Fundamentals about iBeacon™ technology

This article will provide you with an overview of the fundamentals needed to understand iBeacon™ technology.


A. Overview

  1. What is iBeacon™?
  2. How does iBeacon™ work?  
  3. Prerequisites of use for iBeacon™
  4. What does Sensorberg provide?
  5. Privacy policy

B. Which beacons does Sensorberg recommend?

C. What opportunities are presented by iBeacon™?


A. Overview

1 – What is iBeacon™?

With the launch of iOS 7, Apple has introduced a new standard for near-field location, “iBeacon™”. When speaking about “iBeacon™”, generally what is meant is the iBeacon technology. The “beacon”, or “beacons”, are radio transmitters, which in essence are only able to send their own, unique identification number (the UUID). 

2 – How does iBeacon™ work?

If a smartphone equipped with Bluetooth LE has an iBeacon™ compatible app installed and is within the emission range of a beacon, it may receive a push notification, which may direct the smartphone user to associated content or location-based services such as navigation, information, entertainment offers.


3 – Prerequisites for the use of iBeacon™                     

A basic prerequisite is thus a mobile app, which needs to be extended with a Software Developer Kit (SDK) in order to be able to receive the beacon signals. Sensorberg has developed a SDK for iOS, Android and Windows apps, which have already been successfully tested with major customers.

4 – What does Sensorberg offer?

Sensorberg develops and distributes a cloud-based Beacon Management Platform and the necessary software to make any app – whether iOS, Android or Windows 10 - iBeacon™ compatible. As a beacon infrastructure provider, Sensorberg enables any company to make its own app iBeacon compatible, as well as to manage all its beacons and the notification contents delivered. The communication between the cloud and the app is ensured by a RESTful API. Sensorberg’s Beacon Management Platform is “beacon agnostic”, which means that it can be used with the beacons of any manufacturer.

5 - Privacy policy

What are the privacy policy issues raised by iBeacon™?

Beacons by themselves do not raise any privacy policy concerns: a beacon can only send a signal and is not able to receive or store any data – in particular, any user data. The beacon solely emits its ID, which is received by the app on customer’s smartphones. The app then requests the contents associated with the ID on the cloud. The beacon as such is not connected to the internet and cannot transmit any data online.

 B. Which beacons does Sensorberg recommend?

iBKS 105 Beacon:

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Estimated battery autonomy of 360 days
  • CR2477 batteries included
  • CE certified, made in Europe
  • Configurable using the “Sensorberg BeaCfg App“ for Android
  • 8 adjustable levels of emission (0,3 to 120m)
  • Emission interval configurable between 100 and 2000 ms.

iBKS USB Beacon:

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • No battery
  • Configurable using the „Sensorberg BeaCfg App“ for Android
  • CE certified, made in Europe
  • 8 adjustable levels of emission (0,3 to 120m)
  • Emission interval configurable between 100 and 2000 ms.

 C. What opportunities are presented by iBeacon™?

The iBeacon technology represents an economical and energy-saving alternative to Near Field Communication (NFC), and enables digital interaction with end consumers directly at Points Of Interest through its mobile devices. This technology makes it possible, for example, to lead people to a precise location within vast building complexes such as airports or museums, to bring online shoppers back to brick-and-mortar branches, or to improve service offers to clients in the banking sector.

Ideas for new iBeacon-based business models are virtually limitless. The smartphone no longer only transmits insights about interactive offers to the end user, but it now also raises awareness about location-based services, creating links between people and places.

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