide filtered information but also try to interpret the meaning of the information. In certain scenarios like when the device drops out of the range of the beacon, it becomes tricky for the application to extract exact information since the updates don’t get recorded in the real time.
The developers can resolve such issues using time based heuristics so that they can easily determine that the users are still present or not. Other than this, there are business logic scripts which help in determining current trends, statistical analysis and drawing conclusions.
6. The App Store Review Process During iBeacon App Development
Navigating the app store is one of the problems developers face during the iBeacon app development. So to resolve this issue, it is important to clearly mention the purpose and working of the application in both public description and review notes. Along with it, don’t forget to add a demo video explaining features of the application and battery disclaimer at the end of the description.
An iBeacon app developer faces above-mentioned challenges during iBeacon app development that other app developers don’t encounter. To tackle these challenges, they can rely on pre-built tools and client library extensions so that the app development can process effortlessly without any redundant glitches. There are several mobile app development firms which are offering the services of iBeacon app development. You can hire a mobile app development agency that suits your requirements and budget. So choose sensibly.
My name is Hemendra Singh. I am Managing Director and co-founder of The NineHertz, a Mobile App Development Company. I am having a keen interest in the latest trends and technologies that are emerging in different domains. Being an entrepreneur in the field of IT sector, it becomes my responsibility to aid my audience with the knowledge of latest trends in the market.