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iBeacon and Eddystone

iBeacon and Eddystone : A comparative Analysis

With the launch of Eddystone, Google marked its presence in the beacon space bringing stiff competition to Apple and its ibeacon. With these two technologies being made available to developers and technology enthusiasts, proximity based content delivery techniques saw new horizons and heights. Thus, it is important for businesses and developers alike to understand the major differences between ibeacon and Eddystone in order to choose the most suitable platform.

Let us look at some of the differences between the two popular beacon technology platforms – iBeacon and Eddystone.

Platform

ibeacon technology is controlled and developed by Apple and is not open source.

Eddystone is an open source platform published on Github. Developers and tech enthusiasts can access the platform and contribute codes for development.

Broadcast packets

iBeacon transmits a UUID (16 digit string of numbers), Major (4 digits) and Minor (4 digits).

Eddystone broadcast 3 different frame types:

Eddystone UID – Unique ID of beacons will trigger push notifications on a smart device based on its proximity with the beacons.

Eddystone URL- (Compressed URL) Similar to push notifications, beacons can push URLs to the smart phone of the user based on proximity.

Eddystone TLM- (Telemetry information) Transmit physical data and values such as temperature and humidity to a smart device using beacons.

Compatibility

ibeacon is compatible with iOS and android, but ibeacon is officially supported by iOS devices only.

All three Eddystone frame-types are compatible with android, iOS and all other platforms that support BLE beacons. Eddystone is platform agnostic.

Working and Technology

iBeacon requires an app to receive that specific UUID. ‘Major’ and ‘Minor’ values are used to identify beacons uniquely and it is using these values that the platform engages with the smart devices to push contextual information.

Eddystone URL does not require an app to function. URL is the beacon format for physical web which can be accessed with the help of a beacon browser.

APIs

No specific APIs are available for ibeacons.

Eddystone works well with Android and iOS Bluetooth developer APIs. Google has also released proximity beacon API to store data and the nearby API to present the data.

Architecture

ibeacon code base is simpler, but its architecture is not as flexible as Eddystone since it is not open source.

Eddystone architecture is entirely flexible allowing development of new frame types. Implementation on existing beacon devices is possible as it is fully compliant with Bluetooth beacon specifications. But the code base is complicated compared to ibeacons.

Beacon technology has seen applications in retail, airports, museums, cities and more. It is evident that beacons will soon capture the IoT segment with its ability to create content rich, real time proximity campaigns inside homes, on the streets and in cities. Eddystone is going to bring about changes in the way beacon technology is used by businesses.

Pratheeksha AK
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