Bluetooth Beacon and its uses:
- Would you like to find your keys when you lose them?
- Can you imagine visiting a museum or a tourist site where you have the information about the place on your smartphone?
- Would you like to know if you forgot your backpack or coat in a restaurant or if your wallet is being stolen?
In this article we will explain what a Bluetooth Beacon is, how it works and how it is helping to transform the user experience.
Find out how bluetooth beacon and Apple’s latest AirTag can help you avoid losing your keys, forgetting them or having your belongings stolen.
Bluetooth Beacons provide the perfect technology for everyday use because of their low power consumption and reasonable range.
It allows you to interact with other nearby devices and opens up a world of possibilities that will make everyday life easier.
What is a Bluetooth Beacon?
The literal translation of a Beacon refers to a “beacon” giving an idea of how this technology can work.
Bluetooth Beacon are devices that when installed or placed in a location send events.
These events allow any device using the Bluetooth protocol to be identified and respond to it in some way.
In general, beacons use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology, a version of Bluetooth that optimises the energy consumption of the devices.
For this reason, these devices are usually powered by a battery that can last up to several years.
They usually use button batteries (LR44 button cell) but with a greater thickness, which allows them to have a greater capacity and therefore a longer life for the device, between one and two years.
The name “beacon” was patented by Apple. For this reason, the term iBeacon is used to identify this technology although there are currently different de facto standards for it.
It is common to find people confusing this technology with NFC, although both are transmitted over a wireless and contactless medium.
NFC is less invasive as it works over a shorter distance and requires authorisation from the user to communicate.
How does a Bluetooth Beacon work?
The Bluetooth Beacon works by making use of less power consumption compared to conventional Bluetooth devices.
As a bluetooth device, it uses the same frequency as wifi (2.4 GHz), which allows for greater penetration through walls.
This makes it ideal for use in enclosed environments or environments with many building elements or rooms.
The operation of a Bluetooth Beacon is very simple, as mentioned above the beacon sends presence messages (beacon) with a certain time frequency.
These messages are sent every few milliseconds to several seconds, the information sent by the beacon usually consists of an identification number.
The packet of information sent by the beacon is received by other Bluetooth devices, such as the smartphones we are used to carrying.
These smartphones are responsible for processing the packet and obtaining a result.
As shown in the picture above, a beacon sends a data packet wirelessly via Bluetooth and a smartphone receives it and performs the necessary actions.
An application on the phone processes the packet by connecting to a server in the cloud.
It obtains from the cloud the information to be displayed to the user, in this case information about the different types of shoes.
In which areas can we find them?
In the example above, we can see that they can be used in multiple shops to display information about the different products available in them.
But in what situations can they be of practical use?
- Museums: Substituting or complementing audio guides, starting the explanation when you stand in front of a specimen.
- Indoor geolocation: GPS indoors usually works quite badly. Using several beacons, a person could be positioned more accurately in a room.
- Recognition of equipped devices
- Publicly useful information: With these devices it is possible to display information of interest to the public, e.g. when entering a bus station, to indicate the number of bus lines with their respective destinations, etc.
- Finding lost objects when attached to a key ring or inside a bag.
- Receive a warning if the beacon moves away, which can warn us that we are leaving something behind or that we are being robbed.
- And many more that we will be seeing over the next few years.
Bluetooth Beacon is a new technology that is here to stay and try to improve our ability to interact primarily with the environment.
Additionally, as a powerful tool to help marketing and improve sales conversion in physical shops.
Its easy deployment, with no wired installations, makes it attractive for use and implementation.
If you want to see in real time which devices have bluetooth in your home or office and see detailed information about them, download Acrylic Bluentooth LE Analyzer for free.