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What Bluetooth Low Energy means for the IoT maker community

 Connecting your microcontrollers to the internet

There are alot of wireless standards aiming at lower-than-wifi power, zigbee, zwave, enotion to name a bunch,
but none of them have wide consumers application, making it difficult for us hackers and makers to play with them.

Like me, Bluetooth Low Energy came out of Nokia, an important innovator in mobile wireless technology.
It was renamed from Wibree to Bluetooth 4.0 when it was handed over to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG),
which enabled it to follow in the footsteps of the popular bluetooth standard, despite being a totally different thing.

Designed from the ground up for super low battery consumption, it has successfuly made the bridge between
high end mobile phones and super low power gadgets. For us IoT folks, this means we have an enormously powerful
technology that enables us to connect our tiny gadgets to powerful

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Clone-a-beacon: iBeacon and the proof of location issue

In our previous issue, I covered the basics of using iBeacons in iOS and Android apps, today I want to show some privacy and security issues, as well as how to clone and fake beacons such as Estimote, Shopkick, and how to get location based app rewards without ever leaving your desk.

Remember, iBeacons are really just numbers attached to distances. So to figure out if a user is near a shop, we’d simply check for their distance to an id that is known to be installed in that shop. Beacons really have no way of sending or receiving content, other than the hardcoded three part identifier, you will have to do the mapping in your app.

There’s usually two approaches this:

  • hardcoding major/minor values to specific places or actions in your app
  • calling an external beacon fleet platform / CMS to obtain the relevant content

While the former is simpler, it has the rather obvious disadvantage

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Building iBeacon applications on Android

This post is part of the series on working with beacons and mobile devices and was written by our CTO, Arvid E. Picciani (aep). Arvid is an ex-Nokia engineer, IoT pioneer, and self-proclaimed embedded devices hacker.

Apple’s iBeacons are really Bluetooth in the core. Bluetooth Low Energy came out of Nokia, an important innovator in mobile wireless technology. It was renamed from Wibree to Bluetooth 4.0 when it was handed over to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). It was designed from the ground up for super low battery consumption and succeeded. The major competitor Near Field Communication (NFC) uses even less power (zero), at a shorter range (centimeters), but is not available in popular devices like the iPhone.

On top of Bluetooth Low Energy, there are several alternative approaches to build proximity applications, such as Qualcomm’s Gimbal or Samsung’s Flybell. Each of

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Battery friendly indoor positioning with iBeacon

This post is the first of the series on working with beacons and mobile devices and was written by our CTO, Arvid E. Picciani (aep). Arvid is an ex-Nokia engineer, IoT pioneer, and self-proclaimed embedded devices hacker.

Indoor positioning and proximity tracking have become universally available thanks to apples iBeacon profile. It allows any compatible mobile device track its location indoor, using tiny battery powered “beacons”. All much much less battery hungry than GPS. 

If you remember the painful pairing process of classical Bluetooth, iBeacons are not like that. In fact, iBeacons don’t connect to devices at all. The communication is one way, in that the iBeacon only continuously broadcasts its unique device id together with the strength of its own signal. The device then calculates the distance by matching its own perceived signal strength to the one advertised by the device

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