MR32 Bluetooth: Your New Best Friend

Posted by John Ciarlone on 25th Sep 2015

MR32 BluetoothThere are plenty of reasons a business looking to upgrade its WiFi system might want to look at a Meraki access point , but one feature that's often overlooked is the MR32 Bluetooth support. Unlike just about any other WiFi access point in its class, the MR32-HW includes an additional radio specifically for Bluetooth connections, and that adds significant new features that other WiFi brands lack.

The Bluetooth Low Power (BLE) radio in the MR32 has a transmission range of around 70 meters, which is enough to cover a good-sized retail or restaurant space, and has full Beacon\iBeacon support.

Let's look into what that could mean for your network.

MR32 Bluetooth Support Brings Extra Value To Your WiFi

Bluetooth Beacons, or iBeacons since they began as an Apple standard, are a relatively new and so far under-utilized technology, which is compatible with most modern mobile devices. They deploy a very low-power broadcast to continually announce their presence and form a one-way connection with any devices in their vicinity.

There are two primary ways this can be useful for a business, especially one dealing with walk-in customer traffic.

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1 - Movement and device tracking

When an iBeacon makes contact with a device, it doesn't get much information about the device since it's a one-way transmission - but it does calculate the distance to the receiving device. And since it's transmitting constantly, usually at around 100ms intervals, that means you get a fairly good overview of the movements of a device around your premises.

In turn, this means that a couple of Bluetooth beacons can effectively act as anonymized customer movement pattern trackers. You can quickly chart the most common paths around your operation, areas where customers lingered, as well as areas where they don't linger.

This data can be put to use optimizing your layout, improving the placement of displays in high-traffic areas, or evaluating the effectiveness of new promotional materials.

2 - Pushing advertisements and announcements

The other main use for the MR32 Bluetooth radio is pushing messages to your customers. Any device that's powered up -even in standby mode- will receive whatever message is embedded into the beacon broadcast. Whether the customer sees it will obviously depend on their own preferences, but it will be there.

This makes it extremely easy to send information about your business, specials, flash sales, and a wealth of other promotional material to your visitors. Or, place the MR32 near to your door, and you could use the beacon to attract more walk-ins from those who are passing by.

MR32 Bluetooth Brings Plenty Of New Options

As we said, beacons are relatively new, and the uses for them are still being explored. They can be used in payment systems, for example, although we probably wouldn't recommend tying a customer payment system to the main WiFi network. Or, if your business had a custom app, it would be possible to utilize beacons to interact with that app.

Likewise, social media integration is another possibility, although that requires more advanced programming of the beacon and its broadcast.

Either way, Bluetooth compatibility makes a great wireless access point even better. When combined with the easy deployment and day-to-day use, and the power provided by the Meraki Dashboard, this makes this AP an excellent addition to retail spaces.

Want to learn more? Contact Hummingbird Networks today to learn about the many advantages a Meraki network can bring!

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