A BLE Beacon is a hardware including a MCU, a BLE radio, an antenna and a power source. Things like Freescale Beacon, iBeacon, AltBeacon or Eddystone are software protocols with their own characteristics.
How it works?
A BLE Beacon is a non-connectable device that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE or Bluetooth Smart) to broadcast packets that include identifying information and each packet receives the name of Advertising Packet.
The packet structure and the information broadcasted by a Beacon depend on the protocol, but, the basic structure is conformed by:
UUID. This is a unique identifier that allows identifying a beacon or a group of beacons from other ones.
Major number. Used to identify a group of beacons that share a UUID.
Minor number. Used to identify a specific beacon that share UUID and Major number.
These Beacons share the same UUID and Major number, and are differentiated by Minor number.
This Beacon shares the same UUID as the previous ones, but has a different Major number, so it belongs to a different group.
This Beacon is completely different from the previous ones, since it doesn’t share the same UUID.
These packets need to be translated or interpreted in order to provide the beacon a utility. There are applications that can interact with beacons, usually developed to be used with smartphones and/or tablets. These applications require being compliant with the protocol used by the beacon in order to be able to perform an action when a beacon is found.
Beacons can be used on different places to display different content or perform different actions, like:
Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Bars
Suggested wine pairings
Venue check-in (entry tickets)
Event Management and Trade Shows
Navigation and Heat Mapping
Seat finding and seat upgrading
Knowing the crowded locations
Promotions, offers and loyalty programs
Retail and Malls
Shopping with digital treasure hunts
Gather digital up-votes and down-votes from visitors
Allow retailers to join forces when it comes to geo-targeted offers
Use time-sensitive deal to entice new shoppers to walk in
Help in navigation
Engage your customers with a unified mall experience.