What is a Wave?
A beacon is a small Bluetooth radio transmitter, powered by batteries. Beacons are similar to a lighthouse in functionality. These small hardware devices incessantly transmit Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals. The Bluetooth enabled smartphones are capable of scanning and displaying these signals.
Beacons could be deployed on store-fronts, real estate properties, amusement parks, events and other public venues to broadcast contextually-relevant advertisements and notifications.
What is a BLE beacon?
It is important to understand the difference between classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy to appreciate BLE beacons. Classic Bluetooth consumes high power and transmits to long ranges, which is suited for Bluetooth headsets and speakers.
However, Bluetooth Low Energy transmits less data over a smaller range, hence consuming much less power. BLE beacons transfers small amounts of data at regular intervals of time.
How does a Bluetooth beacon work?
To understand how beacons work let’s take an example of a coffee shop with beacon deployment.