General informationWhat is a beacon?
A beacon is an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location. A classical example of beacon is the lighthouse, used in navigation, that helps navigators to find their destination. In electronics, a beacon is a wireless device (usually called "radio beacon") that periodically broadcast a radio signal, that is picked up by a receiver and used to determine the position with respect to the beacon itself.
iBeacon is the trademark for an indoor positioning system developed by Apple Inc. This system enables a smartphone or other device (e.g. tablet) to receive a signal transmitted and perform actions when in close proximity to a device (beacon) that uses iBeacon technology. iBeacon uses the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard, also known as Bluetooth Smart. A beacon that supports iBeacon technology uses BLE to periodically transmit a unique identifier, composed by an universal unique identifier, UUID, 128 bits, a major number, 16 bits, and a minor number, 16 bits. iBeacon specifications defines the format of the advertising packet broadcast by the beacon, the advertising channels, the advertising interval, and the procedure for RSSI calibration.
Eddystone is an open beacon format from Google for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons. The Eddystone specification includes a number of broadcast frame types: UID, URL, TLM.
The Eddystone-UID frame broadcasts an opaque, unique 16-byte Beacon ID composed of a 10-byte namespace ID and a 6-byte instance ID. The Beacon ID may be useful in mapping a device to a record in external storage. The namespace ID may be used to group a particular set of beacons, while the instance ID identifies individual devices in the group.
The Eddystone-URL (the backbone of the Physical Web) frame broadcasts a URL using a compressed encoding format in order to fit more within the limited advertisement packet.
The Eddystone-TLM frame broadcasts telemetry information about the beacon itself such as battery voltage, device temperature, and counts of broadcast packets.
Quuppa Intelligent Locating System is a proprietary powerful technology platform for novel location based services and applications. It enables real-time tracking of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) smart tags, beacons and devices, with accuracy even down to a few centimeters. It requires special receiver antennas, called Locators, and is based on Angle-of-Arrival (AoA) algorithm.
Yes. BlueBeacon devices are compatible with all mobile operating systems, supporting Bluetooth Low Energy: iOS (7.0 and later, for CoreLocation iBeacon support), Android (4.3 and later), Windows Phone 10.
Our beacons can be used without proprietary APIs. For iOS (version 7 and above), you can directly use native CoreLocation API, that contains the functions for beacon identification, region monitoring and proximity estimation. For Android devices (version 4.3 and above), we suggest a free open-source library, that allows to manage custom BLE advertising packets from beacons, including iBeacon technology format, and implements similar functions to those of iOS CoreLocation.
No. iBeacon technology has been developed and launched by Apple, and is natively supported in iOS (version 7 and above), thanks to CoreLocation APIs. However, since iBeacon technology is based on Bluetooth Low Energy, it is compliant with all mobile operating systems that support Bluetooth 4.0.