Beacons are energy efficient, new and broadcast-only Bluetooth Low Energy device assuring to add location awareness to the apps. These inexpensive, tiny and long lasting broadcasters send out information in small packets at regular intervals. A unique identifier is this data, and it can be picked up by Smartphone’s and devices that are Bluetooth-enableds to enable contextual awareness.
The concept was initiated by Apple’s iBeacon, and Google now has plunged into the fray with the format of Eddystone beacon. iBeacon transmitted a simple UUID, but Eddystone adds the ability to broadcast URL information and telemetry data. Now, who is to rule, is it iBeacon or Eddystone?
Apple’s iBeacons was introduced in 2013 and the buzz around beacons started. Taking advantage of Bluetooth Low Energy mode on broadcast only, a beacon device is a BLE that transmits data at set intervals, even without pairing with other devices. The inability to pair has a fair share of benefits. The energy consuming pairing process need for these beacons last for months or even years without the need for replacing batteries.
The iBeacon payload has the iBeacon prefix, a UUID, Major, Minor, a data length and Tx Power value. The UUID identifies usually the company and store or the beacon building is located in while the Major and Minor identify the specific area that is the beacon location. Tx Power calculates the distance of the beacon from the device it is listening and is used for ranging applications. iBeacons enable powerful applications. As the unique identifier is associated with a of a specific beacon location, the apps detect the beacon to benefit from contextual awareness.
iBeacons can be implemented on everyday objects such as pet collars, bicycles or even as stickers for mobile. This allows tracking or geofencing a pet using a collar having a beacon, or even locking and unlocking a computer if a beacon is nearby.
Google came out with EddyStone, an open-source beacon. Eddystone improves on the iBeacons strengths, adding additional data types broadcast, and addresses its weaknesses, offering app-less beacon functionality, thus enhancing security through the ephemeral IDs.
Same as iBeacon, Eddystone beacons transmit unique identifier that is found by an app to provide context, however iBeacons are associated with location data, Eddystone’s close integration with Beacon API expanding the UUID functionality. The API connects cloud-based repository that associates beacon unique identifiers and is a useful application data.
Eddystone beacons can broadcast URLs that are interpreted by Android OS, or on iOS devices. The capability of Eddystone’s broadcasting URL; a beacon cans end any user with a compatible Smartphone BLE running the chrome or Android browser to a page even showing the next bus available.
In comparison to iBeacons, the Google’s Eddystone beacons are simple to manage and help in transmitting telemetry data, the number of frames sent temperature, battery voltage and other information to assist or monitor the condition of a beacon.