FAQs

General

iBeacon is a technology created by Apple and released in June 2013. It's based on Bluetooth Low Energy and allows the creation of regions for general purpose so devices and apps can interact with them creating location context.

An iBeacon transmits a package containing four parts that together can bring a whole new level of location context to your app. The first is a 128-bit number that uniquely identifies a group of iBeacons, for instance the UUID 697E3862-B009-43D7-9C62-C0A8E47F64F2 can be used to identify all the iBeacons of the Louvre Museum.

The second part is a 16-bit number called Major ID. If the UUID is used to identify a group of iBeacons the Major ID is used to identify a subgroup of iBeacons. On the Louvre Museum example, the Major ID 10 could be the all the iBeacons located on the Denon Wing section of the museum.

The Minor ID is the third part of the broadcasting package. It’s also a 16-bit number used to identify the iBeacon itself. For instance, the Minor ID 5 identifies the Mona Lisa’s painting.

The fourth and last part is the calibrated power measured by -dBm (Decibel-milliwatts). It's a reference number calibrated at a distance of 01 meter from the iBeacon so devices can calculate the approximate distance from the source.

If you put everything together you will have the iBeacon package. Actually is quite simple, but when you connect your app to those microlocations you can create experiences that were hard or impossible to make with technologies like GPS, Cellular and Wifi triangulation.

iBeacon applications are beginning to emerge very fast, coming to entire store chains, football stadiums and a brand new generation of products. And we’re just beginning to see the capabilities of this exciting technology.

 
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In short, BeaconToolbox is all about iBeacons. It's a tool to help you discover, manage, track, debug, simulate and everything iBeacon related but in a fun and easy way. You can learn more about it following this link.

 
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All devices running iOS 7.0+ equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 (sometimes Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth Smart): iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 and later and iPad mini (1st generation) and later.

 
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If your device doesn't support Bluetooth 4.0, we're sorry. BeaconToolbox won't work out for you. You can try a refund directly from Apple. They don't usually always grant the refund but sometimes they do. You can follow this link and explain them that you made a wrong purchase of an app that is not compatible with your hardware.

 
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Radar

Just tap on the device on the center of the screen to toggle it ON/OFF.

 
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It has been always a concern during the development phase. BeaconToolbox has lots of complicated moving parts behind the scenes wrapped up with an easy to use interface, so we have been trying to optimised the battery life and we think we did a good job, and by the way, we use Bluetooth Low Energy as our house power, and it's called low energy for a good reason.

In our testing, the only situation where the battery consumption reached a critical line was on the broadcasting mode, that is, when your device was setup to become a live iBeacon, otherwise you can keep it running all the time with no worries.

 
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The iBeacon framework requires your app to know the UUID in order to start monitoring for an iBeacon region. So in theory there is no way to range an iBeacon on a generic way. But almost all iBeacon hardware vendors provide alternate methods to provide the UUID in advance so we can start handling them before the framework. Our engine that deals with these hardwares is what we call auto detection mode.

We work with several hardware vendors and always keep our engine in great shape so customers can benefit with the convinience of the auto discover mode. If you're a hardware vendor and want to send us some samples so we can then test your hardware and add it to our engine, drop us a line at the email support@beacontoolbox.com and we'll provide you with the information on how to proceed.

 
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Not all iBeacons want to be easely discovered, so there's a chance that the hardware your're using doesn't support the auto discover mode. In that case you will need to provide us the iBeacon region UUIDs your looking for. Just tap the + button on the radar screen, tap the first item on the left side menu and add the regions you need.

Currently, due to Apple's hardware limitations we can work with a limit of 20 simultaneous active regions.

 
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iBeacons can be tricky sometimes. If you're sure that the iBeacon hardware is working properly and your device Bluetooth is on, you can try turning the radar off and after 10 seconds, on again. Usually this is an easy way to solve the problem. If it still doesn't find your iBeacon, try the following options:

  1. Add the iBeacon region you're looking for using the region tool.
  2. Kill the BeaconToolbox app and on your device settings, turn your Bluetooth off and on and then relaunch the app.
  3. We discovered a possible bug on the iBeacon architecture that happens when other apps are running as Bluetooth peripherals. Try killing these apps to check if it's happening with you. We already reported this possible bug to Apple and you can read more about it or duplicate the bug report by following this Open Radar.
  4. Redefine your device network settings on the settings app (it can be dangerous if you don't know what it means).
  5. If none of the above works for you, get in touch with us so we can figure out what's happening. Just make sure your iBeacon hardware isn't the problem.
 
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In theory, Apple's framework supports up to 20 different iBeacon UUID regions. Each region supports 32,767 different major IDs and 32,767 different minor IDs. If you do the math, this will give you a limit of 21,473,525,780 iBeacons. But of course this is just a number in paper. In reallity you have to take care to not overlap too much iBeacon regions for better performance and accuracy. In our tests using a stable envirolment in normal conditions of tempeture and pressure, we succefully ranged 10 iBeacons at once. More then that the UI will begin to clutter and can be difficult to interact with the screen. The precision starts to drop significantly due to the noisy nature of radio signals.

