Beacons

Introduction

  • A beacon is a piece of hardware
  • Emits wireless signals
  • Uses low power
  • Is based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology
  • Indicates location or detects proximity

How A Beacon Works

  • Beacon signals wake up apps on smartphones
  • Apps on smartphones send data to server
  • Server receives data and checks database
  • Server pushes data back to smartphone
  • Applications include advertising, promotions, etc

Bluetooth Low Energy: BLE

  • Also called Bluetooth Smart
  • Subset of classic Bluetooth
  • Designed for IoT
  • 100 meter range
  • Supported by most major platforms such as iOS and Android
  • For low power consumption devices
  • For devices that do not send data constantly or only send tiny bits of data
  • Part of the Bluetooth 4.0 core specification
  • Newest: Bluetooth 5

​iBeacon

  • Developed by Apple
  • Based on Bluetooth Low Energy
  • A standard for beacon packet format
  • Broadcasts one advertising beacon packet
  • Packet format has four parts: UUID, Major, Minor, Tx Power
  • UUID: a 16-byte string that differentiates your beacons from other people's
  • Major: a 2-byte string that differentiates different groups of your beacons
  • Minor: a 2-byte string that identifies an individual beacon in a group
  • Tx Power: used to determine distance of smartphone from a beacon

Eddystone

  • Developed by Google
  • Based on Bluetooth Low Energy
  • A standard for beacon packet format
  • Broadcasts three beacon packets
  • Eddystone-UID: 16 bytes long with two parts - Namespace (10 bytes) and Instance (6 bytes)
  • Namespace: differentiates your beacons from other people's (similar to iBeacon’s UUID)
  • Instance: identifies individual beacons of yours (similar to iBeacon’s major and minor numbers)
  • Eddystone-URL: contains a single field: URL; works with a physical web–enabled browser
  • Eddystone-TLM: data including battery voltage, temperature, number of packets sent since powered-up, uptime
  • Eddystone-EID: a random identifier for security