iBeacon vs Eddystone Beacon
iBeacon vs Eddystone Beacon : What is a Beacon
A beacon is a small device that transmits a Bluetooth signal at regular intervals. This signal is broadcast in a certain format, a communication protocol that describes the string of characters and numbers that make up the signal. The two most common protocols that beacons use are iBeacon and Eddystone. Comparison for both of them is given below.
|Apple’s iBeacon||Google’s Eddystone|
|Technology||iBeacon technology is a beacon protocol that has been built into Apple’s iOS 7 and later versions of mobile operating system that allows iPhones and iPads to constantly scan for Bluetooth devices nearby. Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which is a part of Bluetooth 4.0 specification.||Google’s Eddystone, formerly called UriBeacon, is a beacon protocol for open-source beacons which could be manufactured by any business at an affordable cost.|
|Compatibility||It is Android and iOS compatible, but native only for iOS.||It is Android and iOS compatible. In fact, it is cross-platform and thus is compatible with any platform that supports BLE beacons.|
|Profile||It is a proprietary software. Thus, the specification is controlled by Apple.||It is open-source. The specification is published openly on GitHub, under the open-source Apache v2.0 license, so that businesses and developers can access and contribute to it.|
|Ease of use||It is simple to implement.||It is flexible but requires more complicated coding when it comes to integration, since it sends more packets of information than iBeacon.|
|Broadcasted packets||Each beacon broadcasts information which is identified as a packet. iBeacon broadcasts only one advertising packet which has a unique ID number comprising of three parts – UUID, Major,1 and Minor.||Eddystone broadcasts three different packets:1
(i) a unique ID number (Eddystone-UID) – It is fundamentally identical to that in iBeacon. All beacons that broadcast Eddystone-UID are registered in Google’s database.
(ii) a URL address (Eddystone-URL) – It tells the smart device to open a URL. That way, it does not require a particular developer’s app to be pre-installed. Additionally, it also works as a factor to push location-specific app installs.
(iii) sensor telemetry (Eddystone-TLM) – It sends sensor data. This is extremely useful for companies that need to manage vast fleets of beacons since this frame type sends diagnostic data and beacon health statistics.
|Usage||UUIDs, one of the components in the advertising packet, are basically tied in to the developer’s server. Therefore, when it is sent to a smartphone, the device would need a specific app to do a particular task with the information received. Therefore, a mobile app is necessary to receive messages via iBeacon.||Eddystone, on the other hand, sends out URL in place of UUID, which can simply open in a web browser vis-à-vis specific apps. For iOS devices, it is supported by Chrome with the ‘Today’ notifications enabled, whereas for Android devices, it is supported on the ‘Physical Web’ browser.|
|Security and Privacy||There is no specific feature such as Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs) in iBeacon. The signal transmitted by a beacon is a public signal and can be detected by any iOS device and certain Android devices with proper specifications.||Eddystone has a built-in feature called EIDs that constantly change and allow beacons to broadcast a signal that can only be identified by ‘authorized clients’.|
|API||Apple has no specific API made available for iBeacon fleet management. Application Program Interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. It specifies how software components should interact.||Eddystone has an advantage here since Google has launched two APIs (Nearby API and Proximity Beacon API) that makes Eddystone beacons more powerful. These APIs also make beacon fleet management much easier.|