GPS vs Beacons vs NFC in location-based apps

Anshul Sharma
Anshul Sharma, CEO & Business Head at Fluper Limited
Published on May 11, 2017 in App Development
GPS vs Beacon vs NFC

Mobile apps have certainly satisfied people’s responses to topography, climate, soil and vegetation. According to the famous quotation by John F. Kennedy:

"Geography has made us neighbour, History has made us friends, Economics has made us partners and necessities have made us allies."

Mobile technology has broken down immaterial that proved hindrance in the past with the ultimate motive of staying connected irrespective to the determination of the place.

Location based mobile apps have taken the discovery to a larger extent which was inconceivable a few years ago. Unlike the usual map, location-based apps are efficient enough to suggest something beyond the route from Point A to Point B. The mobile app development company Fluper knows they can nail all the curious places and can help to give a response to the most frequent questions.

  • Is there any ATM nearby?
  • Is there any Pizza shop nearby in 500 metres at 5am in the morning?
  • Where did I park my car?

As far as trifecta of prodigious user experience is concerned, it brings into the picture personalisation, context as well as location. Although this has been clearly elucidated by Clearbridge, a personalised and contextually relevant experience is more persuasive to users and progressively location is one of the attributes of personalisation that makes the user experience quite pertinent.

Location-based services are used beyond locate navigation. They can be used to locate persons, track vehicle movement, logistics as well as inventory management. Although companies are realising the importance of mobile apps with location-based features, if you are looking to develop an innovative location based mobile app, then you need to ensure at what scenario they work best to create a top notch mobile app development product. Check here some technologies that will help develop a location-based mobile app.

Finance Industry


As far as GPS enabled mobile devices as well as downloadable applications are concerned, location-based apps are quite easy to deploy. In order to enhance search capabilities it can be considered sufficient to upsurge the business. It springs up the problem that a smartphone can easily ascertain its position with the help of built-in GPS transceiver. The mobile app doesn’t need the synchronisation of the carrier in order to offer contending services, some of which are free of cost.

Although GPS Navigation System is regarded as a part of the automatic controls or third party add-ons in order to find the direction in an automobile, there are innumerable tracking devices that are available today in order to cater different requirements. GPS specialists work with the businesses to provide tracking systems which is customised yet for the specific requirements of the particular express.

Advantages of developing a mobile app with GPS

  • Extremely easy to navigate.
  • It is accessible in all-weather so it does not look to worry for the climatic condition like in other navigating devices.
  • 100% coverage on the planet.
  • Cost is extremely low while comparing it with other navigating systems.
  • It can easily be integrated with other technologies.
  • It gets calibrated by itself and hence can be used by anyone.
  • It provides location based technology by the user. This is very helpful in various applications such as mapping, location as well as performance analysis.
  • As far as new visitor location is concerned, GPS helps you to find the new outlets.

Disadvantages of developing a mobile app with GPS

  • GPS chip is considered to be a power hungry which drains battery between 9 to 12 hours. It requires either recharge or battery replacement.
  • It is incapable to pierce through the solid structure. It is constrained by the large structure or building. Users will not be able to utilise GPS service indoor or in dense tree regions or under water.
  • As far as GPS accuracy is concerned, it depends on signal quality which can be affected due to multipath, electromagnetic interference, atmosphere, etc, so the error in GPS signal may vary from 5 to 10 metres.
  • Although it is recommendednot to rely completely on GPS, it upsurges GPS system failure due to backup travel maps with directions.

A Use Case

A special offer can be simply transmitted by banks via ATM machines, promotional quests for the customers can be created by the chain stores, and messaging in order to drive foot traffic to location.


To draw the customers into their brick and mortar locations in order to enhance new technology, many retailers are in favour of in-store experience. According to Business Insider, it is estimated that Beacon would generate approximately $40 billion as far as retail sales are concerned in 2017, and the figures are even expected to grow further.

