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6 Things You Need to Know About Beacon Technology

Technology allows us to engage in various activities every day without even asking questions. That is, when you turn on the machine, flip the switch to turn on the lights, and when the Wi-Fi signal immediately lets you browse the Internet. In this article, we will discuss the basics of beacon technology and mobile beacon technology.

When a user walks past an area where a positioning system or IoT network with beacons is set up, the nearest beacon sends a code with a message to their mobile device. Then, the message pops up as a notification on a user’s mobile device with a third-party or branded mobile app.

For instance, an employee of a large enterprise needs a new laptop. The system administrator chooses one from the list of available laptops as a sticker beacon on it shows its location.

1. What is a beacon?

A beacon is like a small gadget that emits radio signals to surrounding smartphones and tablets and stores small quantities of data. The time between each movement sent and the signal strength is adjusted to obtain the desired coverage. Mobile applications are used to track broadcast signals, where they trigger an action on the phone at any time when a warning is heard. Beacons can only transmit information to the phone, but cannot read; therefore, they act in the same direction. The majority of the data transmitted by current beacons is hardcoded and does not alter frequency. Once it is set up, it relies on the device that is listening to do something intelligent with the information. With advances in beacon technology, this is likely to change in the future.

2. How far does the beacon reach?

Although beacons can have a range of up to 70m without any obstruction, brick and metal walls can significantly reduce coverage. Thin framed walls have fewer side effects. Most beacon portals operate with three ranges of distances, in which the device performs different actions within each range. These include.

  • Long Range – These are specially designed so that your device can do something when it is close to hearing a beacon, that is, after passing by a retail store.
  • Short-range beacons are meant to work while the device is in the same room as the beacon, such as when entering a store.
  • Closest Distances – These turn on when the device almost touches the beacon, that is, touches a point of sale in a retail store.

3. A beacon burst

A beacon burst is a continuous signal in a beacon network that announces the presence of a base station. It continuously signals any faults in the nominal ring network such as FDDI. The beacon package allows network administrators to identify any faulty node in the system.

Beacon technology can improve the user experience both at the front and back end of almost any company, helping to streamline operations and gather data, drive sales, and deliver unique user experiences. Still, the retail and marketing industries benefit from beacons the most, as they are almost tailor-made for the two.

4. Beacon frame

 This is a management frame category that defines the basic set of services. A beacon frame contains the network data that a station needs before transmitting a frame. In a WLAN connection, beacon frames are used to synchronize devices and communicate their presence.

Beacon frames are wireless router access points that form the base stations for access since they are part of the basic service set. Devices communicate with one another using access points, which send out beacon frames on a regular basis. This allows the connected devices to determine the position of the network channel. Independent core services communicate with other connected devices on a peer-to-peer basis, allowing beacon generation to be dispersed efficiently among them. It consists of a body, an IEEE 802.11 MAC header, and a frame check sequence.

5. Beacon protocol types.

 A beacon of Apple

iBeacon, Apple’s first beacon protocol, was announced in December 2013. It works with Google’s Android as well as Apple’s iOS. This beacon uses the iBeacon protocol to transmit a UUID that has a 24-digit string. The UUID interacts with the installed mobile app.

Pros:

  • Widely supported
  • Implementing Apple Beacon is easy and simple
  • Stable performance on iOS

Eddystone (Google)

Eddystone was announced to the Google Marketplace in July. 2015. Originally, Eddystone was known as Uri Beacon. The beacons that Eddystone supports are specially designed to be able to transmit three different types of frames. Eddy Stone works great with both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. One beacon has enough power to transmit all three types of Google Eddystone frames.

Pros:

  • It sends a URL that removes the need for telemetry information and installs mobile apps
  • Flexibility to open and format
  • Easily integrates with Google products

AltBeacon

The primary goal of the announcement of this open-source beacon protocol was to help overcome protocols that favor a single vendor.

Currently, no open, interoperable specification for BLE proximity beacons exists. Only proprietary specifications exist, which favor one vendor over another. We hope that AltBeacon solves this problem. We also believe we have created a specification that is more flexible and can accommodate different types of proximity beacon implementations and solutions that can benefit, such as rigid identifier lengths and additional payload space for critical information.

Pros:

  • AltBeacon is an open-source beacon protocol
  • It is compatible with other mobile operating platforms
  • It is more flexible when using custom source code

GeoBeacon

Advantages:

  • This beacon protocol is open source
  • It is compatible with other mobile operating platforms
  • Its coordinates are high resolution
  • It uses 8 bytes of user data

6. How do beacons work?

Each beacon has a unique identification signal that allows the data center (Content Management System) to determine which device to click on.

Communication in these devices is via Bluetooth Low Energy, a power-saving discrepancy with standard wireless Bluetooth. BLE technology allows beacons to operate for almost 24 months using a coin cell battery.

The mobile phone is the last item in this chain, it receives content in the form of beacon notifications. Customers always land on the seller’s app when they click on it. If the device does not have an application installed, the client can use the Internet to view the content.

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