Other Frequently Asked Questions

Does ubudu require a mobile app?

Yes. A mobile application is required to allow interactions between beacons and connected devices, for instance to send notifications on customers' smartphones in-store.

If you don't have one yet, but need a developer with iOS / Android / beacon expertise, contact us as we may be able to point you to someone (really) good.

Does ubudu develop mobile apps ?

Not usually. Our focus is to provide the best tools to enterprises and developers to create micro-location experiences through their own apps, even though we've developed a few apps, in order to "eat our own dog food", and to help customers one some specific custom projects.

Most importantly, we've established over time an ecosystem of developers with expertise on ubudu platform. Feel free to contact us if you need a developer for your mobile app.

Which OS versions does ubudu support on Android and iOS ?

ubudu platform relies on iBeacon and Bluetooth 4 technologies, and as such requires Android 4.3 and above, and iOS7 and above.

Where does ubudu ship? Where does ubudu have presence ?

We ship uBeacon packages worldwide. Deliveries take 2-5 days.

ubudu platform is in the cloud and can be accessed worldwide as well.

Our offices are in France and Poland, but we've also established a network of distribution & integration partners in areas such as North America, MEA and Asia. And of course Europe.

Are you open for partnerships (distribution, integration, etc)?

Yes, please contact us via email to present your opportunity and discuss it.

What does a deployment typically require in termes of timelines, costs and infrastructure ?

Each deployment is of course specific, but as a rule of thumb you should consider the following activity buckets:

  • Project phase, to develop the concept and test it in real conditions : at least 8 weeks, involving people from both "business" and "IT" sides, and customers if possible
  • Deployment phase, variable depending on the size and distribution of the installation. uBeacon devices are quite cheap and easy to calibrate, hence the main thing to consider is engineer travel time
  • Run phase, with digital interaction management using the ubudu Manager interface (in house or outsourced), and infrastructure supervision (also helped by the ubudu Manager console)

ubudu's co-founders have solid background in consulting and IT integration, so they know a thing or two about project management issues, and are always keen to assist customers to design the best course of action ;-)

What are the KPIs for micro-location experiences ?

You have to analyze the conversion funnel from start to end, where the end is your ultimate business goal. For instance, if you are a retailer and your business goal is to increase basket value via couponing (hence turnover), then all the following metrics matter, in that specific order :

  1. Number of app download, of which
  2. Number of active users, of which
  3. Number of users with app location and notifications authorized, of which
  4. Number of users who entered a store and "saw" a beacon in the past X days, of which
  5. Number of users who were offered the coupon, of which
  6. Number of users who clipped the coupon, of which
  7. Number of users who redeemed the coupon

We've seen excellent ratios between each of these steps. In our experience, the key to success, beside flawless execution, is the customer value proposition and how it is communicated. In the above example, if you propose meaningful savings (or even better, exclusive savings) , and advertise it for instance in your store entrance, then all ratios should increase.

There's no typical conversion rate, but we've already seen ratios of 80% between (6) clipped and (2) active users.

Do you have examples of large deployments?

We've shipped thousands of beacons so far, but our largest customers wish to remain quiet about it. Contact us if you're considering a large deployment of your own.

How can I test ubudu ?

You can purchase an uBeacon development kit [online(http://shop.ubudu.com). Beacons will be assigned to an ubudu Manager account with your email address.

You can also create an ubudu Manager account from scratch by registering here.
ubudu Manager and SDK are free of charge for development purposes.

Are uBeacon devices tied to ubudu platform ?

We recommend you to use the whole ubudu platform (SDK + Cloud) in order to reap the full potential of uBeacon devices : security, on-off schedule, mesh networking. The ubudu platform is the result of many man-years of R&D and field testing.

But uBeacon devices are compliant with iBeacon standard and other BLE standards, so you can of course write your own code implementation.

Is uBeacon casing designed for outdoor use?

We have many customers using uBeacon in outdoor settings, and requiring water and dust protection such as IP65 / IP 66 / IP 67. To achieve that, an extra treatment or layer needs to be added to the casing. Contact us for more details.

How long does uBeacon battery last?

It depends on how you use it, it can vary from 6 to 36 months.

Impacting parameters are :

  • advertising frequency,
  • advertising power,
  • on-off schedule,
  • use of mesh feature or not

The standard battery is a 1500 mAh LiPo, one of the best available in the beacosystem. And it is rechargeable.

