Our article on What are Beacons shows the kind of data sent by beacons. While this might be iBeacon or Eddystone, both are a subset of all Bluetooth advertising as sent out by all Bluetooth LE devices such as smartphones, Fitbits and even industrial machines. The Bluetooth LE advertising advertising is just a short series of numbers.
Gateways look for Bluetooth advertising and send this on to a web server together with the signal strength of the detected device, the gateway’s own Bluetooth MAC address and MAC address of the detected Bluetooth device.
In some situations a very large number of devices can be detected, most of which aren’t the ones that need to be detected. This can cause either the gateway to become overloaded or too much extraneous data to be sent to the server.
All gateways have ways of filtering what advertising is sent to the server. This usually includes matching some or all of the advertising with a given hexadecimal string and the ability to ignore devices weaker than a given signal strength.
Even after filtering, it’s possible in extreme circumstances that a gateway processes too many beacons and becomes overloaded. In these cases it’s important to have a gateway that can support the highest throughput. Gateway specifications detail the typical maximum number of devices that can be detected which varies considerably between devices. Ethernet connected devices tend to be more performant than those connected by WiFi. Also consider setting the gateway to only detect beacons close by and use more gateways per given area. Consider using MQTT in preference to HTTP so as to cause the gateway to do less work.
The iGS01S is a new version of the iGS01. It’s functionally compatible with the iGS01 in that you can replace an iGS01 with an iGS01S and it will behave similarly. Hence, it’s also compatible with BeaconServer™ and BeaconRTLS™.
iGS01 gateways allow you to scan for nearby Bluetooth devices and send the scanned data up to a server, including AWS IoT, via TCP, HTTP(S) POST or MQTT.
The main change is the case which the manufacturer has changed to allow commonality of parts with the Ethernet version, the iGS01E.
We now have the INGICS iGS02E Bluetooth to Ethernet gateway (without PoE) in stock.
This small device looks for Bluetooth LE devices and sends their advertising on to a server via TCP, HTTP(S) or MQTT including AWS IoT. If you use with sensor beacons, this provides a quick and easy way to provide for IoT sensing.
We have the new Minew G1 gateway in stock. The G1 gateway collects advertising data from iBeacon, Eddystone, Bluetooth LE sensor and other Bluetooth LE devices and sends it to your server by HTTP(S) or MQTT/ using WiFi or Ethernet.
Special features of this gateway are that that it supports both WiFi and Ethernet and has a high throughput of up to 200 Bluetooth LE devices detected per second.
ABI Research predicts that there’s going to be an increase in beacon-enabled app shipments mainly due to retail and ambient intelligence:
So what is ambient intelligence? It’s a catch all term for the joining of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, the connected home, wearables, smartphones, voice/image recognition and artificial intelligence through machine learning.
Sensor beacons enable the gathering of new data. New data not only measures physical things but, more importantly, provides a way of circumventing the problem of silo data in many large organisations. Silo data is data people/departments don’t want to share for fear of losing power or control. Today’s machine learning techniques also require data to be in a specific format and ‘clean’. Creating new data allows it to be more readily formatted and conditioned prior to saving.
This isn’t just about location data. It includes physical quantities such as smaller-scale movement (accelerometer), temperature, humidity, air pressure, light and magnetism (hall effect), proximity, heart rate and fall detection. Our conversations with beacon manufacturers tell us beacons are currently being developed that detect more nuanced quantities such as colour, gas and UV. Some beacons already have general purpose input/output (GPIO) such that custom beacons can can already detect anything for which there’s an electronic sensor.
So why Bluetooth beacons rather than other electronics with the same sensors? Here are the main reasons:
Integration without soldering or, in most cases, without custom electronics
Communication with iOS and Android apps and computers via existing Bluetooth APIs
Remote, low power, data acquisition where there’s no mains power and no connectivity at the place of measurement
Significantly lower cost compared to traditional industrial sensing
We have a new INGICS gateway, the iGS02, in stock that uses Ethernet rather than WiFi. This allows it to be used where WiFi isn’t present or where it’s considered that data needs to be sent via a more reliable wired connection. The use of Ethernet also allows for a greater throughput detection of up to 70 beacons per second (with MQTT).
The iGS02 comes with a POE adapter allowing it to be powered from the Ethernet connection for networks providing POE. Alternatively, it can be powered via the USB connection.
The MQTT/HTTP output is the same as the WiFi-based iGS01 allowing these devices to be used interchangeably.