Marta García Prado IoT Lead Consultant

Hidden IoT: beacons and neareables. What are these devices and what are they for?

Nowadays, technologies and the devices that use them are created to be implemented in very different fields. As we have already mentioned in some occasions, the possibilities are endless. New devices designed for a purpose are always coming out but soon they find utility in scenarios for which they were not intended to. In addition, IoT devices are getting smaller and smaller, which often makes them unnoticed. Not only are they in the industry, in our day to day we have " IoTs " around and we do not realize it.

Beacons and neareables

Beacons exist for several years: small devices based on BlueTooth technology Low Energy that emit signals that are usually interpreted by smartphones . They are very low consumption and their autonomy can last several years. You can know the distance of the smartphones that receive their signal and its greatest potential is in shops. Often, when we walk through a shopping centre we receive notifications of any offer or information of interest from any of the nearby shops : behind this are the beacons : they detect that a potential customer is nearby and they send the information. The beacons also, placed in the shopping carts, enables us to know the routes that the clients follow when making their purchases, the corridors through which they walk, how long they stay in them, etc. When enough information is collected, you can analyse and find the most interesting products, and you can decide, for example, to change product location in corridors to improve sales.

In the tourism sector they are also used to offer to the user information about places of interest, they are even used in museums to give information about the works in front of the visitors.

There is an evolution of beacons, the so-called " neareables " which are stickers with a small processor and bluetooth communications that also integrate temperature sensors and accelerometers. These devices have an SDK so that anyone can program them to use the information collected in these devices according to their interest.

Another technology that is sometimes confused is the NFC, but in this case the NFC label has to be centimetres away from the mobile device, while in the case of beacons the range is in meters. Beacon technology is more intrusive than NFC because it can send you information without requesting it, and if it is not well quantified, it may become "overwhelming". NFC is more suitable for payments and access control while Beacon is more interested in offering information, offers, in a massive way.


The technology of people is getting closer. There is "hidden technology" in our everyday life that, without knowing it, can provide information in situations where we could not imagine it before.

Nowadays, technology is widely spread. The use of mobile phones, tablets and internet makes of people potential recipients of information at any time. In addition, there is low-cost technology able to send information. In imagination there are no limits when it comes to generating ideas to make use of these new forms of communication. If you need help to implement these ideas and to choose the best technological options, do not hesitate to contact Izertis.