How beacons deliver content to mobile devices?

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Estimote Beacons and Stickers do not deliver content on their own. BLE standard allows only for small data packets to be transmitted over Bluetooth. Depending on beacon protocol, payload can include:

  • beacon ID (iBeacon, Eddystone, Nearable protocols)
  • Measured Power (iBeacon, Eddystone, Nearable)
  • sensor data (Eddystone, Nearable)
  • battery level and telemetry data (Eddystone, Nearable)
  • URL address (Eddystone)

It’s not possible to include additional data in the payload or to flash a beacon with a firmware allowing for broadcasting a custom data packet.

So, I need an app, right?

Yes. It’s an app that detects beacons in proximity. It understands which beacons it’s ‘hearing’, it can approximate distance, and it can read the embedded URL and sensor/telemetry data. This allows for a myriad of interactions, from contextual offers, to contactless payments, to indoor location.

To interact with beacons, an app needs to use Estimote SDK, Apple’s Core Location, or Google’s Proximity API.

Depending on the desired action, the app has to be active, can be running in the background, or can be killed entirely. To learn more, read:

Are there any ready apps I can integrate with?

Sure thing! There are platforms in different verticals that use beacons, so you don’t need to build your app from scratch. Some of them include:

There are also Apple and Google services that natively support beacons:

I want to build an app but I’m not a developer

Nothing to worry about, you can use one of the existing CMS tools to create your app without being an expert programmer.

Tools to explore:

You can also find developers to help you with your project on Estimote Community Forums. Post here!

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16 Comment(s)

  • Avatar
    benjamin

    Eso quiere decir que beacon envía información únicamente si la persona tiene el app de estimote, si no lo tiene, no puede hacer ningún envío de información de forma autónoma. Correcto?

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi Benjamin,

    If I understood your question correctly: yes, you need a specific app to be able to 'interpret' Beacon's signal and trigger given actions. Remember that the Beacon only transmits its ID and information about broadcasting power. The app is responsible for delivering content.

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    balu venkateswarlu bandlamudi

    Hello Wojtek,

    I have a small doubt here.

    Assume I am in a retail store which is equipped with beacons to push offers to customers. The beacons are placed in different sections of the store say Gadgets section, hand bags section ans cosmetics section. When I am in the vicinity of Gadgets section, I received a push message saying '20% cash back on iPads today'. Beacon broadcasts this message to my mobile that I understand. You are saying that beacon will not store any information. In that case how the beacon in gadgets section know that it has to push offers related to Gadgets and how the beacon installed in Cosmetics sections knows that it has to broadcast offers related to cosmetic products?. What are the applications and/or infrastructure that the merchant has to have to provide this kind of features?.

    And also, could you please provide us any manual kind of thing where we can find both technical and functional stuff. Your kind response is highly appreciated.

    Thank you so much.

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi there,

    Because it's not the beacon that stores that information :) Mobile app, installed on your phones, knows that it's in the gadgets section, because it has just been triggered by a beacon assigned to the gadgets section. Therefore, the mobile app can deliver content by itself.

    You can find lots of useful information in our documentation: http://estimote.com/api/index.html

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    balu venkateswarlu bandlamudi

    Thank you, that really helped.

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Awesome, glad to be of help :)

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    balu venkateswarlu bandlamudi

    Hi,

    Is it possible to find the distance between two beacons using the intermediate beacons and finding the possible paths from beacon1 to beacon2. Is it possible?

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi again,

    To do that you'd need to put fixed beacons location into your app.

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    Cris Salazar

    Hello, I'm confused... you'll says that I need an app installed to receive the messages on my phone?? so if I'm walking on a mall where 20 stores have beacons I need 20 differents apps from each store installed on my iPhone to receive the different advices of each store?
    Please help, I'm confused with that.

    Regards,
    Cris

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi Cris,

    I replied via email, but just so others can see it as well, pasting my answer below:
    'It depends how you design the apps. You can have 20 different apps or one single app monitoring for all beacons in the shopping mall. That's how Toronto Eaton Centre apporached this: https://community.estimote.com/hc/en-us/articles/202958823-Toronto-Eaton-Centre-adapts-Estimote-Beacons-to-boost-visitors-experience'

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    Cris Salazar

    Thanks Wojtek, with that in mind, exists one way to receive advices or messages without an app installed, as final user?...
    I have estimote beacons, and have a manager app for the store too, but I see difficult that all users they will install an app... or please tell me how do you do in the promo videos for only with people arrive receive welcome message for example?

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi,

    You can integrate your solution with Passbook if you don't want to create standalone app.

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    Hesam Yavari

    Hello, and thanks for the lots of useful information.
    I am though abit confused about how the data received from cloud.
    If the app itself deliver the information to the user, so what is the role of the cloud? And if the data retrieves from cloud, I cannot find any content management in the estimote cloud! Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi Hesam,

    The app can work offline, but it would only be aware of the location context then. That's powerful, but with the addition of cloud you can enhance it with mobile payments, social APIs, dynamic content etc. It just becomes much more interesting :)

    As for CMS, we do not offer one of our own. We're focused on delivering amazing tools for developers: hardware, SDKs, APIs, analytics, fleet management, security etc. But we do work with beacon CMS providers. Make sure to check these:
    * http://www.roverlabs.co/
    * https://pushmote.com/
    * http://bleesk.com/

    Cheers.

  • Avatar
    Hesam Yavari

    Wow. I am now getting it. Thank you.
    one more question, I want to create an app for stores in my town, which are equipped with beacons, to deliver information to users from each store from its cloud. This way, users only install one app, and stores do not need to create multiple apps. I am not sure if it is possible, or I literally need to ask each stores' beacons' UUID, major and minor one by one? if they provided me with them.
    Thank you in advance!

  • Avatar
    Wojtek Borowicz

    Hi there,

    There are multiple ways to design it. You can of course ask the businesses to provide you the beacon IDs. Or you can, for example, provide them with beacons with a pre-defined UUID. Or you can use Secure UUID with Infrastructure Sharing to make the UUID sharing automated (https://community.estimote.com/hc/en-us/articles/204576027-What-is-Infrastructure-Sharing-How-to-share-beacons-). How you choose to proceed is totally up to you :)

    Cheers.

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