Beacons are small and often considered to be inexpensive devices that end up with more accurate location within a narrow range as compared to GPS, Wi-Fi proximity as well as cell tower triangulation. A Beacon is capable enough to transmit small amounts of data through Bluetooth technology and as a result, it is more often utilised as far as indoor location technology is concerned, but can be utilised outside as well.

Beacons work like a tandem bicycle in order to trigger action based on rules or particular messages. For instance when a car is within a particular distance, it triggers with a push notification with the help of a Beacon.

Advantages of developing a mobile app with Beacons

  • Data received is as equivalent as goldmines: the greatest value received from Beacons may be considered in the form of data. Beacons have proved to be quite flourishing as far as marketing is concerned. For instance if you are a customer of Bloomingdale’s, the retailers are more likely to delineate questions like: Where do you live? How frequently do you buy clothes? What is your spending capability on clothes? These set of questions are significant to the marketers and would draw an idea of relevant experiences. Beacons are more useful during the time of offers and promotions by brands that are using beacons. What proves to be an insight for the marketer is your location.
  • Easy to use: beacons are small, they resemble hockey pucks or those fake colorful rocks on climbing walls and are quite affordable. Beacons cost approximately $20 along with a car battery that can survive for a year.
  • A beacon possesses standardised protocol in order to perform across all the platforms.
  • Low power utilisation to conserve battery life of device.
  • With the help of proximity detection, it ensures high accuracy.

Disadvantages of developing a mobile app with Beacons

  • Feeble traffic signal.
  • Signals can be easily duplicated.
  • Reporting signals are more likely to be delayed.

A Use Case

Beacons consume less battery compared to GPS or Wi-Fi. Although customers have to switch on Bluetooth and there must be stickers pasted around the store in case they are looking for some special offers.


NFC stands for Near Field Communication which enables short range communication with the compatible devices which look for at least one transmitting device and another to receive the signal. Some devices can use the NFC standard and can be regarded as either passive or active which depends on the working of the device. Active devices are capable to receive as well as send data but can also establish communication with each other, even with passive devices.

Advantages of developing a mobile app with NFC

  • NFC is considered to be a perfect source since it merges the mobile device with wallets. It is quite intuitive and with just a simple touch NFC can be used for payments.
  • NFC is accredited with versatility from all kind of situations ranking from transit passes to movie passes, reward systems as well as keys. It allows to get it used with a broader range of services since innovation enables to manipulate with the core development of software.
  • As far as safety is concerned, NFC is considered more secure than a credit card magnetic stripe.

Disadvantages of developing a mobile app with NFC

  • NFC is not ubiquitous i.e. if companies are not willing to integrate NFC, then consumers will not be able to use this technology.
  • It is more encrypted compared to credit card magnetic stripe but a major risk behind NFC is its vulnerability to get computer hacked or phone hacked.
  • This technology is quite expensive and it is quite arduous to find the additional profit while investing into the business.

Use Case

In order to prove the identity to a room service worker, a guest can simply touch an NFC where the personal data will be transmitted to the desktop of hotel employee. Customer can avail special offers as far as other businesses are concerned while checking-in NFC, a guest can receive discount coupons for a purchase in a museum or a local partner shop.

Which location-based technology will be well accommodated in your business?

It is still ambiguous. The decision must be taken by considering the advantages, disadvantages, use cases and various other factors that can influence mobile app technology. Although in various cases, the optimal solution can be considered as the combination of techniques.

As far as cost of mobile app development is concerned, it is relied upon the mobile platform choice as well as the functionalities to be added. Hire a proficient mobile app development company like Fluper to develop the most path-breaking mobile app in order to explore new horizons, earn a good reputation reckoned by financial stability.

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About the author
Anshul SharmaCEO & Business Head at Fluper Limited

Mr. Anshul Sharma is responsible for overall Executive Operations, Pre-Sales, Technical Functioning, and Structuring of Corporation. With extensive experience of 4+ Years in Sales and Marketing, he is a deserving and competent architect to forecast a...

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