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iBeacon Vs Eddystone: Transmission war between the small yet powerful devices

October 19th, 2015

iBeacon Vs Eddystone

Stores and businesses are competing very hard to satisfy their clients and customers and they are also implementing the current technology launches to keep things updated in business. Beacon has become one such system that – in recent times – serves every industry starting from travel to retail.

What is a beacon?

Beacons are transmitters that use Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology to transmit tiny packets of information to the nearby Bluetooth enabled devices (Smartphone, Smart watches, etc.). The transmission distance depends upon the device, and it varies from 50 meters to nearly 120 meters. Now, there are two major beacons namely,

  • iBeacon
  • Eddystone

iBeacon – Apple’s proud device:

iBeacon TechnologyLaunched a couple of years back in the Apple Worldwide Developers Conferences (2013), the iBeacons were used initially in Apple stores (United States) to trigger in-store offers to the customers. Later, many other retailers started deploying this system for their stores. The information transmitted by the iBeacon has the following so that the system can identify the information accordingly.

 

  • Universally Unique Identifier (UUID)
  • Major ID
  • Minor ID

Eddystone – New in the beacon space:

Beacon-DevicesEveryone was expecting Google to enter into the world of beacon, and it acted little late when compared with Apple Inc. A couple of months back – in July 2015 – launched Eddystone, an open-source, cross-platform device. It was inspired from and named after Eddystone Lighthouse on the British coast. Google also introduced a new feature called Ephemeral Identifiers (EID) that continually changes the identifiers. Because of EID, the Eddystone cannot be cloned resulting in higher security.

iBeacon Vs Eddystone – The cold war:

Beacons does the same thing – transmitting data – irrespective of their manufacturers. Both, the Apple’s and Google’s beacon have similarities and also few differences that make one better than the other. The following are the difference between iBeacons and Eddystone

  • iBeacons only work on iOS devices whereas the Eddystone can work on both Android and iOS. Google play services have the Nearby API that Eddystone can use and the came can be invoked via a library on iOS.
  • Eddystone supports multiple data packets and they have initially started with two for advertisement namely Eddystone-UID and Eddystone-URL. But, iBeacons supports only one data packet for advertising.
  • iBeacons doesn’t offer any options to monitor the device condition while the Eddystone has a third type of packet called Eddystone-TLM as it is a telemetry to inform about the device’s health status.
  • iBeacons are easy to implement whereas the Eddystone is flexible, but little complicated to code as it sends many types of data when compared with iBeacons.
  • Eddystone is open and available on GitHub for manufacturers and developer to help, contribute and comment on it. iBeacons are not open source and the changes stay in the hands of Apple.

Now, Google’s Eddystone is turning out to be the biggest competitor of Apple’s iBeacon and started changing the face of Beacon games. Many mobile apps are being developed to support both the beacons and even mobile app development companies are inserting their fingers to help people and organizations gain a lot from this tiny yet powerful device.

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