The website Aislelabs tested a bunch of battery powered Beacons, and did some good analysis of the chips sets and battery usage of the different beacons. It highlights something we have known for a while: Battery powered beacons in-spec require you to change the batteries *a lot*.
Apple is very specific about the broadcast rate of 100ms, and the article quotes the battery lifetime of a variety of beacons with much lower broadcast rates. These are not really “iBeacons” when broadcasting at lower rates since that would not be in the iBeacon spec. Broadcasting at slower rates causes sub-optimal user experience and may cause issue in current and future version of iOS. While battery powered beacon manufacturers may not like this fact since it means their batteries don’t last as long as they would like, it does mean that the battery life and user experience on an iPhone is optimal.
The article also focuses on battery life, and awards 4 beacons based on “style, performance, value, and spoof proof”. A large part of the value of beacons is based on the SDK and software for a solution and this article sidesteps those considerations. Any enterprise deployment would consider the total cost of deployment, including initial deployment costs, battery replacement over time, and physical security. The cost in most beacon deployments is in the deployment, configuration, monthly service fee, and support, rather than in the cost of the beacon itself.
Check out the full report here: