Adding an IoT Protocol to Beacons

There’s new research by Department Computer Science, Universidad Técnica de Machala, Ecuador on Design and Practical Evaluation of a Family of Lightweight Protocols for Heterogeneous Sensing through BLE Beacons in IoT Telemetry Applications.

The researchers explain how standard beacon advertising works and documents the existing iBeacon and Eddystone protocols.

New protocols, LP4S-6 (for resource-constraint beacons), LP4S-X (for more powerful beacons) and LP4S-J (for beacons able to run complex firmware) are proposed that can be used to allow IoT telemetry systems to discover new nodes and to describe and auto-register the sensors and actuators connected to a beacon.

The paper describes the resultant JSON, shows how a new protocol can be added to an Eddystone beacon and proves how the new latency and power consumption remain low.

Note that updating the firmware of a beacon is non-trivial because it requires the implementation of what’s already on the beacon without access to the original source code.