And, worth saying here as well, the battery "tells" you when it runs low. Through a crowdsourcing mechanism (using the SDK) or through the Mesh remote maintenance capabilities.

For more details, please check the Power Consumption article in the KB.

What are the minimum and maximum range in distance ?

Distance can be set from a couple of meters up to 300 meters in clear outdoor conditions. We recommend to have a dense network for indoor venues and uses requiring precision.

More considerations on Radio Signals can be found in the eponymous article in the KB.

Can you do custom beacons ?

It depends what you mean by custom.

  • Custom color : yes for large batches
  • Hi-res logo : yes using pad printing, for large batches
  • Custom casing : yes but usually for VERY large batches

Contact us for more information.

Can uBeacons broadcast custom information ?

By default uBeacons broadcast iBeacon signals, which can be nicely intepretated by iOS and Android devices, using ubudu SDK.

Other information formats have started to appear, and ubudu has therefore enhanced the uBeacon firmware to accomodate these: Google Physical Web (uriBeacon), AltBeacon, Samsung Placedge, to name a few. This feature is still in testing and will be added soon to ubudu platform.

Which accuracy can be reached with ubudu ?

There are two answers to this question, depending on what you're trying to do.

  • If you want X,Y(,Z) accurate and absolute positioning, then you can easily achieve a 2m accuracy with the Indoor Location capability of ubudu platform.
    • For this you need to have a beacon every 10m or so. If you densify even further your network of beacons, you may achieve 1m accuracy, but that also depends on the physical environment where you place them (water, metal, radiowaves, people ? the more of these, the worse it gets).
  • If you want relative proximity to a specific point (ie where a single beacon stands), then what we have to offer you are the 4 proximity states specified by iBeacon :
    • Immediate: very close to the beacon, for sure less than 1m
    • Near: approximately 1-3 meters
    • Far: typically more than 3 meters and less than 20
      • But Apple says : "This state indicates that a beacon device can be detected but the confidence in the accuracy is too low to determine either Near or Immediate. An important consideration is that the Far state does not necessarily imply “not physically near” the beacon. When Far is indicated, rely on the accuracy property to determine the potential proximity to the beacon."
    • Unknown : either too far or without sufficient data to determine proximity
    • And actually, a 5th state ubudu has introduced : Medium-Far : configurable from 1m to 3->15m (parameter which can be adjusted). Because we've noticed that often (especially in retail environments) the truth is somewhere in that range.

range.png

Does each beacon have a unique identifier?

Yes. In the iBeacon mode, each beacon has 3 identifiers :

  • Proximity UUID (specific to each app, and over 128 bit so hard to guess and duplicate)
  • Major ID: a value between 1 and 65535, typically used to identify a venue
  • Minor ID: a value between 1 and 65535, typically used to identify a point of interest (i.e. a beacon) inside a venue

Unless any design error, each combination of the above 3 values should be unique for each beacon.

What are the limits of Mesh networks ?

  • A Mesh network has a theorical limit of 65k beacons as nodes. In turn you can have 65k mesh networks coexisting for the same application. That gives a lot of room!
  • Other limits will be specified over time : max number of connections, max packet size, etc

What does the uBeacon kit include?

  • 3 uBeacon Mesh devices
  • 1 Charger (EU or US plug available)
  • 1 UART cable (per shipment)
  • Developer account for ubudu Manager platform
  • Wall attachment kit
  • 2-year warranty

What are the unique benefits of ubudu platform vs other beacon platforms?

  • Mesh capability : ubudu invented Mesh Beacon technology, which solves critical challenges for both CMOs and CIOs:

    • Provide live indoor interaction even when no data connectivity is available through WiFi or cellular
    • Enable remote maintenance of deployed beacons
  • Integrated Platform : ubudu is not a hardware maker, nor a software developer, but both. And an integrator. We provide a complete solution to enterprises.

    • Best in class beacons, including security, autonomy and deployment capabilities
    • Powerful SDK, enabling developers to both get started very rapidly on the ubudu platform, and to enable advanced customization for more sophisticated customer interactions
    • Open cloud back-office (ubudu Manager), providing all the management capabilities via either a web UI or an API for :
    • infrastructure management
    • contextual interaction rules management
    • indoor map management
    • mesh network communication management
    • Service tools, to help with development, deployment and maintenance

What's the price?

  • uBeacon devices are sold through the ubudu shop. For more tnan 100 units please contact us.
  • ubudu platform (SDK and Manager) are free for development use, and then charged monthly per usage. Contact us for a quote.

