Wiliot, Sensing and Security

There’s a new video that’s part of Deloitte’s Digital Agenda Conference where Steve ‘Mr Beacon’ Statler, SVP at Wiliot describes their new battery free tags.

Wiliot is creating postage stamp sized, battery-free Bluetooth tags powered by harvesting energy from radio waves:

In the presentation, Steve explains how the tags will perform sensing with the data decoded and decrypted in the cloud.

Bluetooth Market Update

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.

Bluetooth Buttons for Lone Worker and SOS

Some beacons can be used to detect a button press. This is useful for lone worker, SOS or paging type applications. There are two main mechanims:

Keypress Shown in Advertising

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
  • On single board computers such as Raspberry Pi
  • Using Bluetooth to WiFi/Ethernet gateways that send the advertising to a server
  • On Macs and PCs using built in Bluetooth (on laptops) or using a Bluetooth dongle
  • On any devices that have a USB connection, using a scanning dongle

Keypress Detected via a GATT Connection

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.


Beacons via
AKMW-iB001M and AKMW-iB002M Yes Yes Transmits the iBeacon or custom channel for 5 secs when the beacon button is double pressed. Alternatively, this beacon can be connected to, for example via apps, and single button presses notified.
H4YesNoTriggers on a button double or triple press.
iBS01, iBS04, iBS01G, iBS01H, iBS01RG,iBS01T, iBS03G, iBS03RG, iBS03TYesNoButton press is in the advertising data.
iBS02M2YesNoCan connect your own button.
M52-SAYesNoButton triggered broadcast.
S1, i7, D15N, E2YesNoSet any of the advertising types to trigger on a button double or triple press
F4 Tracker BeaconNoYes
STiE10, STiE9NoYesLong 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.
W2-P5202D3YesNoButton triggered advertising.
RC10YesNoMultiple buttons.
Puck.jsYesProgrammable so so what you want on a button press.
V.ALRT, V.BTTNNoYesDetect a short press, a long press or a fall. Can also be used with the V.ALRT iOS and Android apps that txt/call up to 3 contacts your location when button is pressed or the device detects a fall.

New W2-P5202D3 Wristband Beacon

We have the new W2-P5202D3 Wristband Beacon in stock.

It advertises iBeacon, Eddystone and acceleration. Rechargeable via USB. Supports always, button triggered (for SOS) and motion triggered advertising.

The app allows you to configure up to 6 advertising slots that can include iBeacon, Eddystone (UID, URL and TLM), acceleration and information (device name, MAC address, battery level).

New Feasycom FSC-BP103

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.

New Demonstration Video

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.

Best viewed full screen.

How Do You Build Your Own iBeacon?

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.

We provide:

  • 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.
  • Advice on software integration.

We charge a fixed upfront fee for this service.

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