New iBeacon Application for Laird’s BL600 Modules

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:45

In a recent blog post, we discussed the iBeacon feature of Apple’s iOS 7, an innovative way to detect and monitor indoor location. With the location awareness and asset management industries continuing to see substantial growth, an increasing number of products are coming to market. Companies like Estimote and PayPal are well placed to take advantage of beacon technology with their innovative approaches to indoor micro location for the retail sector.  

iBeacon is a term utilized by Apple for their iOS device applications, however other Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled smartphones and tablets can leverage a similar concept of BLE enabled location beacons. Laird’s BL600 modules, which feature the unique programming language, smartBASIC, are now positioned to leverage beacon technology. Laird now has a smartBASIC beacon application that turns BL600 BLE single mode modules into Apple iBeacons.  

The modules have a simple iBeacon smartBASIC application that advertises with the Apple Inc. Manufacturer Specific Advertising Record and includes a custom configuration service used by a client device to modify the following beacon parameters:

  • UUID
  • Major
  • Minor
  • Calibration Power
  • Device Name
  • Format of the advertising record
  • The advertising interval and timeout
  • The time for the module to remain connectable
  • Actual transmit power value

Once a client has disconnected from the BL600, iBeacon and advertising parameters are updated, new data is saved in non-volatile memory and adverts are restarted. When the BL600 is powered up, it checks for existing data. Any missing data is replaced by its default value.

The main benefit of the implementation is that the iBeacon can be configured remotely, which leads to advantages exclusive to developers using smartBASIC. With BL600 modules, developers can set one client device that is allowed to configure the iBeacon, and the developer can set a finite time to advertise the configuration service via a Remain Connectable Time characteristic, after which only the Advertising Record will be advertised.     

Check back with our blog for further updates on Laird’s development efforts with smartBASIC.

For more Laird iBeacon specific information, watch our iBeacon demo or visit the BL600 product page for application notes, Laird’s iBeacon smartBASIC application, and links to all detailed technical documentation on the BL600 series.