Secure Beacon Networks with Eddystone – EID and Eddystone-eTLM

Update to the Eddystone standard focussing on security and flexibility

These days Google announced a major specification update to the open Eddystone beacon standard. The focus is on security, encypted telemetry data and more flexibility when it comes to the configuration of beacons. In this blog post we shed some light onto this standard, which was originally launched mid 2015, and give a brief overview of all its different frame types.

Eddystone is a standard for beacons to send out information via Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 4.0). It is more advanced, IoT-ready and forward-looking than Apple’s iBeacon which defines only 1 frame type with UUID, Major and Minor values. The specification is open source and it can be used with proprietary Google services as well as custom tailored solutions which are not tied to any Google service. Similar to Apple’s iBeacon, Eddystone signals can be detected on all major mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Windows Phone).

It defines different frames which specify the format of the data being advertised:

Eddystone-URL

The beacon sends out a signal that contains a compressed Web URL, e.g. https://www.beaconinside.com.

This signal can then be detected by the Chrome Web Browser on a mobile device and immediately the URL is shown to the user. The format further establishes the foundation for the Physical Web which was already described in the previous blog post.

Eddystone-UID

The beacon sends out unique numbers to unambiguously identify it.

This signal is similar to Apple’s iBeacon format but instead of sending out UUID, Major and Minor, the beacons sends out two numbers called NamespaceID and InstanceID.

Eddystone-EID

The beacons sends out a periodically changing and non-predictable number.

Although this number changes periodically, it is possible to unveil the beacon’s identity unambiguously. The update interval depends on the actual use-case and can vary between a few seconds and weeks. In contrast to Eddystone-UID which can also be used to identify a beacon, the EID format prevents from piggybacking (someone else is using your beacon infrastructure) and spoofing (someone clones your beacons).

Eddystone-TLM / Eddystone-eTLM

The beacon sends out health- and sensor information. The vital data of a beacon contains the beacon\’92s battery level and uptime, whereas the sensor information contains the current temperature. In the standard Eddystone-EID format this information is sent out in plain-text. To protect sensitive information the whole frame can also be encrypted which is then referred to as Eddystone-eTLM.

Beaconinside collaborated with Google over the past months to implement eTLM, EID and the full Eddystone specification. Beaconinside Beacons can now support all Eddystone frame types plus iBeacon in parallel, a big milestone for future-proof beacon networks.


The Proximity DMP is our turnkey software-as-a-service platform to manage, share, analyze and monetize beacon networks of any size is also natively supporting Eddystone beacons.

Please contact support@beaconinside.com for more information about the standard or visit www.beaconinside.com today.

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