Earlier this week Google announced their competitive solution to Apple’s iBeacon standard, called Eddystone. Named after a famous lighthouse in the UK, Google’s Eddystone brings a few changes and a few feature improvements to the world of beaconing.
It’s worth noting that Eddystone is not a piece of hardware, and is not an actual beacon (nor is iBeacon). It is an open standard that Google wants both beacon manufacturers and app developers to use.
Let’s start by highlights a few features.
Ability to send more information
Instead of a beacon simply broadcasting it’s name (a series of unique identifiers), Eddystone-powered beacons can also transmit remaining battery life, how long the battery has been running, and the beacon’s temperature. We expect to see creative uses of this temperature data in the future.
Ability to send a URL
Most beacons today broadcast three unique identifiers, following the iBeacon standard. To decipher this signal, you’ve got to have an app. The promise of sending a URL is that the operating system of the phone can make sense out of URL much easier. A use case makes this easier to understand.
A local pizza merchant wants to alert nearby shoppers about their lunch special. They place a beacon in their store to send out triggered offers based upon location. With iBeacon, you’d need the local pizza merchant’s app installed on your phone to receive that offer. Why would you ever have a local pizza app? You wouldn’t.
By broadcasting a URL instead, you see notifications on your phone of nearby offers, including this pizza joint, no app required. Tap on the URL and go straight the business website. This may become a game-changer for local advertising.
Unlike the iBeacon protocol which is locked down by Apple, anyone can view and submit suggestions and ideas for Eddystone to Google. Check it out: https://github.com/google/eddystone
A few other key facts to know about Eddystone-powered beacons:
- They can work with both Android and iOS phones
- They can transmit multiple packets of information – beacon identifier, beacon sensor data, and URLs
- It’s available now!
We picked up new beacons with Eddystone last week, and are excited to begin testing and experimenting with them.