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iBeacons, Beacons : Common queries
Beacons, also called BLEs (Bluetooth Low Energy) is an affordable technology that provides indoor location information directly to mobile devices opening up possibilities for new and innovate apps.


What is a beacon?

A small self powered electronic device that transmits a signal containing its unique identification details.

Do Beacons send information to my phone ?

No. Beacons broadcast a signal that uniquely identifies itself. A mobile device can receive this signal. If there’s a purpose built app installed that will react to this specific beacon Identifier, the application will then do what it was developed to do. This could be to show a message or navigate to a specific place in the app, or do nothing at all. The actual information that is shown to the user is either already embedded in the app or downloaded to the app from a separate back end service, but NEVER from the beacon.

Do Beacons track me?

No. Beacons transmit a low energy signal and broadcast their own location. They are transmitters only, not receivers and they do not store user information. The beacons themselves are not connected to any back end service and have no means of storing user information.

Will beacons capture my personal information ?

No. Again, beacons are transmitters only, they will not collect information. They store only a small set of data for self identification purposes. There is no large capacity storage facilities on beacons.

Do I need an app to make this all work?

Yes. The app detects the beacon signal and it is the app that determines what to do. The dedicated messages, special offers and other interesting stuff is all handled by the app.

What about battery life?

Current technology has improved Bluetooth, and it is not the battery drainer it used to be. This is why the new technology is branded with BLE = Bluetooth Low Energy.

What is an iBeacon?

iBeacon is an Apple specific technology that enables micro-location services it is described by apple as “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence.”

Is this a Apple only technology ?

No. iBeacon is an Apple technology, but the beacons themselves are from independent hardware manufacturers and can be detected by all devices that support Bluetooth 4.0.

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Will I need to pair with beacons like existing Bluetooth?

No. Bluetooth 4.0 which is used to communicate with beacons no longer requires you to perform pairing like you may be used to with existing headsets, sound systems etc… so no more waiting for ‘searching for devices’ and having to enter passwords, Bluetooth 4.0 enables a much more seamless connection.