Beacons can send tiny data packets over Bluetooth to prompt apps to perform specific actions (e.g. display notifications or log visits). Some data packets can be also sent to nearby users who don’t have your app installed, and display as silent notifications on their phones.
The technology that empowers these notifications is called Physical Web and was developed by Google. The notifications can be sent to all devices that have the Chrome browser or other Chromium-based browsers, such as Samsung Internet or Opera installed. Chrome comes as a default browser on all the Android devices (sometimes called 'Browser' or 'Internet'), and it can be also installed on iOS. Keep in mind that notifications will only be displayed if iOS users add a Chrome widget to their lock screen. A thorough step-by-step guide is available here.
The packet that's sent through Physical Web is called Eddystone-URL, and you can read about it in another community article. Be sure to check out our improved version of Eddystone-URL, called Here & Now. For more options where coding is not required, visit our Ultimate Guide to Working With Beacons Without a Developer.
We recommend either Proximity or Location Beacons for sending Eddystone-URL. Choose the right one for you, focusing on the required range and battery life. For Here & Now, you will need a development kit of Location Beacons.