Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Overview of Beacon Options in 2015/2016

Posted on: No Comments

Apple’s iBeacon

ibeaconThe original “beacon” standard, iBeacon is Apple’s branding for a Bluetooth Low Emission (BLE) protocol, which is essentially a standard for emitting a three-component identifier consisting of UUID, Major ID and Minor ID. The identifier is sometimes referred to as unique, but in fact any number of beacons can be configured with the same identifier. This permits a degree of redundancy.

Two other ways in which a beacon’s configuration can vary, according to this standard, are the interval and the transmission power (txPower) at which the identifier is emitted. If a particular beacon manufacturer offers any other configuration options, then these will generally be vendor-specific. The beacon’s battery level is typically also available, though the format of this information is not part of the iBeacon standard – something that along with other forms of telemetry (status) information is likely to change in the future.

Because the basic iBeacon standard does not allow for any more information to be included in the communication between a beacon and a detecting device, it is down to the device to make sense of the identifier. Applications therefore invariably use the identifier to look up some information. The information may be held on the device itself or it may be held on a server, with the content of interest being returned via an API.

Though iBeacon is a trademark of Apple, any device capable of BLE, which communicates the aforementioned identifiers, can participate in iBeacon-based applications. This includes Android and Windows devices and not just Apple’s i-devices.

One further observation is that Apple’s devices (the more recent generations of devices, at least) are themselves iBeacons. This can also lead to some interesting applications.

All of the leading beacon manufacturers support the iBeacon protocol.

Google’s Eddystone

eddystone-460wGoogle’s answer to iBeacon is Eddystone. It relies on the same type of hardware as iBeacon. However, beacons supporting the Eddystone protocol, instead of emitting a three-component identifier, emit an opaque ID, a URL and telemetry information called Eddystone-UID, Eddystone-URL and Eddystone-TLM respectively.

If an Eddystone beacon communicates a URL to an app, then this can be used directly. This is in contrast to iBeacon’s three-component identifier, which is typically used to look up some information – often a URL. Eddystone therefore potentially bypasses one technical step (the lookup), though this by itself does not result in any benefit for the end user.

By standardising the communication of telemetry information, such as battery level, Eddystone has also addressed a shortcoming of the current version of the iBeacon standard, which leaves the format of this information to the Beacon vendor (making it somewhat more arduous to manage suits of beacons from different vendors.)

Samsung’s Placedge

placeedgeThough interest in beacon-based applications is growing, one of the biggest inhibitors to uptake is the fact that, in order to profit from the presence of beacons, one needs a dedicated app to listen out for them. No app, no notification.

To address this problem, Samsung announced a technology in 2014, which they call Placedge. Samsung phones – only Samsung phones with a special extension baked into a proprietary version of Android – listen out for any specially configured beacon in their vicinity. Thus a store could potentially send messages to customers, even if the customer has never downloaded the store’s mobile app.

This concept is obviously particularly appealing to organisations, which do not have an app, and which have no intention or ability to create one. It is also of interest to organisations that do have an app, and would like an opportunity to inform potential users of its existence.

However, the approach undoubtedly increases the risk of targeting members of the public, who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in being targeted. This, in turns, risks alienation, rather than providing something useful.

A further shortcoming of the Placedge solution is that it targets only Samsung device owners, losing out on a large swath of iOS users as well as owners of other Android devices.

These shortcomings may explain why very little time has been given to Placedge in the tech media since its launch.

Bestway Mobile app downloaded 10,000 times

Posted on: No Comments

IMG_5926_iphone6_spacegrey_side2The Bestway mobile app launched in September last year has now reached the milestone of having been downloaded 10,000 times by businesses across the UK,  providing more evidence that the group remain the leader when it comes to digital technology within the wholesale sector.

The award-winning app boasts a host of functions including previous order history and in-built product scanner with real-time product catalogue and availability details.

RNF’s Managing Director Rob Mannion says “This is a significant milestone for the Bestway Group and we look forward to delivering many new exciting updates throughout the year. Since its launch the app has continually evolved to improve the customer experience, ensuring it remains at the forefront of any comparable services within the sector”

The app, which is available and free to download for Apple and Android devices, now accounts for around 17% of the group’s total online sales and is the preferred method of ordering for 30% of users who either click and collect from their depot or have ordered stock delivered to their business.

