What Does “Classify” A Beacon Mean?


Yesterday we received a question about TheBeaconMap.com, the site we published last week. That map displays every Bluetooth beacon that we’ve been able to classify.  The question: “What does classify mean”?

Let’s take a quick step back.

Beacons broadcast their “name” as a series of three sets of digits: a UUID, a major, and a minor. Here’s what one beacon might broadcast out as its name:

UUID: C3AACF08-A9C8-42FH-9826-841235D1478C
Major: 101
Minor: 4

What you don’t see being broadcast from a beacon is any mention of a location or a business name. 

Beacons following the iBeacon protocol don’t have capability to send much else. Google’s Eddystone protocol can contain more information, but adoption of this standard is still very low.

A random set of numbers and letters isn’t very informative. Figuring out a beacon’s location is where Reveal Mobile’s patent-pending-big-data-machine-learning-algorithms truly shine.

Our tech sits inside a few hundred news, weather, and sports apps across the country. We see lots of smartphones bumping into beacons, and these smartphones, which chose to share location, send their lat/long coordinates to us. 

Once we see enough lat/long coordinates clustered around a specific beacon name, we triangulate the position of that beacon on a map.  Once we’ve done that, we know where the beacon lives and “classify” it by assigning it a location, name of business, and business type.

While TheBeaconMap.com serves as a great visualization to help educate the market on who and where beacons are deployed, having a database of classified beacons proves incredibly valuable for our customers. When smartphones bump into these beacons, we build anonymized audience segments – CVS shoppers, travelers, sports fans, etc.

That’s the how and the why of classifying beacons.

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