Web Bluetooth is a technology that allows websites to communicate directly with nearby Bluetooth devices. Instead of downloading a mobile app and having it sync with devices, web pages can now push and receive data directly from a paired device, whether it’s a beacon, a fitness tracker or a smart light bulb.
We use Web Bluetooth to facilitate a connection between an LTE Beacon and Estimote Web IDE. It’s used to connect to a beacon for the first time and push a first micro-app onto it. You would also use Web Bluetooth to push any subsequent updates or new apps onto a beacon. It’s perfect for the prototyping stage when you have a beacon nearby, but once you reach the deployment stage, pushing updates over LTE is a better choice.
Unfortunately, not all the browsers are compatible with Web Bluetooth yet (namely, Safari and Firefox, among others.) It's yet to be determined if those browsers will implement support in the immediate future, so we recommend Google Chrome as the most reliable browser for using Estimote Web IDE.
Some other browsers that support Web Bluetooth include:
- Chrome v. 56 and newer
- Opera v. 43 and newer
- Android browser v. 67
- Opera mobile v. 46
- Chrome for Android v. 70
- Samsung Internet v 6.2
From our experience, Chrome v.71 and higher works best. For the most comprehensive summary of working with Web Bluetooth, please refer to Web Bluetooth’s Implementation Status file on Github.
Working on a Windows machine?
If you are working on a Windows, you’ll need Windows 10 for Web Bluetooth to work. Make sure to enable “Experimental Web Features” in “chrome://flags”. It's not required but helpful in our experience. You can also use chrome://bluetooth-internals to troubleshoot and check if Chrome recognizes Bluetooth.
When scanning for LTE Beacons using Web BLE on a Windows machine, you will see the beacons on the list along with other Bluetooth devices (e.g. headphones).