CT: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has the ability to exchange data in one of two states: connected and advertising modes. Connected mode uses the Generic Attribute (GATT) layer to transfer data in a one-to-one connection. Advertising mode uses the Generic Access Profile (GAP) layer to broadcast data out to anyone who is listening. Advertising mode is a one-to-many transfer and has no guarantees about data coherence.
BLE Beacons take advantage of the GAP advertising mode to broadcast data out in periodic, specially formatted advertising packets. Each type of beacon uses a custom specification to partition up the advertising data, giving it meaning. I’m going to take a look at the three existing types of beacons, URI Beacons, iBeacons, and AltBeacons. All beacon types are supported on the mbed BLE team page and have example projects with documentation if you would like to try them out.
S: Mbed – https://bit.ly/2zTM57o (last access: 12 december 2018)
N: 1. Old English beacen “sign, portent, lighthouse,” from West Germanic *baukna “beacon, signal” (source also of Old Frisian baken, Old Saxon bokan, Old High German bouhhan); probably from Proto-Germanic *baukna- “beacon, signal,” from suffixed form of PIE root *bha- “to shine.” Figurative use from c. 1600.
2. Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. They are poised to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors. Consumers might even want to deploy them as part of home automation systems.
3. Today, there are different types of beacons. Their types are mostly defined by size, battery life, and resistance to exogenous factors:
▪ Standard beacons (devices the size of a common Wi-Fi router or smaller)
▪ Small beacons (portable but similarly effective beacons the size of a credit card or a big sticker)
▪ USB beacons (small, portable, quick to deploy)
▪ Parent beacons (track other beacons, gather data and store it in cloud, and more)
Special beacons, including devices resistant to exogenous factors (dust, water, shattering, antistatic and UV) and video beacons — USB beacons that are plugged into back of a screen to deliver visual information (for example, a user approaches a screen in a restaurant, and it displays personalised offers).
S: 1. OED – https://tinyurl.com/yaj4vzho (last access: 5 December 2018). 2. Businessinsider – https://read.bi/2PtkK0U (last access: 5 December 2018). 3. Intellectsoft – https://bit.ly/2QJRGGX (last access: 12 December 2018).