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.

Wiliot Demonstration

We have previously mentioned Wiliot who are producing battery free Bluetooth beacons. They now call them tags to emphasise their use in tagging items. However, beacons and tags are essentially the same thing.

There’s a new demonstration on YouTube:

Wiliot have recently announced Series B funding mainly with partners best placed to help them with rollout.

Early Wiliot tags are expected to be very short range compared to battery beacons but this is expected to improve as the technology is refined. The id of the Wiliot tags is ephemeral which means it changes over time for security reasons. However, this also implies use of a server to ‘decode’ the identification. As with Eddystone EID, this adds latency to local identification and doesn’t work when the server can’t be contacted. Local caching can help but only for as long as the ephemeral id’s ‘life’.

Sensor Beacon Matrix Updated

We offer a range of sensor beacons but what each beacon actually senses or detects is buried deep in the respective beacon descriptions.

As we have recently added new sensor beacons, we have updated our downloadable pdf showing what each beacon can detect.

If you want to know how you might use these beacons, take a look at our articles on Beacon Proximity and Sensing for the Internet of Things (IoT) , Using Bluetooth LE and Using Bluetooth LE Sensors.

Monitor – Presence Detection Reported via MQTT

There’s a new Linux script called Monitor that scans for the presence of beacons and other Bluetooth devices and reports to a MQTT server.

The mechanism doesn’t just scan for beacons. It combines name requests, anonymous advertisements and beacon advertisements to determine when to issue a name request to determine if a device is present and when to issue a name request to determine if a device is absent.

The author, Andrew J Freyer, provides instructions how to set up on a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

The Demise of Unsolicited Marketing Using Beacons

There’s a new article at DIGIDAY on how Apple’s new privacy features have further rattled the location-based ad market. The iOS location and Bluetooth permission changes have caused users to opt-out of marketing messages:

Right now opt-in rates to share data with apps when they’re not in use are often below 50% … Three years ago those opt-in rates were closer to 100%

Benoit Grouchko, Teemo

80% of those users stopped all background tracking across their devices

Location Sciences

Google’s discontinuing support for Android Nearby notifications and Apple’s tightening of permissions have caused the demise of unsolicited marketing using beacons. This is understandable because unsolicited marketing is seen by end-users as intrusive and creepy.

However, the iOS and Android mechanisms are still there for more worthy applications such as visitor space usecases that need to provide location based information. For these types of application, there’s the need for good app onboarding explaining location and Bluetooth usage in order to provide the location-based information that the end-user is requiring.

While unsolicited marketing was the key benefit when iBeacon was first announced, the use of beacons has since diversified into less contentious and more practically useful areas such as real time locating (RTLS), IoT Sensing and insights through machine learning.

UPS Shipping Update

We have been using UPS shipping for just over a month now and have just refined our shipping options based on past customer orders and our costs. UPS offer two main services, UPS Standard that goes by road and UPS Express that goes by air.

We have found that UPS Standard to some European countries is taking 5 to 6 business days which we can now improve on for some countries. For Italy, Spain, Austria, Finland, Greece, Denmark and Sweden we now always send by UPS Express (by air) for a similar cost as was the case for UPS Standard. This has a delivery time of 1 to 2 days to most business areas.

UPS Standard goes via the new London Hub that shows as ‘Stanford Le Hope, United Kingdom’ in the tracking. This is UPS’s largest single infrastructure investment outside of the United States. View the video:

The London Hub is 32,000-square metres in size and has a capacity to process up to 28,000 packages per hour. It’s part of UPS’s $2 billion infrastructure investment programme in Europe.

UPS Express gets to via East Midlands airport by the evening of the day it is picked up from us and shows as ‘Castle Donington, United Kingdom’ in the tracking.

UPS Freight Flight from East Midlands Airport/Castle Donington

Freight flights leave every evening to Europe and North America that are delivered in 1 to 2 working days to Europe and 2-3 days to N America.

View the shipping page for a summary of delivery costs and time scales.

New Minew i10 Beacon

We have the new Minew i10 beacon in stock. It’s a twin AA battery beacon, with a long 200m range, advertising up to 6 channels that can be iBeacon, Eddystone UID, Eddystone URL, Eddystone TLM and device information. It uses the newer Nordic nRF52 SoC for a battery life up to 5 years depending on the settings and the type of batteries.

The i10 can be thought of an indoor version of the i3 in that it’s roughly the same size but isn’t waterproof. It’s white rather than black to blend in with lighter walls and the screw mounting is hidden:

A 3M sticker is also supplied as are the two AA batteries (the i3 doesn’t come with batteries).