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Eddystone Beacon: How Does It Work?

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Mar 14, 2024
  • RFID
Eddystone Beacon: How Does It Work?

"Google’s Eddystone beacon is a wireless BLE protocol that works on Android and iOS platforms, allowing BLE beacon devices to easily broadcast information to smartphones and tablets."

Welcome to the world of Eddystone Beacons, where the possibilities of location-based technology are endless. Apple introduced iBeacon, a BLE based protocol in 2013, which was integrated into Apple devices' iOS operating systems. Its purpose was to provide unique identifying signals to approaching or nearby phones and tablets. They were utilized for indoor navigation while offline. Two years later, in 2015, Google launched its BLE Eddystone beacon protocol as an iBeacon competitor. Google’s BLE protocol Eddystone is famously named after a historically famous lighthouse in English coast in the county of Cornwall.

Understanding Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Technology

Before we dive into the specifics of the Eddystone Beacon, it's important to understand the underlying technology that powers it. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a Bluetooth 4.0 based protocol notable for its low power consumption and intermittent signals transmitted as a Bluetooth beacon at frequencies ranging from 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz. It uses a larger bandwidth (2 MHz) than Bluetooth Classic (1 MHz).

Bluetooth LE (Bluetooth 5.4) now supports periodic advertising with response (PAwR), encrypted advertising data (128-bit AES encryption, just as Bluetooth Classic), and authenticated and unauthenticated connections.

The devices equipped with BLE can communicate with each other without draining their batteries quickly. As a result, BLE beacons like Eddystone and iBeacon can operate for long periods, providing reliable and accurate location information. The combination of BLE and Eddystone Beacon opens up a whole new world of possibilities for businesses looking to engage with their customers in a highly targeted and personalized manner. 

Now, let's take a closer look at how the Eddystone Beacon works:

How the Eddystone Beacon Works?

The Eddystone by Google is a wireless protocol that allows BLE beacon devices to transmit signals using BLE technology. These signals contain a unique identifier code that nearby Android and iOS devices can detect. When a smartphone or other mobile device with an Eddystone-compatible app comes within range of the beacon, it receives the signal and can determine its proximity to the beacon.

The Eddystone Beacon signal contains information about the beacon itself, such as its unique ID, transmission power, and other optional data like temperature or battery level. The data is crucial for devices to accurately determine their proximity to the beacon.

When a device detects an Eddystone beacon signal, it can perform a predetermined action based on its proximity to the beacon. For example, a retail store can deliver targeted offers or discounts to customers who are near a specific product display. Museums can give visitors extensive information on an exhibit as they approach it. The options are limitless.

The integration of Eddystone Beacon with mobile apps enables businesses to deliver highly relevant and contextual content to their customers, enhancing their overall experience and driving engagement through proximity advertisement.

Types of Eddystone Frames

1. Eddystone-URL

It offers a way to transmit a URL for it to be detected and discovered through a Bluetooth low-energy scanner device. The BLE device will then receive the link and deliver the appropriate webpage to users. Eddystone-URL provides a compressed Uniform Resource Locator of a specific site as part of the beacon transmission, allowing mobile devices such as smartphones to automatically access the web address in a browser as soon as they detect the beacon packet. Because there is only so much room in the packets, the URLs must be extremely short.

2. Eddystone-UID

This Eddystone frame consists of three fields: namespace identifier (10 bytes), instance identifier (6 bytes), and power calibration (1 byte). It will allow you to configure the field directly on the BLE beacon. Because beacons have distinct instance IDs, the instance identifier is intended to uniquely represent each one. The power calibration field is used to calculate the distance between a mobile device and the Eddystone beacon using the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator).

3. Eddystone-TML

It is intended to supplement the URL frame or the UID frame. TML is not communicated as frequently since the timeliness of the information provided by it is less crucial. The primary function of the Eddystone-TML frame is to provide a comprehensive report on the health status of the Eddystone Bluetooth beacon. It includes the beacon's version, current temperature, current battery level, uptime (the number of seconds the beacon has been powered), and PduCount (the number of advertising packets the beacon has disseminated since its previous power).

4. Eddystone-EID

It ensures a device's security and privacy. During the deployment process, the Ephemeral ID changes repeatedly. EID is similar to Eddystone-UID but differs in that it has a single 8-byte AES-encrypted identifier. The identifier alternates at regular intervals based on the Eddystone beacon arrangement. To enable your BLE beacon to communicate EID, you must first register with Google's Proximity Beacon API.

Advantages of Using Eddystone Beacon

It offers several advantages over traditional location-based technologies. Here are a few key benefits:

1.Versatility: Eddystone Beacon is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones, making it available to a wide range of consumers and eliminating the need for businesses to develop separate apps or solutions for each platform.

2. Accuracy: The use of BLE technology allows Eddystone Beacon to provide extremely accurate location data. It enables businesses to send users personalized content or notifications based on their exact location within a real place.

3. Flexibility: Eddystone Beacon supports multiple frame formats, allowing businesses to select the most appropriate format for their specific use case. Eddystone Beacon can adapt to a variety of requirements, including broadcasting URL links, providing telemetry data, and enabling secure data transfer.
4. Scalability: Eddystone Beacon may be deployed in large numbers without any significant infrastructure needs, making it a cost-effective solution for organizations spanning vast areas or several sites.

Eddystone Beacon Deployment Considerations

Deploying Eddystone beacons requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Beacon Placement

The location and placement of beacons and gateways play a crucial role in their effectiveness. Beacons should be properly placed to maximize coverage and accuracy. Signal interference, physical impediments, and the layout of the room all need to be considered during the deployment process.
2. Battery Life

Eddystone Beacons rely on battery power for operation. To reduce maintenance requirements, use beacons with a long battery life. Furthermore, using power-saving measures such as altering transmission power or intervals can help extend battery life even further.
3. Privacy and Security

As with any technology that collects and transmits data, privacy and security should be prioritized. Businesses must ensure that user data is managed responsibly and kept secure from unauthorized access. Encryption and proper practices for data handling can help preserve user trust.

To summarize, Eddystone Beacon is the next way to conduct business and engage customers. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to provide accurate location-based interactions, providing users with tailored content and notifications based on their proximity to the beacon. Whether it's providing personalized offers in retail, enhancing the visitor experience in tourism, or streamlining operations in transportation, Eddystone Beacon has the potential to transform various industries. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Eddystone 

Q1) Can Eddystone Beacons work offline?

Eddystone Beacons do not require an internet connection to broadcast their signals. However, for certain types of interactions (such as opening URLs), an internet connection is required on the receiving device.

Q2) What is Google's Proximity Beacon API?

Google's Proximity Beacon API is a service provided by Google that allows developers to manage and interact with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to register beacons, associate them with specific locations or places, and then use them to deliver contextually relevant experiences to users via mobile apps.

Q3) How do I configure an Eddystone beacon?

Eddystone beacons can be configured using dedicated software or mobile apps provided by beacon manufacturers. Through these tools, users can set parameters such as the beacon's identifier, transmission power, advertising interval, and the

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 12, 2024

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