Dawood Pervez, marketing director of Bestway is delighted by the uptake from customers; “When we launched the Bestway mobile app last year, the whole idea was to make it as simple as possible for customers to do business with the Bestway and Batleys ensuring that they could browse and order whenever and wherever they chose to. To have the app downloaded 10,000 times is not only a great success for the group but also shows how customers are embracing new technologies to help them trade more profitably in the changing face of retail. We will continue to innovate and bring new solutions both online and in-depot to make sure that we continue to meet the needs of our valued customers.”

RNF Digital Innovation shortlisted in the national eCommerce Awards for Excellence

Posted on: No Comments


The eCommerce Awards for Excellence, in association with Chase Paymentech, celebrate the very best the industry has to offer from innovations and campaigns to customer service excellence and revenue growth.

RNF has been shortlisted alongside House of Fraser, John Lewis, Toys ‘R’ Us, New Look, ASOS, Fortnum and Mason, Superdrug and Laura Ashley, and will compete for the Best B2B Ecommerce award.

It has been shortlisted for his work with the Bestway cash and carry company. RNF has devised, developed and delivered an app for Bestway which is now operated across its 62 centres, and a new iBeacon system which directly gives each Bestway customer personalised information.

The Bestway shopping app, which features an internal barcode scanner and access to over 20,000 products with real-time price changes, has now been downloaded more than 10,000 times and is regarded as the leading app in the wholesale sector.

RNF has also rolled out iBeacon technology to all 63 Bestway depots which allows personalised information to be directed to customers based on their exact location, the time of day, and can be influenced by their previous shopping history and many other parameters such as customer type or even the weather!

The system is managed is through the BEAM Platform, also devised by RNF, which has received financial backing from Innovate UK.

Rob Mannion, RNF Digital Innovation Managing Director, said:  “We have been delighted that the app and the iBeacon technology has made such an impact.

“Bestway have really been leading the charge with this technology, and is causing waves throughout the wholesale and retail industry leading to some very encouraging enquiries.

“We are alongside some leading industry names for these awards and it will be an opportunity for us to showcase just how we can help companies improve their service offerings with the effective deployment of mobile technology.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on September 30

Seeking motivated and ambitious developers!

RNF is looking to hire new people to join our highly talented development team. If you are interested or know someone who might be, we need people that want to work with cutting edge mobile technology and that are equally passionate about quality. Please contact us directly for more information.

Job Description

Develop high-end, high-quality mobile enterprise apps for industry-leading clients using the most productive tool chain ever devised: React JS and React Native. In this environment, you will work with a highly experienced development team, where quality is paramount and promoted though the systematic use of agile (scrum), rigorous unit- and integration testing, continuous integration, peer reviews etc.

The applications you will develop are designed to drastically improve the enduser’s work efficiency; and make extensive use of mobile device capabilities, including in-app payments (Apple Pay), location-based services, geofencing and iBeacons.


JavaScript, ES6, npm, Jasmine
Experience with React JS, React Native, Angular JS, iOS advantageous.

RNF Digital Innovation seek partners for BEAM platform following £250,000 grant award

Posted on: No Comments


RNF Digital Innovation has secured £250,000 of funding to build upon their ground breaking iBeacon management platform.

The six-figure grant was secured from Innovate UK, to develop the BEAM platform, an iBeacon management system which enables businesses to manage the “user experience” as customers interact with sensory devices such as iBeacons through an online dashboard.

The BEAM platform offers a revolution in how companies or organisations connect with their customers.

It means that businesses or brands will be able to manage and direct relevant messages and content such as offers or promotions tailored to individual customers, as soon as those customers come into close contact with individual iBeacons. 

It will be made available to a wide range of sectors including retail, leisure, tourism and local authorities, where it can be used in museums, theme parks, resorts, town centres, libraries, hospitals and municipal buildings.

