An overview of Beacons, iBeacon and Eddystone

Beacons refer to small Bluetooth radio transmitters transmitting a single signal visible to other devices. It broadcasts radio signal comprising of letters and numbers combination transmitted at regular interval at 1/10 of a second. This is identical to your smartphone featuring a Bluetooth equipped device.

iBecaon and Beacon are interchangeably used as iBeacon is the Apple’s technology name that allows mobile apps to listen to the signals from beacons and to react. The iBeacon technology permits mobile apps to deliver contents hyper-contextual to users depending on a location. This is done by the Blueetooth Low Energy technology.

IBeacon

  • Apple launched iBeacon in December 2013. It works with Android and iOS
  • iBeacon transmits a 16digit numbers string UUID , Major and Minor 4 digits each.. They are not any tracking devices or mini-servers. The Apps do the tracking and are programmed to do so.
  • iBeacon requires an app that specific UUID to engage.
  • The UUID is the same for all iBeacons working on a specific app. In fact, the “Major” and “Minor” IDs are employed for unique identification.

Eddystone

Google announced Eddystone™ in July 2015. Initially it was called UriBeacon for some time and later the name changed to Eddystone.  Beacons supporting Eddystone use three frame types to transmit:  Eddystone-URL, Eddystone-UID or Eddystone-TLM. All the frame-types work with Android and iOS. Even a single beacon with Eddystone firmware transmits one, two or all three frame-types.

Eddystone-URL is the “Physical Web”beacon format, where you put content if you wish everybody to access it. However, Eddystone-URL does not need a custom app, yet certainly requires a beacon browser. The plus point is you need not build or develop an app. Eddystone-URL transmits a URL, that is a simple web page. Nothing complicated. You may link on the Internet to any site and such links can be managed easily with Physical Web Remote Control.

 

Eddystone-UID (App Beacon) -UID requires an app to receive the specific UID to engage. Eddystone is similar to iBeacon, and it only broadcasts a 16 digit characters string, divided into a 10 character where it includes“Namespace” and “Instance” a 6 character ID. Typically the Namespace helps in identifying an entity and the Instance that an individual beacon or two beacons have the same UID.

Eddystone-TLMEddystone-(TLM = Telemetry), TLM connects both App and Browser uses. The main function is to transmit from the beacon, sensor and administrative data. Currently this frame includes the battery state of the beacon, its temperature, the time of the power-on, but in the future may include other sensor data.