Bluetooth beacons use Bluetooth LE, a low power version of Bluetooth to repeatedly send out a short amount of data typically up to 50m but in some cases hundreds of metres. The data usually includes an identifier in various standard formats such as iBeacon or Eddystone. It can also include sensor data.
The beacon advertising can be picked up by other Bluetooth LE devices such as smartphones, WiFi gateways to send to a server and single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi.
The key features are:
- Low power and hence can work for up to years on battery power
- Interoperability with a large number of other Bluetooth LE devices
- The underlying Bluetooth LE protocol is resilient to electrical interference
- Sensing without the need for soldering or custom electronics
To learn more about the physical aspects of beacons and the actual advertising, see our article on What are Beacons?
Read more about beacons for IoT sensing.