The £500,000 BEAM development project, which includes £250,000 match funding alongside the Innovate UK grant, will build upon RNF Digital Innovation’s existing iBeacon programmes which has seen them develop indoor navigation systems for Bestway Cash and Carry, one of the UK’s largest cash and carry operations.

RNF Digital Innovation has already signed up with a number of corporate partners, and is seeking further companies in target sectors to work with the BEAM platform, and will be rolling out its first trials within the next few months.

Rob Mannion, RNF Digital Innovation Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have secured this further funding from Innovate UK and with it we will be able to develop one of the most advanced iBeacon management platforms available.

“Whilst small fleets of beacons are easily managed, the control of large fleets of beacons is a far more complex process and can result in the consumer being bombarded with information of no relevance to them.

“The new BEAM platform will enable businesses to alert individual users to a whole array of offers and information completely relevant to them, their interests and individual purchasing preferences.

“It’s a really exciting new project and we look forward to making more announcements about the project once we have completed the initial trials in the next few months.”

SME Safety Wizard hits Apple’s top ten downloaded Business Apps

Posted on: No Comments

1_iphone6plus_spacegrey_side2RNF Digital Innovation’s new Safety Wizard app, designed to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) meet their health and safety requirements, has proved an instant hit by entering into the UK’s top ten chart for business downloads. 

Only days after its release onto the Apple i-tunes store, the Safety Wizard has proved so popular its entered in at number 9 in the chart for the most downloaded UK business apps for Apple iOS devices.

The app has been downloaded over 1,200 times since it was first launched onto the Apple iOS platform earlier this week.

The free-to-download Safety Wizard app, drawn directly from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Toolbox guidance offers SMEs a solution to help navigate a vast array of health and safety information.

It’s the first time a Toolbox guidance app has been developed using HSE website based information and as a result will offer SMEs the opportunity to access a treasure trove of data at the touch of a button.

The Safety Wizard app gives the user access to straightforward advice on the most common health and safety hazards and shows how SMEs can take practical steps to control the risks in their workplace. There is advice on working environments and on the most common causes of accidents with helpful dos and don’ts. There are sections on the most common hazards such as electricity, gas, manual handling and harmful substances as well as simple risk assessment tools.

Rob Mannion, RNF Digital Innovation Managing Director, said: “We are delighted that the app has had such an immediate impact and charted so high in the official iOS charts.

“It’s the first time that HSE’s Toolbox guidance has been available in this format and offers the user access to a rich seam of information designed to address their workplace health and safety needs. “

“The iOS version of the app has been entirely funded by RNF Digital Innovation and it’s great to see our investment pay off with such a high level of user engagement.

“We are looking now to develop an Android version of the Safety Wizard app and are exploring various funding opportunities to enable us to make this available in the near future.”

The app can be downloaded here

Android version of the Bestway Cash and Carry shopping app launched

Posted on: No Comments

unnamed_galaxys4_white_portraitRNF Digital Innovation’s ‘retail revolutionising’ app developed for the Bestway Group is now available for use on Android devices, only weeks after going live on Apple’s iOS platform.

The free app, which enables Bestway and Batley’s cash and carry customers to shop and order products on the move, was launched in December 2014.

Rob Mannion, RNF Digital Innovation Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to launch the Android version of the app to sit alongside the Apple iOS version, that we first developed for Bestway.

“When we first launched the iOS version, within weeks it featured in the UK top 10 business apps download chart.

“We hope that the Android version similarly grabs people’s attention and it will be interesting to see how popular the Android version is with the Bestway and Battleys customer base.”

 Salih Sheikh, Bestway Marketing Manager, said: “Bestway is leading the field in customer service technology. We are the only wholesaler with a fully functional, Omni-channel approach to marketing.

“RNF Digital Innovation is playing a big part in helping us to deliver market advantage and the enhancement of our customer experience through new technologies.”

The Bestway app features a product catalogue, a barcode scanner that identifies SKUs and adds them to baskets and a depot locator and can be downloaded here

Give us a call. We'd love to hear from you!    Get in touch

©2015 RNF Digital Innovation Ltd  |  Privacy policy