Ubudu turns beacons into two-way communications devices

Ubudu BLE beacon
TWO WAY COMMUNICATIONS: Ubudu’s BLE beacons can participate in a mesh network

Mobile proximity solutions provider Ubudu has unveiled uBeacon Mesh, a platform that enables Bluetooth beacon installations to be used to create two-way mobile communications with consumers.

The technology could be used to let shoppers respond to location-based promotional messages sent by retailers, such as offers of assistance, the company suggests.

“Today, beacons are basically emitters so they cast a signal and the phone listens to the signal and reacts on that signal but now, with uBeacon Mesh, you have that basic functionality but you also have a two-way communication capability which enables the beacon to pass on information from the phone to the mesh network,” CEO Francois Kruta explained to NFC World+.

“For example, if you’re in a big supermarket and you require assistance because you want some technical information to buy a TV but you don’t have a WiFi connection or 4G connectivity, this platform gives you a way of requesting assistance from the store using the retailer’s mobile app and with your Bluetooth capability turned on.

“So, you would have to have the application from the retailer and the application would detect that you are in the store through the beacon network and it would show you different options, so different advertising messages that get broadcast, and you can choose whether or not you want to respond. For example, a message could pop up asking if you require assistance, to which you would press yes or no.

“The message would then be passed at that point through the mesh network towards the store’s system to alert staff that you have requested assistance and you are located in that part of the store.”

“We have designed both the hardware and the software so we are a solution provider and we really think of hardware and software together as a functionality,” Kruta continued. “One other thing you can do with uBeacon Mesh that you couldn’t do before is you can see when the beacon batteries are going low and this gets reported by the mesh network. You can also turn specific beacons on and off.

“You can even change the advertising of one or more specific beacons. You can also connect it to a sensor and report the information from the sensor. So you have much more usage that is enabled through the connectivity between the beacons.”

A video shows the uBeacon Mesh platform in action:

“We have a major retailer in France signed up and we’re going to do a technical proof of concept early next year, and then it’s going to be the evolution of our current offering, so our current customers will adopt this new uBeacon Mesh over time,” Kruta added. “It’s a real revolution for Bluetooth beacons.”

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