BLUETOOTH LOW ENERGY

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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. 

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