Can we use your SDK with other types of beacons?

Yes, with some limitations. You will be able to use Contextual Interaction Rules and Indoor Location, but not Mesh features.

Also, some advanced beacon properties such as security, battery alerts and on-off schedule are not available with common beacons.

Are there any restrictions between your various SDKs?

Between iOS and Android : no difference. Of if any, for no longer than a couple of weeks ;-)

Cordova is a less sophisticated SDK which only features Contextual Interaction Rules. Check this SDK's README documentation for further information.

How many people have turned Bluetooth on?

The short answer is, we don't really know, and it doesn't matter.

The longer one is :

  • Doug Thompson has digged some data from a company called Empatika : between 25% and 50% depending on where you are on this beautiful planet
  • Apple helps increasing this number, by switching Bluetooth "on" every time a user makes an iOS update
  • Smart objects too, since virtually all of them require a Bluetooth LE connection. With IOT, Bluetooth is back!
  • And this time, Bluetooth 4.x consumes 10x less energy than before. Oh, and iBeacon doesnt require device pairing, which is even better in terms of battery. Oh (again), and this is handled at OS level, across all apps. The time of the home screen's "GPS arrow" draining your battery is over
  • Finally and not least, we recommend you to educate your customers. Not only why and how they should activate Bluetooth, but also because they need to authorise other stuff (at least on iOS) for the micro-location service to operate : location tracking, notifications. Some apps have done a really good job in creating tutorials. Not a ubudu customer nor a beacon user, but we like very much how Pocket app has done things, for instance.

Can I use ubudu with smartwatches ?

As of May 2015, smartwatch OS such as Apple's and Android's don't allow for direct beacon-to-watch communication. We bet that it will change.

What you can already do on the other hand, is to display "beacon-triggered" notifications directly on a watch which is connected to a smartphone.

Can I use beacons with several apps? With several accounts?

Yes, as long as the apps are registered with the same Proximity UUID as the beacons.

What happens then when a smartphone enters a region with 2 installed apps registered for that same region ? Both apps are launched and trigger an action, if need be.

Can ubudu help in tracking in-store traffic ?

Yes, but with some limits.

  1. ubudu can only track users who have installed an app monitoring the region of the beacons installed in the venue
  2. Background ranging is limited to 3 min on iOS, which means that if no action leading the user to open the app, the device will become invisible after that amount of time. There's no such limit on Android
  3. In foreground mode, on the other hand, there is no time limit

As a follow-up question : what gets tracked?

  • Regions and beacons being viewed : gives a cca 30m radius of position, with a time stamped
  • It is possible to go more granular, using Contextual Interaction Rules and/or Indoor Location
  • Again the 3 min time limit when in background mode

And how does it differ from WiFi tracking? WiFi routers can be used to snif out customers' device MAC addresses, and hence establish reports about in-store traffic , repeat visits, and so on.

  • WiFi tracking doesn't ask permission from customers, while beacon solutions do require full opt-in
  • WiFi tracking doesnt support iOS devices as Apple scrambles MAC addresses on purpose, while beacon solutions can work on any smartphone (as any smartphone is BLE compatible today)
  • WiFi tracking isnt accurate (unless you have a gazillion of routers installed in your store), while beacon solutions are relately accurate (but of course not if you want inch level accuracy)

Does ubudu have a solution for my industry ?

Events, Museums, Retailers, Banks, Hospitals, Company Headquarters, Smart Cities, etc ... ubudu platform is adequate for a number of industries. The use cases are technically the same, only the parameters and content will change.

Besides ubudu platform is open and can be easily integrated with enterprise systems.

How can I integrate ubudu to my systems ?

ubudu Manager comes with a full read/write API, which can be used in many ways :

  • Program Contextual Interaction Rules from a remote Marketing Cloud, enabling for instance multi-channel journeys
    • if Sarah browsed the page for a given pair for shoes on Acme's web site yesterday, then let's send her a discount coupon when she walks by an Acme store today
  • Upload journey data onto a Data Mart / Customer Relationship Management system, in order to refine the knowledge about one customer
    • Sarah visited the shoe department in Acme store 5 times last month, so let's tag her as "shoe addict" even though she didn't declare it
  • Enable Mesh communication between/to a remote server

And certainly many other ways which are yet to invent.

Which certification does ubudu have ?

uBeacon devices are CE (Europe), FCC (USA) and IC (Canada) certified.

See the data sheet for details.