Beacons are small computers with a complete System on a Chip (SoC). There are four main companies that manufacturer SoCs: TI, Dialog, NXP and Nordic. Nordic is the most popular SoC for use in beacons, mainly because of the lower (tool) license cost and ease for beacon manufacturers developing the software (actually called firmware) that runs in the beacons.
Nordic has a new free Wireless Quarter Magazine that showcases uses of Nordic SoCs in many types of device, not just beacons.
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- Article on Getting started with Bluetooth mesh