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iBeacon vs Eddystone: Which BLE Beacon Technology is the Best?

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Feb 05, 2024
  • RFID
iBeacon vs Eddystone: Which BLE Beacon Technology is the Best?

Eddystone and iBeacon are BLE specification communication protocols that offer ways to use BLE beacons with Android and iOS platform but Eddystone offers easy customization at low cost than iBeacon.

BLE beacon technology is known for low power consumption and periodic BLE signal transmission and proximity advertisements. The technology is slightly different than 2.4 GHz classic Bluetooth. Apple Inc. entered the beacon technology field in June 2013 with the development of iBeacon; two years later Google entered the beacon space and launched Eddystone beacon technology. Currently, Apple and Google have gained a lot of popularity. Companies are now looking for ways to impact new applications, beacon options, and beacon-enabled app development to provide consumers with a comprehensive user experience. Eddystone and iBeacon are communication protocols. The primary function of beacons is to send out a Bluetooth signal at regular intervals, with communication protocols defining the signal's format.

Understanding iBeacon

Apple's iBeacon, uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to construct a wireless communication protocol. IBeacon, introduced with iOS 7, allows iOS devices like iPhones and iPads to receive signals from beacons and interact with the physical environment in a location-aware manner. iBeacon sends a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier), Major, and Minor values, making it easier to identify beacons and enable accurate location-based triggers. iBeacon requires an app to receive, process, or track the beacon. It is compatible with iOS and Android but performs better on iOS.

Understanding Eddystone 

Google developed Eddystone, an open-source, cross-platform beacon solution based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It is intended to deliver location-based services and information to users' mobile devices. Eddystone is well-known for its adaptability, as it supports a variety of frame kinds and capabilities. Eddystone can send three different frame types: Eddystone-UID, Eddystone-URL, and Eddystone-TLM. The Eddystone-UID (Unique ID) is virtually identical to that of the iBeacon. Eddystone-URL instructs a Smartphone or gadget to open a URL. The current Chrome application is all that is required, not the developer’s app. Eddystone-TLM (Telemetry) delivers data from sensors that detect temperature, allowing you to adjust the temperature in a warehouse.

Difference between Eddystone and iBeacon

While Eddystone and iBeacon have the same purpose of giving location information to devices, employing Bluetooth Low Energy specifications, they differ in several key ways. 

Let's look at the main differences between these two systems.

Origin and Ownership

iBeacon is Apple Inc.’s proprietary technology that functions within the Apple environment (now compatible with Android as well). In 2013, Apple Inc. announced the iBeacon protocol, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for accurate location-based triggers and interactions, especially in iOS applications. This exclusive approach provides a smooth connection with Apple devices, resulting in a more logical experience within the Apple ecosystem. 

On the other side, Eddystone takes a different approach. In 2015, Google initiated Eddystone, an open-source BLE initiative, which emphasizes cross-platform connectivity. Google built Eddystone to function easily with both Android and iOS devices, advocating an ecosystem-agnostic approach. It is easier for developers and BLE beacon manufacturers to easily configure and integrate Eddystone with a little bit of customization as required, the same as the Android Platform itself.

Frame Types and Versatility 

iBeacon takes a straightforward strategy, delivering a set of identifiers known as UUID, Major, and Minor values. These identifiers allow beacons to be precisely identified and activate location-based actions throughout the iOS ecosystem. The ease of use is effective for contexts where quick interactions are prioritized, such as retail environments or indoor navigation within Apple-centric spaces.

In contrast, Eddystone provides a more diverse variety of frame styles to suit a variety of applications, making it a more versatile option to choose from. The URL frame enables the broadcasting of online links, resulting in smooth interactions based on proximity. The UID frame fulfills the aim of unique identification and has a wider variety of uses. The TLM frame transmits telemetry data, providing information about the beacon's operational state, such as battery voltage and temperature.

Privacy Features

Apple's iBeacon technology has various privacy safeguards, such as secure pairing and encryption mechanisms. However, the emphasis on user privacy is not as strong as in other beacon systems. iBeacon relies on a secure connection between the iOS device and the beacon to ensure that communication is safeguarded. However, it may not offer the same amount of privacy protection as other beacon methods.

On the other side, Eddystone introduces Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs), a notable privacy-enhancing feature. EIDs frequently modify the identifiers produced by the beacon, making it difficult for third parties to follow individuals over time. Such a dynamic approach to identifier rotation greatly improves user privacy, answering concerns about long-term tracking.

Use cases of iBeacon and Eddystone

Both iBeacon and Eddystone technologies have found uses across a variety of industries, transforming how organizations advertise, share data, and benefit from indoor navigation and tracking. 

Let's look at some of the primary use cases for each platform:

iBeacon vs Eddystone: Which BLE Beacon Technology is the Best?

Use Cases of iBeacon

1. Retail: iBeacon technology has altered the retail business by allowing for personalized offers, location-based promotions, and frictionless checkouts.

2. Museums & Cultural Institutions: iBeacon enables museums to deliver interactive experiences for visitors by providing extensive information on exhibits and guiding them around the site.

3. Healthcare: iBeacon is utilized in healthcare settings for patient tracking, asset management, and real-time communication among medical personnel.

Use Cases of Eddystone

1. Indoor Navigation: Eddystone's UID package enables accurate indoor navigation, making it perfect for major venues such as shopping malls, museums, and airports.

2. Proximity Marketing: Eddystone's URL package allows for customized marketing campaigns that direct consumers to select web pages or apps based on their location.

3. Asset Tracking: Eddystone beacons enable businesses to track assets within a specific area, improving inventory management and decreasing losses.

iBeacon or Eddystone BLE Beacon Technology 

While deciding on whether to choose iBeacon or Eddystone BLE beacon technology, you should consider the flexibility and the scalability these two technologies offer. iBeacon is best suited to iOS platforms and native apps. So accordingly, you’d have to invest in iOS development costs, developing iOS-based apps for BLE beacon. 

Choosing Eddystone, on the other hand, means you can easily modify your BLE beacon app with little to no customization whether you want to use that on an Android or iOS platform. The development cost in the case of Eddystone is significantly low. 

To summarize, iBeacon and Eddystone are two well-known beacon technologies that fulfill the same purpose: using Bluetooth beacon signals to track location. While Eddystone is an open platform with additional customization options, iBeacon is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. However, your platform requirements, desired features, and industry-specific use cases all play a role in determining which protocol to adopt.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Feb 05, 2024

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