The Beacon Technology Guide for Cleaning and Security Contractors

New to beacons and proximity technologies? Get an overview of beacon technology and how it can be used by your cleaning or security business.

Cleaning and security contractors need complete visibility of their distributed workforces to view, manage and simplify operations. Beacon technology is one of the available solutions that can enable workforce visibility, giving security contractors real-time tracking of officers and providing cleaning contractors with proof of service to customers.

How can cleaning and security contractors benefit from using beacon technology?

For security contractors, guard touring software combined with beacons provides complete visibility of guards in the field. A mobile app records patrols and tours and web-based reporting monitors security services and improves performance over time. A guard touring application like Lighthouse passively monitors the location of guards in the background and allows them to record predefined checkpoints, record and respond to incidents and send duress alerts from wherever they are.

For cleaning contractors, employee location tracking software provides a full view of cleaning operations and activity in the field. Managers can see where cleaners are on a map to determine the best — and closest — cleaner to respond to issues. Location tracking software can also provide evidence against slip and fall claims to increase safety, protect against litigation and reduce risk. To meet contracted service requirements, managers can ensure key zones are serviced at regular, defined intervals by setting up loop times to automatically monitor the time since the last service, which can reduce the frequency of missed service by as much as 30 percent.

What are beacons?

Beacons are small wireless devices that broadcast signals using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. Mobile apps on compatible devices listen for signals from beacons placed in the physical world and then trigger an experience via a beacon-enabled app when it enters or exits a range.

What are the benefits of beacon technology?

Beacons run on BLE, an intelligent and power-friendly version of Bluetooth wireless technology. The power of BLE is its ability to work with an app on a smartphone, tablet or any other compatible mobile device. The technology itself is simple, highly secure and featured in billions of devices ranging from mobile phones and computers to medical devices and home entertainment products.

Additionally, beacon technology benefits also include:

  • High degree of accuracy indoors
  • Low impact on a device’s battery life
  • Mobile devices automatically wake up when they come within range of a beacon
  • No internet connection required and can store data locally on the device
  • Low cost of implementation

What do you need to use beacon technology?

To use beacon technology for your cleaning or security business, you need:

  • A beacon-enabled mobile app
  • A network of beacons deployed to one or multiple physical locations where your guards or cleaners work.
  • Devices need to have Bluetooth enabled and app-level permissions set to accept push notifications and locations services
  • A management platform for your service managers to monitor content and assess performance of your beacon program.

How secure is beacon technology?

Signals broadcast using BLE are considered public, meaning another mobile app can potentially use the signal for their own purposes. This practice is known as piggybacking. However, beacon manufacturers have rolled out features that prevent others piggybacking off your beacons, by continuously changing the beacon ID in an unidentifiable pattern.

Contrary to many security myths, beacons don’t transmit or receive personal data, or any data at all — they only transmit a 128-bit unique identifier number. They also can’t track location, rather they can only let a mobile device know when a beacon is nearby. And they can’t track just anybody. Users must have opted-in for background location tracking on their mobile devices.

What Next?

If you’re looking for even more information to help you understand tracking beacon technology and software and learn more about its use cases for your security or cleaning contracting, download our Beginner’s Guide to Beacons.