Looking into beacons? Need some inspiring use cases? Here’s one of our favorite beacon company success stories to get you started.
Lighthouse.io uses mobile to help managers locate, interact with, and optimize workers and assets in all kinds of facilities. They have deployed at a number of large facilities across Australia and the US including the largest shopping mall in the Southern Hemisphere, the largest train station in Melbourne, and Darwin Airport. We sat down with them to find out how they’re using beacons to make a difference for their customers and the market. This beacon company success story will help you not just see how beacons work in the real world but how they’re driving real returns for users.
Lighthouse.io uses beacons for:
- Employee attendance
- Record employee movements
- Understand whether worker KPIs (e.g. loop times or guard checks) are being completed
- Deliver location-based mobile forms
- Track high value assets
- Generate analytics and reporting
Why use beacons? What’s unique about them?
After talking with a number of large facilities management companies, we realized that they typically had three key challenges:
- Not knowing where their people and assets are located and whether they are meeting client KPI’s such as cleaning rotations or security checks
- Inefficient, manual and paper based processes for managing jobs, tasks and issues across facilities
- Lack of workforce data available to help make better labor management decisions
By combining beacons with a workforce mobile app we were immediately able to provide these companies with a real-time view of their workforce. As workers come within range of a beacons deployed at facilities like shopping malls, airports, train stations and corporate offices, our app records their location and updates a map view in our management console. Not only that, if a worker fails to arrive at a location at a specified time we can raise an exception alert to a manager. All location data is stored historically and helps managers understand utilization and make better resourcing decisions.
The mobile app also provides a platform to replace outdated paper based forms and tick sheets. Using Lighthouse.io, workers are able to record shift activity, view tasks and content relevant to their current location and report issues, all from the palm of their hand. The app is all about providing workers with the right information at the right time and place, and beacons are the key enabler for achieving this.
What have beacons taught you about your users?
Beacons are a powerful way to add context to a users experience. It’s all about providing the right content or interaction at exactly the right time. For us that means providing timely and relevant content to workers that makes their job easier.
It’s also important to educate users about the technology being used. The term ‘tracking’ has negative connotations with most consumers and workers, so it’s important to clearly articulate how you will use location data to add value to the user experience. We are very clear to end users that the data will not be used to micromanage them.
What was the difference in returns before and after beacons?
In commercial cleaning and security, our customers often use legacy technologies like RFID wands or QR codes. These technologies can be expensive to implement and they require active engagement from workers e.g. tapping a wand checkpoint or scanning a QR code. Our clients can attest that using beacons deliver substantial benefits and cost savings over legacy technologies.
Some of the benefits include:
- Beacon solutions automate manual activity. RFID wands require employees to tap wands to fixed readers. This distracts employees from completing the task at hand and adds another activity to an already full schedule. In contrast, beacon solutions operate in the background, tracking activity without the need for manual intervention.
- Beacons are flexible and cheap. Beacons typically cost $10-$30, are battery operated, and may be placed and moved as circumstances change. In contrast, RFID readers can cost $1000 – $5000 and are permanent fixtures. This limits the ability to adjust your setup based new service agreements or changed environments.
- Leveraging smart devices creates extensibility. As beacon solutions leverage your smart phone, they can be used for much more than simple tracking. For example: receiving location-specific task lists, automating safety and compliance alerts and integrating with other applications like time-tracking.
- Greater accuracy and coverage. Using techniques such as trilateration and fingerprinting, beacon solutions can accurately track movement and activity across a space. Conversely, RFID wands only track if a tap occurred and not the activity in between each tap. This provides the opportunity to ‘game’ the system rather than effectively ensure compliance and safety standards are met.
How did beacons give you an edge over competitors?
The location data provided by beacons gives our product a significant edge of competing workforce management solutions. We can understand a workers location with a high degree of accuracy especially in indoor environments. We can use the location data to understand whether checks and KPIs are being met. We can use the location data to present the right information to the right worker at the right place. In short, it makes our solution more intelligent that other workforce management solutions in market.
Why use Kontakt.io beacons specifically?
We’ve tested a multitude of beacons from different suppliers and at this point in time, in most instances, Kontakt.io beacons best meet our requirements. Key factors that we use to evaluate beacons include form factor, battery life, signal reliability, configuration software and pricing. Kontakt.io performs strongly in all of these areas.
Lighthouse.io uses: Beacon Pro
We are currently using the Beacon Pro. It’s great value, has a reliable signal and is perfect for indoor environments like shopping malls and airports. In the future, we are looking at using the Tough Beacon for outdoor environments.
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