The Bluetooth SIG has recently released a 2020 Bluetooth® Market Update identifying new trends and forecasts from ABI Research and other analyst firms.
The use of Bluetooth for location is expected to achieve 32% compound annual growth (CAGR):
Obviously, these and other numbers in the report were analysed prior to the coronavirus crisis.
For Bluetooth Mesh, 90% of end-product Bluetooth® mesh qualifications are lighting focused. As with the introduction of iBeacon, which initially focused on marketing messages, the wider capabilities and opportunities are initially not being fully exploited. Part of the problem is that the standard models that come with Bluetooth Mesh are more lighting focused because the standard was driven by individuals from the lighting industry. Custom models, such used by our SensorMesh™, are possible but take more effort.
Depending on the beacon, this can be setup either to only advertise when the key is pressed (button triggered) or advertising all the time and the advertising changes. The former is better for longer battery life while the latter is better when you need to continuously know the beacon is working.
Advertising can be detected:
In apps using standard Apple and Android Bluetooth APIs
A few beacons allow a keypress to be notified to a connected application. Apps on iOS and Android, applications on single board computers and desktops/laptops can connect to a Bluetooth Service Characterstic to be notified when there’s a key press. Connection suspends advertising and prevents the button device from being seen/connected to from other devices.
Long pressing OFF does not cause the beacon to turn off but instead puts the beacon into ‘SOS’ mode where the configured advertising is stopped and the ‘SOS’ can be detected in the configuration app or your custom app and the ‘SOS’ state cancelled.
We have a new beacon, the Feasycom FSC-BP103 in stock. It’s a small beacon that transmits up to 10 channels simultaneously that can be Eddystone-UID, Eddystone-URL, iBeacon or AltBeacon.
This beacon uses the newer Texas Instruments CC2640R2F System on a Chip (SoC) that provides a longer battery life. Also, it can be set to advertise at +5dBm that provides a 100m+ range that’s unusual for a small battery beacon.
We have a new demonstration video showing iBeacon and accelerometer sensor beacons, manufacturer setting apps and the raw Bluetooth advertising data in the Nordic nRF Connect app (Nordic is the manufacturer of the main chip in most beacons). The video also shows a Bluetooth-WiFi gateway, it’s setup and sending of advertising data to a server.
To build your own iBeacon from scratch you need electronics and software skills. You start by choosing an SoC manufacturer and using their prototypes boards and SDKs. When you have working design, you move it to your own printed circuit board and case. You then need to get CE or FCC approval. Read our inside a beacon series of posts for more details.
In practice, it’s less expensive to find a manufacturer who has something as close as possible and ask them to modify for your needs. Many organisations come to us having failed to source custom beacons themselves directly from manufacturers. Unless you have an existing relationship with a manufacturer, you will usually find your enquiries either aren’t taken seriously, aren’t answered, are misunderstood or the purchased beacons aren’t as expected. Sometimes organisations make the costly mistake of dealing with disreputable Alibaba middle-men rather than the end manufacturer.
For large custom orders we usually work on a consultancy fee basis. We are the best connected and experienced company in the industry when it comes to dealing with the beacon manufacturers. Manufacturers trust us. We help you choose the right beacons. We jump start purchasing through knowing which manufacturers are open to doing the various types of customisation. We know the pertinent questions to ask of manufacturers, contact the right people for you, sidestep known problems and negotiate the best price for you as we know what is a sensible price. You end up buying direct from the manufacturer but with the assurance of advice and direction from ourselves.
Consultancy related to using beacons with your idea.
Refining of your beacon specification based on your needs, including regulatory certification.
Working with our technical contacts at suitable manufacturers to work through a solution and price (this usually takes 5 to 8 weeks). We take no commission from the manufacturer.
Advice on initial settings to be programmed at the factory to save you considerable configuration time.