Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons is an emerging technology. First introduced in 2013, with iBeacon launch from Apple, BLE beacons technology immediately raised a large interest in the mobile community, recently freshened with the Google introduction of Eddystone format and Physical Web project.
A BLE beacon is a wireless device that periodically broadcast a Bluetooth Low Energy advertising packet, that is received by a smartphone and used to determine the position with respect to the beacon itself. This allows to provide “context-aware” information to the mobile user, opening up the possibility to connect the online (virtual) world with the offline (real) physical world. It is clear that BLE beacons are considered one of the anabling technology for the Internet of Things (IoT).
In this talk, we will provide a review on this technology, starting from a general introduction on how a BLE beacon works and interacts with smartphones. Then, focus will be given on Eddystone beacon specifications from Google, analyzing different advertising formats and their potential applications. Finally, the talk will address Physical Web project, a novel approach, developed and introduced by Google and based on open-source Eddystone-URL BLE beacon format, to enable interaction on-demand between a mobile device and a smart device (a parking meter, an electronic kiosk, a bus stop, …).