Beacon Implementation Types

There are several types of beacon that can be used in many ways. Here, we show the main ways beacon solutions are implemented. These implementation types aren't mutually exclusive as some beacons can transmit multiple types of data.

1. iBeacon


This is used for user facing services such as retail marketing and visitor spaces such as museums. It works on iOS and Android and needs your app to be installed by end-users. See the article on trigger data and the solutions directory for ready-made server solutions that use iBeacon.

2. Eddystone (URL)


This is used for user facing services such as retail marketing and visitor spaces such as museums. No custom app is required. It works on Android with no app being required. iOS needs the Chrome browser or the Physical Web App.  

No 3rd party server solution is required. All you need is a secure (HTTPS) web site. It's NOT suitable for unsolicited retail marketing notifications. It's only useful for scenarios where end users will be seeking out the beacon transmissions.

3. Eddystone (UID and EID)

This is used for user facing services such as retail marketing and visitor spaces such as museums. It works on iOS and Android but iOS can't detect Eddystone when the app is in background.

Registering with the optional Google Nearby service creates notifications in Android OS. iOS has no Google Nearby notifications but apps can create them in response to messages from the Google Nearby API. The EID variant is used for secure applications as it has changing Ids that can't be spoofed. 

4. Sensing

This is used for IoT proximity and sensing scenarios. Apps or a Bluetooth gateway read sensor data and forward it to a server.

5. Tracking

This is used for tracking items or people with an audio alarm on the phone and/or beacon if the item being tracked goes out of range. It can also be used to detect a beacon button press and cause something to happen, for example take a camera photo, on the phone.

This scenario uses the advertising data to detect beacons and Bluetooth GATT to connect to them.

6. GPIO

This is the reverse of the above scenarios in that we are sending information TO the beacon to operate GPIOs. GPIOs can operate relays as in our beacon relay modules.