Estimote Proximity Beacons and Estimote Location Beacons are two different beacons, but they are both compatible with a Proximity-type use case. This split represents two different approaches. Let’s dig into the differences a little, shall we?
Proximity beacons for a Proximity use case
Estimote Proximity Beacons are designed to attach to fixed points in a venue, and provide an app with location context. Mobile apps with beacon support can then detect the smartphone coming in and out of range of a beacon, and act on that information.
The Proximity approach involves “tagging” certain areas (a hotel lobby, a restaurant table, an airport gate, etc.) with a “marker”—a beacon—recognizable by smartphones. Using Estimote Monitoring, your app can simply detect when it is in the proximity zone, figure out which beacon it is, and act accordingly. For instance: you’ve placed a beacon at an airport’s ticketing desk. When your app-equipped smartphone comes within the designated range of the desk, your phone knows where you are and will open up the check-in portion of the app. From here, you can choose your seat, tell the airline how many bags you have to check, and maybe even pick your meal preference for the flight. Magic!
Estimote Proximity Beacons have Estimote Monitoring enabled by default. This enables you to monitor for the unlimited number of beacons, use software to dynamically manage and group beacons, and get reliable enter/exit events in your app. It’s the backbone of our Proximity SDK! Learn more here.
Integrate proximity detection to your app with our step-by-step tutorials:
We’ve even built simple app templates to get you launching your Proximity based apps in a matter of minutes! Check them out in the Cloud and hit the ground running.
Estimote Proximity beacons also support Estimote Connection, Estimote Telemetry, iBeacon and Eddystone protocols. Keep in mind, however, you can only have one of these packets enabled at a time with Proximity beacons: Estimote Monitoring, iBeacon, or Eddystone. (EDIT: With Google discontinuing Nearby Notifications starting on December 6th, 2018, users will no longer be able to receive notifications through Eddystone-URL.)
Location beacons were originally built for a totally different use case, specifically asset tracking and Indoor Location, but happen to also be compatible with our Proximity SDK, Estimote Monitoring, and a Proximity use case. Both Long-range Location Beacons and Location Beacons with UWB also support multi-packet advertising, mesh networking, have built-in sensors, and a range of 200m, as well as a longer default battery life (up to 5 years, versus up to 2 years). Location Beacons can broadcast multiple packets simultaneously. Besides Estimote Monitoring, iBeacon and Eddystone, there are other packets available:
- Estimote Connection
- Estimote Indoor Location
- Estimote Telemetry
To learn more about the packets, read: What is a beacon protocol?
Location Beacons have additional sensors/features:
- Ambient light sensor
- Real-Time Clock
- GPIO port
Which beacons do I pick?
Proximity beacons are simply the best, and go-to beacon, for when your app needs to detect that it’s near a specific area of interest or object. Proximity beacons have the necessary features for most use case. If you need to know if the user is in the lobby, or if you want your client to get content pinged within 70 meters of a site, go for Proximity beacons. They’re straightforward, easy to pick up, small, and lightweight.
Location beacons are good for when your Proximity use case is slightly more complex and you need that little extra boost to help it be effective. For example, let’s say you have a Proximity use case that involves pinging users in a place with a lot of potential signal interference (glass, metal, etc.) With an increased range of up to 200 meters, and a boosted battery life of up to 5 years, Location beacons help cut through that noise. If you were to use a Proximity beacon for the same type of use case, you may drain the battery in as little as 6 months blasting it at max settings.
Because of this, some clients like to buy Location beacons for their Proximity deployments when they are buying in bulk and at scale, due to their longer default battery life.
Stickers are not an ideal product for a Proximity use case: due to their relatively small range of about 7 meters, and relatively short battery life of about 6 months to one year. They were built for a different use case entirely! Right now, they are compatible with our Nearable packet, as well as iBeacon and Eddystone. (EDIT: Google has discontinued Eddystone as of December 6th, 2018.) Stickers are happiest when they are used for asset tracking.