iBeacon and BLEep beacon Basics

  1. What is iBeacon?
  2. Are BLEep beacons iBeacon compliant?
  3. What is a BLEep beacon and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?
  4. What is the range and proximity of BLEep beacons?
  5. What is the unique ID of a BLEep beacon?
  6. More BLEep magic!
  7. Can I replace the battery?
  8. Can BLEep beacons be used outdoors?
  9. Do users need an app to interact with beacons?
  10. Do users need an active bluetooth connection to detect beacons?
  11. Does the app need to be active to receive actions?
  12. Is there a limit to the number of mobile phones a beacon can transmit to simultaneously
  13. Do I need technical know-how to deploy a beacon solution?
  14. Need more technical specification for BLEep beacons?
  15. How do I order BLEep beacons?

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is the trademark for an indoor proximity system that Apple Inc. calls "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence."

Many people perceive iBeacon as the emitting device (beacon), but this is inaccurate.
iBeacon is a framework introduced by Apple Inc. in Sept 2014 that enables nearby iOS 7 (and above) mobile apps to detect, authenticate and react to bluetooth signals (radio waves) emitted out by such beacons without the need for bluetooth pairing. 

Are BLEep beacons iBeacon compliant?

BLEep beacons have been designed and certified by Rainmaker Labs Pte Ltd. to meet Apple’s performance standards and support apps running on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that incorporate the iBeacon protocol

What is a BLEep beacon and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?

A BLEep beacon is a transmitter that utilizes a 2.4GHz Bluetooth 4.0 Smart (also known as Bluetooth low energy) bidirectional radio.

This isn’t the same as the “Classic” Bluetooth technology that we’re all familiar with (the one that required pairing, but never worked). BLE was merged with “Classic” Bluetooth technology in 2010 when the Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0 was adopted and has been implemented to current generation smartphones (Samsung Galaxy S3 & onwards, Apple iPhone 4s & onwards) with the updates in Jellybean 4.3 and iOS 7.0.

The magic is that BLE enabled devices can now receive Bluetooth signals without the requirement for pairing. As such, BLE opens up huge market potential; for the simple reason is that it has extremely low energy requirements, with a single button battery lasting for onwards of 1 year depending on usage, is small in size and cost and has huge compatibility with a large installed base of smartphones and tablets.

With BLEep SDKs and BMS, you can now manage how your app interacts with beacons without editing the source codes. Register today!

What is the range and proximity of BLEep beacons?

A BLEep beacon is installed in a fixed location and broadcasts its signal constantly to all the devices around it. This could range from distances as close as 15cm to as far as 50m away. 

The exact maximum range would depend on the environment that BLEep is deployed in. You can speak to our team of experts for deployment best practices. 
Fundamentally, Bluetooth signals are radio waves and as such suffer from the same limitations; and thus could be interfered with or absorbed, thereby limiting the range of detection.

Mobile apps within signal range pick up the Bluetooth signal and estimate the distance between the mobile app and BLEep beacons by measuring the received signal strength. The closer you are to a BLEep beacon,the stronger the signal is. Minimum or maximum signal threshold could be implemented on BMS which interacts with your mobile apps to create a minimum detection radius. Devices could check this received signal strength depending on requirement. The more often the checking, the more stable and robust the signal is, which would enable a better customer experience to be attained.

Mobile apps could pick up one or more of these signals at any point in time. If two or more IDs are within range, your device can estimate the distance to each beacon and thus approximate your relative position. The mobile app is constantly monitoring the IDs received and the received signal strength and simultaneously comparing it to different predefined zones (ranges) around BLEep™ beacons. Hence the device is constantly aware of which zone it is in; and is notified whenever the user leaves or enters a zone. In such an event, the context has now changed, and a different action can be triggered in the application.

What is the unique ID of a BLEep beacon?

Each BLEep beacon generates a unique signal ID. Each ID is 20 bytes long and comprises of 3 parts; the Universally Unique Identifier (16 bytes), a major identifier (2 bytes) and a minor identifier (2 bytes), which translates to a string of 40 hexadecimals. An ID could look like this: 8df234b6-1c3e-649a-832f-a30bc45091af-78df-903b. Thats about 1.461 * 10^48 (or 1641 quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion) possibilities for an ID. The chances of a repeat ID are infinitesimally small. So think about each ID as a unique fingerprint.

More BLEep magic!

Once your application picks up an ID, the distance from that signal is calculated by your device based on the received signal strength. This determines location and context. Combining this location, context and distance, you could now display different action or any content on your mobile app. This may require the mobile app user to have a live data connection on their device. We provide the full back-end content management systems aka BMS for you to determine what actions occur when the device detects the ID so you don’t have to build your own.

What is truly astounding is that the applications can be pre-configured to listen for particular identifiers. Whenever the device comes into range of one of these identifiers, the application is notified of this, and an action can be prompted whether or not the phone is locked or the application is not currently running.

Can I replace the battery?
Yes, you absolutely can. All you need to do is
1. Clasp the beacon in the palms of both hands firmly.
2. Twist with the right hand moving towards your body and the left hand moving away.
3. Detach the casing.
4. Remove the chip.
5. Remove the battery.
6. Replace the battery with the '+' symbol facing the battery holder

We strongly recommend using Panasonic CR 2477 3V batteries.

Can BLEep beacons be used outdoors?
Yes, you absolutely can.
Yes, but we do not generally recommend for outdoor uses as the environment would significantly affect battery life and radio signals (i.e. cold temperature, moisture, etc). Speak to our team of experts for outdoor deployment best practices.

Do users need an app to interact with beacons?
Yes, potential users / customers whom you wish to engage need an iBeacon-enabled app to interact with beacons. These apps could either have integrated BLEep SDK, Apple's standard SDK, any open sourced SDK or built it in conjunction with the iBeacon framework. 

Do users need an active bluetooth connection to detect beacons?
Yes. users must have bluetooth switched on in their mobile phones to detect beacons. 

Does the app need to be active to receive actions
No, the app can be running in the background or even close and users will still see notifications on their lock screen (assuming push notifications are enabled). The only limitation affects iOS mobile phones where that they need to successfully exit and then enter a region again for actions to be triggered (within a 10 minute window) when the app is close.

Is there a limit to the number of mobile phones a beacon can transmit to simultaneously?
No, there is no limit how many mobile phones a beacon can transmit to. 

Do I need technical know-how to deploy a beacon solution?

No you don't need to. You can immediately access BLEep Beacon Management System (BMS) and begin managing your fleet of beacons and start calibrating triggers and actions. 
You can also download our iOS mobile app and Android mobile app which interacts with BLEep BMS

Need more technical specification for BLEep beacons?
Request a BLEep beacon technical primer from us

How do I order BLEep Beacons?

You can click over to the BLEep store and start ordering BLEep Starter Kit which consists of 3 beacons and starts at USD$99.00 or BLEep Enterprise Kit which consists of 10 beacons and starts at USD$269 (10% discount). 

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