What is Beacon Technology?
The term iBeacon and Beacon are often used interchangeably. iBeacon is the name for Apple’s technology standard, which allows Mobile Apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world and react accordingly.
In essence, iBeacon technology allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, and deliver hyper-contextual content to users based on location. The underlying communication technology is Bluetooth Low Energy.
What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?
Bluetooth Low Energy is a wireless personal area network technology used for transmitting data over short distances. As the name implies, it’s designed for low energy consumption and cost, while maintaining a communication range like that of its predecessor, Classic Bluetooth.
How is BLE different from Regular Bluetooth?
- Power Consumption: Bluetooth LE, as the name hints, has low energy requirements. It can last up to 3 years on a single coin cell battery.
- Lower Cost: BLE is 60-80% cheaper than traditional Bluetooth.
- Application: BLE is ideal for simple applications requiring small periodic transfers of data. Classic Bluetooth is preferred for more complex applications requiring consistent communication and more data throughput.
How does BLE communication work?
BLE communication consists primarily of “Advertisements”, or small packets of data, broadcast at a regular interval by Beacons or other BLE enabled devices via radio waves.
BLE Advertising is a one-way communication method. Beacons that want to be “discovered” can broadcast, or “Advertise” self-contained packets of data in set intervals. These packets are meant to be collected by devices like smartphones, where they can be used for a variety of smartphone applications to trigger things like push messages, app actions, and prompts.
Apple’s iBeacon standard calls for an optimal broadcast interval of 100 ms. Broadcasting more frequently uses more battery life but allows for quicker discovery by smartphones and other listening devices.
Standard BLE has a broadcast range of up to 100 meters, which make Beacons ideal for indoor location tracking and awareness. Refer www.ibeacon.com
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