BLUETOOTH LOW ENERGY
All new technologies are becoming a part of our environment, but many of them remain unnoticed or incomprehensible.
For many people, beacons are one of these mysterious items.
Many IoT applications in large industries – such as retail and warehousing – use beacons everyday, but these small devices go unnoticed.
Although the mass media has covered IoT technology repeatedly, hardly any outlets explain how these work.
WHAT IS A BEACON? 10 FAST FACTS
• Beacons are small, wireless sensors that are normally placed in a casing;
• The technology uses Bluetooth Low Energy (also called Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth Version 4.0+) to broadcast radio signals or, simply put, to communicate with other smart devices;
• The broadcasted beacon signals can be captured by smart gadgets, like phones, to call ad-hoc actions;
• Under the beacon’s casing, there is a small ARM computer with a Bluetooth Smart connectivity module, which is powered by a battery;
• The module runs on firmware, a piece of software installed on beacons;
• The max Bluetooth Smart playout is 257 bytes, which is insufficient for embedding any media content;
• As the computing power is limited, it can be used for processing sensor data and encrypting a beacon’s ID;
• There is a small antenna from the CPU;
• The antenna is built in to broadcast electromagnetic waves with specific length and frequency (2.4 GHz radio waves);
• The technology is primarily used for mapping and location services using the RSSI (received signal strength indicator) estimate.