Blue Bite Launches Dual-Mode Beacon Platform

Esca is not just a beautiful beacon, it is an entirely new way to deploy, manage, and analyze beacons. (PRNewsFoto/Blue Bite)

New York-based Blue Bite, which has been working for years with digital OOH companies on tech that bridges smartphones to screens, has launched a new BLE beacon solution intended to make it much easier for marketers to reach consumer.

The big fuss around beacons in the last 3-4 years has always included the caution that for beacons to have an impact, the transmissions from the beacons have to be picked up smartphones that have a particular mobile app loaded, which will then light up contextual content. Go to a different place, and you’d need a different app to pick up transmissions to a different set of beacons.

Blue Bite says its new solution, called esca, works in dual-mode – so it can send out beacon transmissions using both iBeacon (talking to Apple iOS products) and phones with the Eddystone protocol, which is Google’s new, quite different way of getting web-based content and messaging to phones.

I’m being vague on the Eddystone side, because it’s new and complicated and I am no software engineer. News release, help me out here:

esca is “the first all-encompassing BLE beacon solution that leverages a powerful, cloud-based dashboard, innovative dual-mode hardware, and expansive developer resources. Built on nearly a decade of experience in managing mobile touchpoints, Blue Bite’s esca platform introduces a new way to deploy, manage, and analyze beacons.”

Engineered from the inside out, esca beacons simultaneously broadcast both iBeacon and Eddystone protocols, allowing customers to deploy a single piece of hardware that performs multiple functions. With iBeacon, esca beacons can provide contextual data and push notifications to mobile apps, even while in the background. iBeacon is compatible with both iOS and Android, as well as through Blue Bite’s easy-to-use framework, escaKit.

With Eddystone, esca beacons extend the Physical Web, a Google initiative for reducing the friction of delivering web-based content to end-users. (The Physical Web made its debut in Google Chrome for iOS in August 2015, allowing millions of end-users to start interacting with the Physical Web).

Accompanying the esca beacon is the esca dashboard, which remotely controls beacon hardware via the cloud. Blue Bite’s esca dashboard offers a complete end-to-end solution for deploying, managing, and analyzing beacons. All of this is included alongside Blue Bite’s proven intelligent insight and analytics on user engagement. By housing management functions in the cloud, customers can do anything from assigning content, to deploying contextual data to applications from anywhere. This makes esca incredibly easy to deploy and does not require any prior bluetooth expertise. For those looking for more customizability, esca supports traditional management over Bluetooth with a connected phone, using Blue Bite’s powerful esca management apps written for both iOS and Android.

Managing a fleet of esca beacons is also made easy through the integration of the esca dashboard with Google’s Proximity API. This integration allows for anonymous collection of beacon health information by any app running Google’s Nearby API, even if the app is not associated with the beacon. All collected information is accessed securely, using the latest authentication methods. This high level of security is mirrored in the beacon hardware as well, through the use of cloud-based passkeys and encryption.

“Esca is the most complete thought on what beacons do and how they should be managed,” said Paul Knight, CTO of Blue Bite. “We put great focus towards developing both the beacon hardware and software together to provide a breakthrough experience for customers and end-users alike.”

I’d consider a second press release for mere mortals – as I am not sure how many brand marketers are going to “get” all that. But the nut of it is, I think, that running two kinds of beacon messaging greatly ups the usage rates on beacons.

The solution is already out there. Blue Bite recently deployed esca beacons for an OOH campaign with a major athletic wear brand for the release of its newest running shoe. The campaign features interactivity through the brand’s fitness app, as well as Blue Bite’s Decode app and Chrome iOS.

“We are excited to add this revolutionary new product to our mobile portfolio,” said Mikhail Damiani, Blue Bite’s CEO & Co-founder. “While our platform has evolved to support multiple mobile technologies over the past eight years, we have extensive experience with Bluetooth. In fact, the ‘Blue Bite’ name stems from a play on the word ‘Bluetooth.'”

Esca beacons provide unparalleled capability through a combination of a cloud based platform, industry leading functionality of iBeacon and Eddystone support, and best in class battery life – all in a beautifully compact housing.

For more information visit esca.io.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
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1 Comment

  • Billy says:

    Hey Dave, read your article. Funny we released a blog on eddystone and the company BKON yesterday. You can check it out here. http://www.volantidisplays.com/blog/bkon-the-physical-web-for-retail/ We are working with BKON to integrate their beacon devices inside our displays for the retail world. Pretty fascinating stuff. Although the whole “enabling” of a physical web browser on smartphones is still a little cumbersome, I think it will eventually become easier as smartphone companies begin rolling out physical web browsers with notifications already enabled on their ‘out of the box’ products. Shall be interesting to see where it goes. Anyways. Great article. Billy

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