How to integrate a mobile app with iBeacon to identify the store location


#1

Hi all!

I am representing a chain of 10 restaurants

We are currently developing our App and would like to integrate it with Ibeacon so that in the moment the customer enters the restaurant, the App would identify which one of the 10 stores has the customer entered.
The customer who opens the app at this moment has to be notified that he is exactly in this store (lets say store 1).

The identification of the store is vital, because after the store has been identified the customer makes an in store purchase in store using the app, so the menu and prices should correspond to the store where the customer is currently located.

Question: is iBeacon a right technology for this ?

Would be thankful if someone could share some info regarding this or any true cases.

Thank you!!!


#2

Yes, that’s one of the most straightforward use cases for beacons :smiley:

First, you’d need to place a beacon somewhere at the entrance to each restaurant. Our beacons last ~ 3 years out-of-the-box, and run on batteries, meaning installation is as easy as sticking them somewhere (3M tape included) and forgetting about them for quite some time :wink: (In 3 years, when the battery runs out, you’ll probably want to upgrade to better beacons rather than replace batteries—but if you want to replace them, that’s an option too.)

Then, you can make the app monitor for the 10 beacons. Monitoring happens automatically, even if the app is not running, the phone is locked, etc. If iOS detects that it’s in range of a beacon that’s being monitored for, it’ll tell your app just that, and then the app can, e.g., buzz the user’s phone & post a notification on the screen, telling them to open the app.

The app’s icon will also appear in the bottom-left corner of the lock screen:

Once the user opens the app, the app already knows which exactly beacon the user is at, and thus can identify which exactly restaurant it is (e.g., “beacon #3 = New York City restaurant”, “beacon #10 = Palo Alto restaurant”). And once it knows that, it can show the appropriate menu and prices.

Here’s a list of apps and use cases that already use Estimote:


#3

Hello Andriy,

Nice to meet you here. I’m Kirtan Thaker, Co-founder at Whitelotus Corporation Pvt Ltd ( www.whitelotuscorporation.com ) a mobile app development agency from India. We have great experiences with the beacons and the technology behind it.

I went though your idea and happy to inform you that app will be able to determine the customer in particular store and also determine the customer like how many times he/she visited this store. Based on that you can give them level like Firsttime-visitor, Frequent-visitor or Potential-visitor so that you can provide with respective offers for each level of customer.

I have a great article to share. http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/german-restaurants-ibeacons-tryout-rewards-loyal-customers

So yes what you have asked is surely doable and we would love to engage ourselves to help you do this. I am available on email kirtan@whitelotuscorporation.com and skype: whitelotuscorp

Lets get in touch and develop some great apps.

Thanks,

Kirtan


#4

Hi, Heypiotr! Thank you for the reply, very useful

So, to make a conclusion, in case of 10 stores, 10 beacons are needed? Could you give an idea on the structure of order and the cost.

Another question, what is needed to integrate the App with Ibeacon in order to make such type of store geolocation happen?

Would it be possible to make ibeacon push notification to our customers - how it works? Do you provide with a special soft ware which can implement such automatic notifications?

Thank you


#5

Thanks for a nice article :slight_smile:


#6

Another question would be, is it possible to implement an Ibeacon notification which would tell the customer on which free table number he/she has to be seated at the moment he/she enters the restaurant?


#8

Hello Andriy,

Yes this is also possible. You will need to maintain this from a web based backend.

Can you please share your email id? or reach me on skype: whitelotsucorp or to my email: kirtan@whitelotuscorporation.com

I would like to discuss more about this idea. Please get in touch.


#9

Yup, 1 beacon per store should be enough for such a simple use case, or you could get some more to have a full beacon coverage in the entire restaurant, and thus e.g., implement some analytics about how people move around the restaurant, etc.

You could grab 4 dev kits, 3 beacons each = 12 beacons, for 4 x $99 (1 beacon = $33), or order a bulk bag of 25 beacons, $25 per beacon.

As for integrating beacons with your app, you simply drop our SDK (https://github.com/estimote/ios-sdk) into the app, and it can start detecting beacons. All the other parts (notifications, menu, etc.) is something you or your developers will need to code up—or you can post in our “Looking for Devs” category, there’s quite a few experienced beacon developers keeping an eye on it, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding sb for a short contract.

Would it be possible to make ibeacon push notification to our customers - how it works? Do you provide with a special soft ware which can implement such automatic notifications?

We don’t provide such software ourselves—our SDK can simply detect whenever you found yourself in range of a beacon, and then it’s up to the app to e.g., fetch the message to show from an external server and show it to the user.

Or, the message can be written into the app itself, no need for an external server then, but you also won’t be able to change the message without releasing an updated app.

Or, you can look into one of the ready-made beacon CMS (Content Management System) software out there, although most of them charge a monthly fee—take a look, e.g., at http://www.roverlabs.co, and decide for yourself if it’s worth the money or not (:

Another question would be, is it possible to implement an Ibeacon notification which would tell the customer on which free table number he/she has to be seated at the moment he/she enters the restaurant?

Absolutely, that a cool idea! It’s slightly more complicated—you’d need to integrate with your reservation system, but the flow would be more or less like this:

  1. I installed your app and logged in with my email address.
  2. I enters the restaurant, iPhone detects a beacon and tells your application. (All of this happens while my phone is locked and in my pocket.)
  3. The application sends a request to your reservation system, telling it (a) my email address, and (b) the name of the restaurant I entered.
  4. The reservation system checks that I have a table booked for tonight, and responds to the application with the table number.
  5. The application buzzes my iPhone and shows a notification with the table number.

I don’t think there’s a ready-made service like that, so this one is something you’d need to code up yourself.


#10

Thank you for such a wide answer! I ll get back

-regarding the notification about free table: we have no reservation system, the tables are occupied by customers in a chaotic way. but every table has a RFID antenna for tracking table trackers (http://pager.net/) and we could also put 1 beacon on each. Will this help implement such mechanism?

-did i understand correctly that beacons don’t cover all phones, for example phones with android below 4 wouldn’t receive anything? any solution for that?

Thank you in advance for any answer:)


#11

Hmm, so when customer enters the restaurant, they just choose whichever table they like and take it? And you’d prefer the app to tell them which table to take? Is that right? Just trying to understand this better (:

Beacons need a Bluetooth 4.0 compatible device, there’s a list here:
http://www.bluetooth.com/Pages/Bluetooth-Smart-Devices-List.aspx

Many devices support Bluetooth 4.0, but haven’t undergone the certification process from the Bluetooth folks, so the list above is not complete. There are some devices which are not certified, but still work great with beacons. Although there also are devices which claim to support BT 4.0, are not certified, and their implementation of Bluetooth is actually a bit buggy and they don’t work that great with beacons. Long story short, the devices from the list above should always work great, and if some device is not on the list but claims to support BT 4.0, it might work great … or it might not {:

Apart from a BT 4.0 compatible device, beacons also require iOS 7.0 or later, and Android 4.3 or later.


#12

Hello Andy,

Have you decided anything about the app development? Is there any possibility to get in touch with you? I would like to discuss your concept and see if we can work together to help you develop this app.

Please reply with your contact details or drop me an email at kirtan@whitelotuscorporation.com

Thanks,

Kirtan