Bluetooth beacons are hardware transmitters – a class of Bluetooth low energy (LE) devices that broadcast their identifier to nearby portable electronic devices. The technology enables smartphones, tablets and other devices to perform actions when in close proximity to a beacon. The first commercial implementation of bluetooth beacons was by an Australian company called DKTOB (trading as Daelibs), who leveraged Bluetooth for indoor proximity sensing in its Seeknfind location attendance solution. Daelibs designed and manufactured a bluetooth beacon for use in shopping centres based on the Bluegiga chipset. In 2012 Daelibs filed its Bluetooth beacon patent. Bluetooth beacons uses Bluetooth low energy proximity sensing to transmit a universally unique identifier picked up by a compatible app or operating system. The identifier and several bytes sent with it can be used to determine the device’s physical location, track customers, or trigger a location-based action on the device such as a check-in on social media or a push notification. One application is distributing messages at a specific Point of Interest, for example a store, a bus stop, a room or a more specific location like a piece of furniture or a vending machine. This is similar to previously used geopush technology based on GPS, but with a much reduced impact on battery life and much extended precision.
Another application is an indoor positioning system,which helps smartphones determine their approximate location or context. With the help of a Bluetooth beacon, a smartphone’s software can approximately find its relative location to a Bluetooth Beacon in a store. Brick and mortar retail stores use the beacons for mobile commerce, offering customers special deals through mobile marketing, and can enable mobile payments through point of sale systems.Bluetooth beacons differs from some other location-based technologies as the broadcasting device (beacon) is only a 1-way transmitter to the receiving smartphone or receiving device, and necessitates a specific app installed on the device to interact with the beacons. This ensures that only the installed app (not the Bluetooth beacon transmitter) can track users, potentially against their will, as they passively walk around the transmitters. Bluetooth beacon transmitters come in a variety of form factors, including small coin cell devices, USB sticks, and generic Bluetooth 4.0 capable USB dongles.
Source: WikiPedia (bit.ly/2dvLZKn)
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