A beacon is a small device that is designed to broadcast a Bluetooth signal at regular intervals. Beacons transmit this signal in a certain format, which is typically a communication protocol that describes both the string of characters and numbers, which make up the signal. Eddystone and iBeacon are the most popular protocols that beacons use.
Unlike iBeacon that is officially supported by Apple’s iOS devices only, Eddystone is supported by both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Naturally, the advertising packet for Eddystone is not the same as that of iBeacon. Precisely, Eddystone is an open protocol and supports multiple data packets that include the following:
Eddystone-UID packet contains an identifier of a beacon. Just like with iBeacon, an app that has been installed on the phone is able to use the identifier to prompt desired action. Compared to the iBeacon identifier that is composed of UUID, major number and minor number, which is 20 bytes in length, Eddystone –UID is 16 bytes in length and is divided into two parts namely Namespace and Instance. The Namespace performs the same purpose as iBeacon and is 10 bytes long while the Instance is performs the same purpose as iBeacon’s major and minor numbers, and is 6 bytes long.
That packet contains just a single filed and its purpose is directly related to the concept of Physical Web. The packet does not require an app to take the identifier of a beacon and prompt any action as it is with iBeacon or Eddystone-UID. Instead, the data is usually encoded directly in the advertising packet. This allows the user to access the content even if the developer doesn’t build a native experience.
The packet is designed to manage a fleet of beacons. The beacon broadcast the packet beside the Eddystone-UID and, or URL to ensure effective fleet management. The nearby Bluetooth-cabled devices will be reading these packets before relaying them to your fleet management service. After which, the service notifies you of the beacon that has any issue.
The packet is designed to protect you against attacks. Eddystone-EID provides you with security against the following attacks:
This is an attack where a third party creates the same copy of the device you are using in your infrastructure and place it in different location. For instance, a third party can create a copy of the beacon you originally deployed in your store and place it in a bus.
A third party application starts to use your infrastructure to deliver their own content to your users.