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Introduction to Beacon, its protocols and its ecosystem.Also contains information on companies providing end to end beacon solutions from hardware,software and cloud based beacon management.

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  1. 1. Beckon the BEACONS
  2. 2. AGENDA • 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 – iBeacon – Eddystone • Developing a Beacon Enabled App • Beacon Ecosystem • References
  3. 3. BLUETOOTH LOW ENERGY(BLE) A.K.A BLUETOOTH V4.0 • is a wireless Personal Area network technology specification designed by the Bluetooth Interest Group. • low power consumption and cost but maintaining the similar range of Classic Bluetooth. • aimed at applications in healthcare, fitness, security, beacons and home entertainment industries. • The following specification has been implemented by Apple and Google in iOS and Android from 4.3 onwards.
  4. 4. THREE CATEGORIES OF BLUETOOTH DEVICES • Bluetooth: supporting only the “classic” mode • Bluetooth Smart: supporting only the LE mode • Bluetooth Smart Ready: supporting both “classic” and LE modes
  5. 5. BLE COMMUNICATION • 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.
  6. 6. CLASSIC BLUETOOTH VS BLUETOOTH LOW ENERGY(BLE) 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 consumption. Known as Bluetooth v 3.0. Known as Bluetooth v 4.0.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. COMPONENTS OF A BEACON • Tiny computer with Bluetooth Smart connectivity. • Battery. • Firmware telling the beacon what it should do exactly. • Sensors
  9. 9. 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).
  11. 11. BEACON USE CASES Mobile Proximity Marketing Micro-location and User targeting Indoor Mapping
  12. 12. IBEACON • 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 company. – 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.
  13. 13. BEACONS CONT… • 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.
  14. 14. EDDYSTONE • 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.
  15. 15. 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 beacons. Compatibility Android and iOS compatible, but native only for iOS It is Android and iOS compatible Profile Proprietary protocol controlled by Apple Open-source Published on GitHub Ease of Use Simple to implement Broadcasted Packets Only one kind of broadcast packets Supports three different kinds of broadcast packets Usage MobileApp is required to do a particular task once the beaconID is received 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
  16. 16. 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 something. • 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.
  17. 17. BEACON ECOSYSTEM • 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 – Kontakt – Estimote – Sensorberg – Gimbal
  18. 18. REFERENCES • • • • • • •