Bluetooth Brand Perception Beacons Directing The Sirens

Posted on April 29, 2016 by Nanci Taplett

Infographic_2016_growthHow many times have you owned a gadget, used it for a long time, felt very comfortable with it and thought you knew all its features and functionality. Then a friend comes along, flicks a button on the side, and you exclaim, “I never knew it could do THAT!”

If that sounds familiar, then based on our 2016 Brand Perception report, consumer attitudes towards Bluetooth® technology are in a similar place.

Awareness of Bluetooth has never been higher, and knowledge of the technology and its uses has also increased compared to four years ago. It’s not incredibly surprising. It’s reflective of the massive uptake among developers integrating the low energy features of Bluetooth into their devices. Looking at the UK specifically, the average consumer now owns 3.5 Bluetooth devices over 2.3 in 2012—it only goes to prove that their awareness of different gadgets using Bluetooth must also be higher.

Having said that, there is sometimes a big gap in consumers’ knowledge regarding just what Bluetooth can do. One question we asked consumers is how interested they are in particular tasks Bluetooth can perform, and how aware are they of those tasks. In the UK, far and away the biggest disparity was “help emergency responders find me more accurately.” Only 19% of respondents were aware that Bluetooth could be used to help emergency responders find them more accurately, but almost half (49%) would be interested in it. A real “I never knew it could do THAT!” moment.

So how exactly can Bluetooth help emergency responders?

Bluetooth for emergency response is the difference between the emergency services arriving somewhere in your neighbourhood, and actually arriving at the exact point of the emergency. The technology often used is GPS, which works well outdoors but can experience difficulty in many indoor locations where satellite signals cannot penetrate well.

The Bluetooth option is all based on low energy beacons, the deployment of which is becoming more widespread especially in retailers and other public spaces. Your phone receives signals from beacons and, based on signal strength, can approximate the distance from a given beacon and report that location to the network or an end application or, in this case, the emergency services.

Beacons can also be configured to know the coordinates or address of where they are placed and can quickly provide it to a phone, even if the user has Bluetooth turned off. When a user makes a call to the emergency services, the dispatcher can still send help to the correct location because the beacon provides the phone the location, which is then supplied to the paramedics, police and fire services!

This is hugely beneficial but requires a large infrastructure of beacons to function to its full effect. Fortunately, the opportunities to deploy beacons are endless. Since they are simply low-cost, low-power chips, they can be placed as standalone devices, within routers or set-top boxes, smart lighting, road signs etc.

Our brand awareness study has certainly given us fascinating insights into what consumers are interested in seeing from Bluetooth, and while there are still steps that need to be taken to help emergency responders find people more accurately, Bluetooth technology is certainly in a position to make it happen.

Bluetooth SIG members can access the full report presentation here.

nanci taplett

Nanci Taplett

Nanci loves watching the world embrace innovation and changing technology.

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