Eddystone & Its Impact On Your Business
Eddystone! Everyones talks about it and it’s a word you can’t miss.
So, what is Eddystone?
Just like iBeacon is a bluetooth 4.0 communication protocol by Apple, Eddystone is an open Bluetooth protocol from Google. The first BLE beacon type to gain popularity was the Apple-proprietary iBeacon standard in 2013. It has since been joined by the open-source AltBeacon standard. Alt Beacon specification is intended to create an open competitive market for proximity beacon implementation. For more information on Alt Beacon : http://altbeacon.org/
Now Eddystone has been added to the open source standard. Incase your wondering how Eddystone got its name — it is named after a lighthouse on Eddystone rocks in England. Let’s get into the minor details now.
Eddystone is a cross-platform and capable of supporting Android, iOS or any platform that supports BLE beacons. It is available on GitHub under the open-source Apache v2.0 license, for everyone to use and help improve.
Now, lets take a look at how iBeacons and Eddystone differ
The most significant differences are
- While iBeacon officially supported for iOS devices only, Eddystone has official support for iOS and Android.
- Eddystone is an open source platform
- iBeacon broadcasts UUID, Major and Minor numbers whereas Eddystone broadcasts three different types of data — Unique ID number, a URL address and sensor based telemetry .
- iBeacon provides two API methods for apps to detect iBeacons devices: ranging, which works only when the app is active; and monitoring, which works even if the app is not running. In Eddystone, the Nearby API for Android and iOS makes it possible for apps to find and communicate with nearby devices and beacons.
However, its important to note that Eddystone compatible beacons also transmit a standard iBeacon frame so that the applications on the iOS device start quickly after which Eddystone frames are detected and decoded. Furthermore, iBeacon may be used for application specific purposes.
So,what do the different packets broadcasted by Eddystone mean?
1) Eddystone UID
This contains an identifier for the beacon. An app will use this identifier to trigger the desired action. Whereas iBeacon identifier is composed of three parts: UUID , Major and minor and is 20 bytes long. Eddystone UID is 16 bytes long and split in two parts:
i) Namespace — 10 bytes — Just like in iBeacons UUID is assigned to beacons to identify them from other beacons, in Eddystone UID, Namespace works on the same lines.
ii) Instance — 6 bytes — Just like iBeacon’s Major and Minor number, Instance is used to recognize your individual beacons.
2) Eddystone URL
The purpose of Eddystone URL — 17 bytes — is to make beacons useful even when the mobile app is not available. The Physical Web Project will be using Eddystone beacons that broadcast URLs to help people interact with their surrounding.
3) Eddystone TLM
Eddystone TLM means telemetry. In combination with Proximity Beacon API’s Diagnostic Endpoint can help deployers monitor their beacons battery health and displacement.
What Eddystone means for your business
Well, things don’t change much for businesses deploying beacons already. iBeacon although officially has been supported on Android since the beginning. Businesses thinking to run campaign on Android devices, do not have to necessarily change to Eddystone. In addition, companies like encircle.io offer ambient experiences and work independently of whether it is iBeacon or Eddystone.
Adoption of beacons is an interesting phase right now and it will be thrilling to see how businesses use such opportunities to add more context to the real world.