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Building Applications with iBeacon by Matthew S. Gast

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Chapter 3. Setting Up Your Own Beacons

There are many ways to get a beacon running. With such a simple protocol, all that a beacon needs to do is transmit its UUID, major number, and minor number at a fixed interval. Any device with Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) hardware is capable of acting as a beacon, whether it is a software application on a laptop, a software app on a mobile device, or a host computer with a USB interface.

Types of Hardware

Creating a beacon does not require any specialized type of hardware. You might already have suitable hardware lying around to create a beacon. If not, the investment required is only a few dollars.

Dedicated Beacon Hardware

The advantage of dedicated beacon hardware is that it is cheaper than using general-purpose hardware, and it is optimized for the beacon task. Here are a couple popular options:

Estimote

One of the earliest developers of beacon technology, Estimote sells a developer kit that includes three beacons for $99. Interestingly, Estimote beacons have fixed configuration parameters and, in particular, administrators cannot set the UUID.

RadBeacon

RadBeacon is a $29 USB dongle that performs the transmission functions of an iBeacon. All you have to supply is USB power. Configuration of the beacon’s numbers is done through an app.

Kontakt

Kontakt sells an ARM-based iBeacon as well as tools for managing iBeacons and analyzing user interactions with them.

Gelo

Gelo’s Beacons are waterproof and designed for both indoor and outdoor ...

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