Google's Eddystone protocol uses an open specification for Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, with the goal of encouraging developers, marketers, and hardware makers to adopt its technology.
The Eddystone software supports Android, iOS, and many BLE devices, and it is compliant with the Bluetooth Core Specification.
Google also is releasing the Nearby application programming interface (API) for Android and iOS, which enables developers to create publish and subscribe methods to share messages and connections between nearby devices, and the Proximity Beacon API, to manage data associated with a BLE beacon through an REST interface.
"Just like lighthouses have helped sailors navigate the world for thousands of years, electronic beacons can be used to provide precise location and contextual cues within apps to help you navigate the world," say Google researchers Chandu Thota and Matthew Kulick.
Although beacon implementations are being tested, their current value to the general public is limited because the use-cases being produced by vendors are not meeting customer needs, according to Forrester analyst Adam Silverman. However, analysts note many organizations see real value in being able to engage people in retail and public settings.
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