Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart is the latest disruptive wireless technology ideal for connecting devices needing to run on small batteries for long periods of time. Bluetooth Smart is a key enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting users and objects wirelessly.
Products already introduced into the marketplace include wearables such as fitness trackers (e.g. Fitbit) or fobs attached to keyrings that make them easy to locate using a smartphone. Part of what makes Bluetooth Low Energy popular is built-in support found in all current Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
You can discover more information about Bluetooth Low Energy in general at www.bluetooth.com or contact C3-Wireless by e-mail or phone here. We will be happy to answer your questions!
C3-Wireless is excited to introduce a ground-breaking approach to Bluetooth Low Energy. The BTLE Beacon Reader turns Bluetooth platform design upside down.
Most current solutions combine beacons placed in a fix location with a BTLE-aware app on a mobile smartphone or tablet. As the mobile device comes within range of the beacon, the app triggers an event either locally on the device or sends data to a cloud-based analytics server.
This solution is appropriate for certain applications, however, the industry has discovered many limitations with this design.
Typical challenges include:
The Beacon Reader addresses each of these issues by redesigning how BTLE is implemented. Instead of using a stationary, battery-powered beacon relying on mobile smartphones to relay information to an analytics server, the always-on Beacon Reader becomes the stationary device.
The Beacon Reader can hear any BTLE-compatible beacon, including Smartphones acting as beacons, and transmit that information back to an analytics server. The analytics server can then trigger actions based on pre-defined events, including sending push notifications to the smartphone.
Integrators can now track mobile assets without the need for end-user interaction. Just attach any BTLE-compatible beacon to the mobile asset and configure the analytics server behavior.
Mobile app developers can easily integrate BTLE functionality into their software using the Beacon Reader’s open API calls. Configuring the phone to act as a beacon instead of listening for beacons requires less power and data usage, and can be configured as a secure, proprietary system.
Beacon piggybacking/hijacking is the act of listening for beacons that other people have placed. Once a beacon’s unique identifier (UUID) is known, it can be used in other applications for unintended purposes. This allows physical competitors to use the data to target retailers and their customers. For example, “Retailer B” can read “Retailer A’s” beacons and lure “User 1” away with discounts.
See an example here:
Sites like WikiBeacon have mapped out “naked beacons,” or those that transmit their identity in the open, with close to 300,000 deployed beacons already shared.
To address this issue, many beacon developers have added different security methods to their beacons, with the idea that only the intended application would be able to know the beacon’s unique identifier. However, these measures have often shown to either break cross-platform applications (e.g. may work on Apple iPhones but not on Android phones) or been ineffective in preventing hackers from discovering the beacon’s unique identifier.
For example, this August 14, 2015 Make article on hackable beacons highlights the current real-world lack of beacon security from leading vendor beacons.
Fortunately, the C3-Wireless Beacon Reader approach offers the same capability and functionality as the traditional beacon and Smartphone solution, but adds the ability to prevent hijacking. Rather than using a stationary beacon with a known location that transmits a unique identifier, the Beacon Reader reads beacon transmissions from the end-user’s Smartphone, transmitted by the vendor’s application.
The Beacon Reader can hear all beacons, but choose to act on only the designated, “interesting” beacons, all in a secure way that doesn’t break the Bluetooth Low Energy standard. Furthermore, the app developer can add proprietary information for enhanced functionality and security, all while leaving hackers nothing on the Beacon Reader to capture and duplicate.
If beacon hijacking is a concern, the C3-Wireless Beacon Reader is the solution. Contact C3-Wireless to find out more information.
Our management system makes it easy to configure, update or see the real-time status of Beacon Readers and beacons throughout an enterprise implementation. Our powerful search and filtering system makes it easy to see global or granular views, and our open APIs make it possible to integrate our system into an existing content management, CRM, POS or other management platform.
For environments like hospitals where visuals are important, our management system can show where people or things are in near real-time with outstanding room or sub-room level accuracy. C3-Wireless can customize to platform based on an individual company’s needs. If you can think of a use-case, we can build the platform around your needs.
Our events and alerts system provides real-time and historic information on when a person or thing enters or leaves areas, zones, subzones, etc. and can track for how long they were there. It can then trigger customized actions such as sending an SMS message or updating a chart based upon user-defined workflows. If you can think of a desired outcome, we can build it into your solution.
If having a customized RTLS solution built around how you want to work is important, then contact C3-Wireless to get more information.
With so many beacon options, why use C3-Wireless BTLE Beacons?
Our enterprise-class BTLE beacons are built with superior quality and simply out-perform our competition in battery life, quality of construction, and overall performance.
Have an idea for using Bluetooth Low Energy beacons?
C3-Wireless can implement our Bluetooth Low-Energy beacons into just about any customizable form factor imaginable.
Examples include our BTLE Smart-badges, which come in multiple sizes and are perfect for live meetings and events.
We can also integrate our beacons into wearables, or take your already-built hardware and integrate it into our analytics platform.