What are Bluetooth Beacons and Bridges?

MB1000 Bluetooth Beacon

How is Bluetooth used for Location?

There are many different location technologies in the market today. Bluetooth location-based technology uses Bluetooth low energy to determine the proximity of devices. Bluetooth as a proximity-based location technology easily integrates with mobile device-based applications or with server-based location solutions. It’s a low-cost, active RFID technology that allows for extremely fast installation, even in complex environments, like warehouses, factories, and hospitals.

When general location information is all that is needed to solve your business problem, Bluetooth is the ideal technology and is of tremendous value. The low power consumption of Bluetooth low energy technology is the catalyst for battery-powered devices that can be used to create innovative solutions for industries including manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and retail. Location data from the edge of the network provides valuable information about how your operation is performing. The battery-operated active beacons can run for multiple years at cost points that are compelling.

What are Bluetooth Beacons?

Bluetooth Beacons are built upon Bluetooth low energy technology and operate in conjunction with commercial Android/iOS devices or custom devices to form the foundation of easily deployable proximity-based location solutions. A Bluetooth beacon is essentially a hardware radio transmitter that transmits signals using Bluetooth low energy.

Bluetooth beacon-based solutions generally include a combination of fixed and/or mobile beacons combined with some type of application receiving and acting upon beacon information (a bridge that captures and shares the information gathered). The system can be a stand-alone application that uses these beacons or used in conjunction with Zebra MotionWorks solutions. This technology allows mobile computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices to perform actions when they are close to a beacon.

Can Bluetooth Beacons Access Data on your Mobile Devices?

Bluetooth beacons do not access and collect data from your mobile devices. Beacons only transmit radio signals that devices like smartphones and mobile computers can detect via Bluetooth.

What do Bluetooth Beacons Actually Transmit?

Bluetooth beacons transmit a unique identifier like a unique ID number. This unique identifier allows devices to detect and see what beacon it is located close to. The identifier can have its own meaning depending on what the owner has programmed it to mean.

What are Bluetooth Bridges?

In order for the information from the Bluetooth beacons to be collected and shared, Bluetooth bridges will be used to take in the information given. Bluetooth IoT bridges and transceivers utilize Bluetooth low-energy and Wi-Fi technologies. These bridges work in tandem with Bluetooth beacons to give near real-time location data, which helps provide companies with additional opportunities to maximize business efficiencies.

Why are Bluetooth Beacons and Bridges Helpful?

The data that is transmitted can be used by companies to identify asset locations, improve workflows, and optimize productivity and profitability. Bluetooth bridges are also easy to manage securely, protected with the best-of-breed security protocols, using 2.5GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi with WPA/WPA2 personal and enterprise encryption. This allows configuration changes and network updates to be pushed remotely and en masse from a server without needing on-site support.

What are Bluetooth Beacons and Bridges Compatible With?

Zebra MotionWorks location solutions give businesses the ability to use automated data collection to attain actionable insights and vital solutions. It helps provide data on the location and state of tagged enterprise resources. By using hardware to capture data, MotionWorks deploys some of the world’s largest and most successful automated resource tracking and management solutions across industries, and for some of the world’s largest companies. Even though Zebra MotionWorks solutions have been optimized for operation with Bluetooth Beacons, these beacons will also work with third-party solutions that follow the Bluetooth low energy specification. They are also compatible with legacy MPact server-based solutions.

Learn More About Zebra's Bluetooth Solutions