We will explain the device “Beacon” that supports Bluetooth 4.0 or later.
Basic knowledge of Beacon
Beacon is a device that keeps sending signals such as radio waves and light unilaterally in BLE communication. The service will be developed for the first time through a device such as a smartphone that receives signals and an application that processes the information.
The beacons itself does not activate any function or provide services to the user.
Service example using Beacon
Beacons are already being used in a variety of services.
“Radio wave beacons” and “optical beacons” are used in the field of road traffic. Information such as traffic jams, road closures, and required time can be transmitted from beacons installed on the road and displayed on the car navigation system of passing vehicles.
In addition, mountain activities utilize “avalanche beacons” carried by climbers and skiers. In the event of an avalanche or slip accident, search activities will be conducted using radio waves transmitted from the beacon.
A heat map can be created by recording a combination of user location information and identification information. By visualizing the conductors of facility users, it is possible to determine the degree of congestion and utilize it for marketing measures.
Beacons are also available with sensor functions such as temperature, humidity, and illuminance. It is expected to be used in the construction of smart buildings and the agriculture and livestock industries.
There are various beacons on the market today. Here are some typical Apple and Google beacons.
Apple’s Beacon “iBeacon”
iBeacon is a standard installed in iOS 7 released in 2013. It is used for observing the beacons area and measuring the distance to the beacon and is positioned as a technology for expanding location-based services.
Beacon was originally a word for “bonfire” or “smoke signal”. It was named iBeacon by combining the “i” and “Beacon” that are the naming characteristics of Apple products, citing the appearance of transmitting a signal to a distant party.
Google Beacon “Eddystone”
Eddystone is a beacon standard announced by Google in 2015. Depending on the difference in the data sent, it can be divided into three types: UID, URL, and TLM.
Eddystone is said to be derived from the lighthouse of the reef “Eddystone Rocks” in the Falkland Islands, England. This is because the appearance of the lighthouse emitting light is similar to the appearance of the beacon continuing to send signals.
Difference Between Beacon And GPS
Position information measurement system “GPS” using artificial satellites. It shows the position in-plane coordinates by latitude and longitude and is often used in location information services such as map applications.
The disadvantage of GPS is that it is not possible to obtain accurate location information in high places such as indoors or in buildings. In addition, because it receives radio waves from satellites, there may be an error of several meters depending on the communication conditions.
On the other hand, since the beacon calculates the distance based on the strength of the radio wave, the number of floors of the building can be specified. In addition, even adjacent stores and facilities can be identified with high accuracy if beacons are installed in each.
Features of location information acquisition by beacon