iBeacon or Eddystone? What's the deal? Both of these technologies essentially do the same thing -- they let mobile app developers deliver content to users based on their geo-location via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) -- but there's some confusion about the differences between them. It's time to clear this up once and for all.
What You Need to Know About iBeacon
Apple developed iBeacon, and they introduced this technology to the planet at the Worldwide Developers Conference back in 2013. It sends small pieces of data such as notifications, broadcast by BLE technology, to users' smartphones via installed beacon-enabled mobile apps.
iBeacon has transformed proximity marketing, and it has made it easier for brands and advertisers to reach customers and deliver location-based services. This technology has huge marketing potential -- more and more business owners are installing beacons in retail stores, restaurants and even gyms.
The Lowdown on Eddystone
Google developed Eddystone, and they brought this technology to the market in 2015. Although newer than iBeacon, Eddystone — named after Britain's Eddystone Lighthouse, which has a powerful lighthouse signal — has quickly caught up with its rival.
Unlike iBeacon, smartphone users didn't have to download an app to take advantage of its location-based services. Instead, they could access features via their mobile browser. Google, however, removed the Eddystone URL detection from their Android devices a while back. Android phones can still detect Eddystone beacons, however, even if a user doesn't have a beacon-enabled app installed on their device. This is because Android uses Google Nearby.
What are the Differences?
Although iBeacon and Eddystone are similar, there are several differences that you need to know about. iBeacons work on Android OS devices, for example, but only if users have a beacon-enabled app running in the background. iOS devices, on the other hand, don't support Eddystone -- yet. Smartphone users, however, can view Eddystone notifications on a physical web app.
Beacon technology is booming, and Apple and Google are at the forefront of this exciting innovation. It's no wonder, then, that beacon-triggered messages influenced $4.1 billion-worth of in-store retail sales in the United States in 2015 and 2016.