• Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE)
• Three categories of Bluetooth Devices
• BLE Communication
• Classic Bluetooth vs Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE)
• What is a Beacon?
• Components of Beacon
• Requirements for a Beacon
• Typical Beacon Workflow
• Uses of Beacon
• Beacon Protocols
• Developing a Beacon Enabled App
• Beacon Ecosystem
BLUETOOTH LOW ENERGY(BLE) A.K.A
• is a wireless Personal Area network technology specification designed by the Bluetooth
• low power consumption and cost but maintaining the similar range of Classic Bluetooth.
• aimed at applications in healthcare, fitness, security, beacons and home entertainment
• The following specification has been implemented by Apple and Google in iOS and
Android from 4.3 onwards.
THREE CATEGORIES OF BLUETOOTH
• Bluetooth: supporting only the “classic” mode
• Bluetooth Smart: supporting only the LE mode
• Bluetooth Smart Ready: supporting both “classic” and LE modes
• BLE communication consists of
– Advertising : Devices which want to make themselves discoverable have to transmit periodic
signals containing their identification to other devices.
– Connecting: After device discovery, connection is established and it is possible to read the
services that the Bluetooth device has to offer. We can use these services to read or write.
• BEACONS typically don’t use connections. They only advertise and entire information
related to the beacon is sent in the advertising packet itself.
CLASSIC BLUETOOTH VS BLUETOOTH LOW
Classic Bluetooth Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE)
Pairing of Bluetooth device with the mobile phone
is required before data exchange takes place.
Pairing of the Bluetooth device with the mobile
phone is not required.
Ex:- Bluetooth speaker, Bluetooth headset Ex:- Heartbeat monitor, Blood Pressure Monitor
Supports moderate data transfer rate and
consumes more power.
Low data transfer rate and ultra low power
Known as Bluetooth v 3.0. Known as Bluetooth v 4.0.
WHAT IS A BEACON?
• A beacon is a small device that broadcasts a bluetooth signal at regular intervals which
allows other devices to determine their proximity to the broadcaster.
• It is a one way communication.
• This signal is broadcast in a certain format, a communication protocol that describes the
string of characters and numbers that make up the signal.
• The common protocols that beacons use are
– iBeacon by Apple
– Eddystone by Google
– AltBeacon by Estimote
• Note that beacons do not transmit content.
COMPONENTS OF A BEACON
• Tiny computer with Bluetooth Smart connectivity.
• Firmware telling the beacon what it should do exactly.
REQUIREMENTS FOR A BEACON
• User needs the corresponding app on the mobile phone.
• The app should be ON(need not be open).
• BLE should be ON in the mobile phone.
• User needs a compatible BLE device ( ex:-beacon).
BEACON USE CASES
Mobile Proximity Marketing Micro-location and User targeting
• Beacon format(protocol/firmware) introduced in Dec, 2013.
• Works with iOS and Android.
• Devices implementing iBeacon protocol can only
send one type of signal name UUID.
• Format is
– Prefix: Tells if it is just broadcasting or connecting and also contains manufacturer’s specific data
– UUID: Refers to the ID which is unique for beacons belonging to a particular
– Major: Used to group beacons. For instance, all beacons in a store will have major number
– Minor: Used to identify individual beacons.
– TX Power: Is the strength of the signal measured at 1 meter from the device (RSSI – Received Signal Strength Indication). As the
strength of the signal decreases predictably as we get further, knowing the RSSI at 1 meter, and the current RSSI (we get that
information together with the received signal), it is possible to calculate the difference. iOS has this built-in, for other platforms, it
needs to be hand-coded with an algorithm.
• iOS extra support for iBeacon
– iOS receives notifications on the mobile app from the beacon even if the app is running in
foreground or background mode.
– Monitoring: Enables an app to know if the device enters the beacon region even if the
app is not running.
– Ranging: Once the device is in the beacon region, it
receives the signal. But for ranging the app should be
running in foreground or background.
• A new beacon format by Google introduced in July,2015.
• It is open source and it is available on GitHub.
• Devices implementing Eddystone format can send three
types of signals
– Eddystone-UID (App Beacon): A beacon unique ID number .
– Eddystone-URL(Browser Beacon): Beacon sends a URL broadcast. So that there is no need for an
app to be installed on the mobile phone. The URL opens up in a web browser.
– Eddystone-TLM : Data obtained from sensors connected to the beacon.
It sends sensor data. This is extremely useful for companies that need to manage vast fleets
of beacons since this frame type sends diagnostic data and beacon health statistics.
EDDYSTONE VS IBEACON
Apple’s iBeacon Google’s Eddystone
Technology Built natively into Apple’s iOS 7
and later versions that allows
iPhones and iPads to constantly
scan for Bluetooth 4.0 devices.
Beacon protocol for open source
Compatibility Android and iOS compatible, but
native only for iOS
It is Android and iOS compatible
Profile Proprietary protocol controlled
Published on GitHub
Ease of Use Simple to implement
Broadcasted Packets Only one kind of broadcast
Supports three different kinds of
Usage MobileApp is required to do a
particular task once the beaconID
It supports Eddystone-URL in which a
beacon sends a URL which can be
opened directly by the browser
without the need for an app
DEVELOPING A BEACON ENABLED APP
• Based on the signal being transmitted from beacon, the mobile app can determine its
proximity to its beacon. Based on that proximity, the app can be programmed to do
• Apps can be beacon enabled on devices but using the respective client SDKs for iOS and
Android provided by the beacon manufacturers.
• Beacons can either send iBeacon or Eddystone formats based on the manufacturer.
• A typical beacon ecosystem consists of the following
– Beacons themselves.
– Cloud based Beacon Dashboard: Web based portal where beacons can be setup and managed.
– Mobile Client SDK: iOS and Android SDK so that apps can be beacon enabled with little
addition of code.
– Content Targeting: Manage beacon to content mapping, so that appropriate content can be
shown on the mobile app.
• Companies that provide these kind of end to end solutions are