Watch this tutorial for an overview of iBeacon technology, standards, and deployment environments.
- [Instructor] iBeacon, or beacon technology allows you to keep track of the position of a device indoors by using location services. The term iBeacon is used for referencing Apple's technology standard. But the term beacon, is for general use. Google and Android devices call their technology Eddystone. The technology allows for a mobile app to listen for signals in the physical world and in turn respond to them by delivering contextual content when they enter or exit the proximity of a beacon.
Beacon's make use of Bluetooth low energy, or BLE. BLE is a wireless technology that allows for data to be transmitted over short distances. It's designed for low energy consumption, but it also has the same communication range as normal Bluetooth. In comparison, BLE has a low energy requirement and it can last up to three years on a single coin battery. BLE is also cheaper than normal Bluetooth devices.
It's ideal for simple applications that require small, periodic transfers of data while Bluetooth is ideal for more complex implementations. Communication consists primarily of advertising small packets of data at a regular interval via radio waves. Advertising is one-way. Meaning that beacons can only broadcast, they cannot receive. Advertisements are meant to be picked up by capable devices running an app that'll respond to the discovery of such advertisements.
Once received it's up to an app to determine how to respond. Different things can happen, including Push notifications, prompts, and other in-app actions. Apple's iBeacon Standard calls for advertisements to occur in 100 millisecond intervals. While broadcast can occur in smaller intervals, and in turn will lead to higher discovery, this comes with the trade-off on battery life. iBeacon's have a standard broadcast range of 100 meters or 300 feet.
This in turn makes it a ideal solution for indoor location tracking and awareness. The use of iBeacons is wide ranging and is in use in particular towards marketing applications. For example, a retail store can target advertisements based on a customer's location. They can also track traffic as customers enter and leave certain areas and aggregate this data to make decisions on how products are placed or determine if current marketing efforts are effective.
- What is iBeacon?
- Turning your iOS device into a beacon
- Discovering device locations
- Monitoring for iBeacons
- Responding to beacon discovery
- Creating a beacon-based app