Setting Up Eddystone-URL/Physical Web (with Iotton Beacons)


Important: This web page is provided for historical purposes.

On 25 October 2018, Google announced they are discontinuing Nearby Notifications on Android. This mechanism should no longer be used.

Read about using Beacons for Marketing


We have had several customers trying to set up Eddystone-URL/Physical Web without reading around the subject and understanding how it works. This is something you are unlikely to make work without a little research and preparation. First read our article on Eddystone and the Physical Web to gain a background on how it works.

Before you start, you need to decide whether you will be using a URL shortener. Alternatively, you might choose to use a ready-made solution that includes URL shortening or our free EddystoneCMS.

The next step is to make sure your final, pointed-to URL uses https:// rather than http:// web address otherwise your beacon won’t be seen.

Download and view the quick start guide from the technical area that explains how to power up your beacon and where to obtain the iOS or Android app. This walkthrough shows the screens for iOS but the Android screens are similar.

Run the app and you will see something like this:

The screen will show multiple beacons if there are others in your vicinity. Tap the one that starts with a name ‘ion-‘ as circled above. The app will ask for a password for the beacon:

Type in ‘000000’ (zeros), and tap Ok. You will be taken to the settings screen:

The above circles show what you need to change. First tap on the broadcast mode and select ONLY Eddystone URL and tap Done [You can also transmit the other channels at the same time but it will use a lot more battery power]:

Tap on the broadcast frequency and set it to 1 transmission per second and tap Done:

Tap on the URL and set it to YOUR URL and tap Done:

In the above example we have set it to http://bzone.click/bz that uses our own URL shortener to point to a page on the BeaconZone web site.

You will now see all the changed settings:

Important: Now Tap on Done circled at the top right.

The app will say ‘Succeeded’ and go back to the main screen:

The beacon with name starting ‘ion-‘, shown in the rectangle selection above, is now sending Eddystone and shows the URL.

Install the Physical Web App on iOS and your beacon will be seen. Wait a short while and the beacon will show a notification on Android.

Troubleshooting

Why Doesn’t the Manufacturer’s Configuration App Connect?

Troubleshooting Eddystone-URL on Android

Troubleshooting Eddystone-URL on iOS

Physical Web Getting Started Tips

TON9108 Now Supports Eddystone and iBeacon Simultaneously

Last month we wrote about how the TON9108 had added ‘beta’ support for Eddystone. We are please to say the problems we found have been fixed and we now sell this beacon in our simultaneous category.

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The only caveat is that you must use the latest version v1.2 of the Android configuration app (iOS coming soon) and you might need to upgrade the beacon firmware (to v1.32 supplied by us) if you come across a problem with the beacon not setting your particular URL correctly. More details are in our Iotton technical area.

To set up simultaneous transmission, access the BeaconFlyer app menu and select ‘Broadcast mode’. You can then select iBeacon and/or Eddystone-UID and/or Eddystone-URL. After you have done this, tap on ‘Done’ then ‘Modify’.

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New Nordic Experimenter Beacon In Stock

We have new beacon in stock, the Iotton TON9708, that’s a generic Nordic beacon in that you can use the Nordic software tools to configure and program it.

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It’s usual in that it has twin CR2477 batteries. It also includes a white/cream case. The buttons shown in the photo are for enabling connection mode and OTA re-flashing.

New Solar Powered Beacon

We now have a few samples of the new TON9218 solar powered beacon available. The large 6.5cm x 9.6cm solar panel keeps the on-board rechargeable LIR2032 battery charged using only normal indoor lighting. Even with weak light, the solar panel generates about 100uA that’s 5x the average current consumption. Hence, with the use of the rechargeable LIR2032 battery as backup, this beacon can work almost forever.

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As with the other Iotton models, the beacon has an internal timer and uses the Dialog DA14580 that provides 2x to 3x battery life of Nordic nrf51822 based beacons and up to x6 the battery life of TI CC254x based-beacons.

Lower Price on BeaconZone’s Lowest Price Beacon

One of our most popular beacons is the TON9108. The low price has made it popular with first timers who want to try out iBeacons without a large financial commitment. It’s also great for rollouts because the low power Dialog DA14580 and timed on period allows the CR2032 battery to last as long as a CR2477 in a comparable TI CC254x based-beacon.

We recently re-stocked in larger quantities and so have been able to lower the price and keep it our March “Most Affordable Beacon”. This beacon is currently only £7.70 + vat (about $11, €9). EU companies outside the UK can order ex vat.

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Long Range TON9118 Tested

We have been doing some signal strength and stability tests to help provide data for our consultancy offering.

Last week, we started stocking the extremely long range TON9118 so we thought we’d compare it against our other beacons and some other popular beacons in the market:

TON9118SignalStrength

Smaller bars represent a stronger signal

The beacon certainly delivers what it promises. Incidentally, the next beacon along is the PC62 that also performed well in our signal strength tests and is also one of the best for signal stability (low changes in signal strength over time).