 
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Just tap on it. Simple as that.

 
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Universally Unique IDentifier. It's a 32 hexadecimal sequence separated by 4 hyphens, i.e.: B2E9109E-9AC9-4325-92DB-04CF72B499E6. On the iBeacon APIs it's used to uniquely identify a common group of iBeacons. So, for instance, you're a food chain with restaurants all over the world, B2E9109E-9AC9-4325-92DB-04CF72B499E6 could be an UUID that identifies all your deployed iBeacons. The other components of the API (Major ID and Minor ID) will be used to identify smaller groups of your iBeacons such as iBeacons of country X and iBeacons of city Y.

Every time you need to generate an UUID on BeaconToolbox, use your custom HEX-keyboard. It has a random UUID built following the ISO/IEC 11578:1996 specs.

 
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It's a 16-bit number used to identify a sub group of iBeacons inside a bigger group that has the same UUID. It's a tool given by the API so apps can better track which iBeacon it's talking to. The better way to explain a usage of the Major ID, is by example. So imagine you have iBeacons deployed in a footbool stadium. It's not a good ideia to give every iBeacon an UUID because your're going to limit the maximum number of iBeacons to 20 (limit imposed by the Core Location APIs). So It will be more optimal to give all your iBeacons one UUID and group them by categories and subcategories. There's no magic or universal way to segment your iBeacons. Each case is a case. So, using our football stadium example, the Major ID could be the sectors inside the stadium, like Sector A = Major 1, Sector B = Major 2, and so on. This way you can scale your iBeacon deployment up to 32,767 different categories.

 
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It's a 16-bit number used to identify a sub group of iBeacons inside a bigger group that has the same UUID and Major ID. If you are deploying iBeacons for a public bus company, all the iBeacons deployed will have the same UUID. The major ID would represent a group of buses according to the line it commutes and each bus could have a different Minor ID to identify itself. So if we put all together and our bus app identifies the iBeacon with UUID = B2E9109E-9AC9-4325-92DB-04CF72B499E6, Major ID = 10 and Minor ID = 6, it happens to be the company bus that commutes on line named Green and it's the bus number 6, so it's easy to have an app that can sense this iBeacon and process the information in an useful way for the user, telling him if that's the bus he's looking for.

 
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This is the fourth part of the iBeacon package (check the question "What is an iBeacon" on the General section for more information). It's just a reference number that means if a device is 1 meter away from the iBeacon, it will receive the iBeacon package with a signal strength of X. So when the user's device receives the package it can check the actual signal strength and the reference one to calculate and aproximate distance from the iBeacon.

 
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iBeacons are Bluetooth based. Bluetooth are radio devices and radio devices have a noisy nature. That means you are always subjected to interferances and inaccurate rangings. When you proper calibrate your iBeacons you give the API the opportunity to do a better calculation considering the leval of noise and interferences of your envirolment. So if you want better results, is always a good practice to calibrate your iBeacons.

BeaconToolbox offers a calibration tool that considers much better statistic analisys them others out there. The algorithms were validaded with professionals with years of experience in radio devices and labs with the right instruments and methodology.

 
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Your tracked iBeacon will be watched while the app is in the background. When you enter or exit the region of the iBeacon you're tracking a notification will fire up, so it's easy no know if your iBeacons are working properly just by walking across your stores, warehouses or any other places.

 
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Broadcaster

It's an easy way to turn your device into a live iBeacon for any purpose.

 
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Profiles are setup configurations that the iBeacon will broadcast on its advertisement packages. In short it's a well formed UUID, a Major ID, a Minor ID and a calibrated power. Every rounded square on the broadcaster UI is a profile you can activate.

 
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Just so you can play with them right out of the box. They are some hardware venders that we use and love. But you can always create you owns.

 
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Yes. Tap the + on the top right corner and a blank profile will drop down the screen. Just tap on it and start filling out all the required information. Save it and that's it.

 
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For a better explanation, just check the same question on the Radar section of this page.

 
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For a better explanation, just check the same question on the Radar section of this page.

 
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For a better explanation, just check the same question on the Radar section of this page.

 
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For a better explanation, just check the same question on the Radar section of this page.

 
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Absolutely!

 
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Just drag a profile to the activation area. Sexy as that. ;)

 
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You can gently tap it do deactivate or roughly strip it off the activation area. Your choice.

 
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Check the radar. You will see your profile like any other discovered iBeacon. If it's there it's broadcasting.

 
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In short, no. We had some issues with that due to API limitations. But we expect Apple to fix this on a future release.

 
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Regions

Regions are a set of UUIDs that BeaconToolbox will look for iBeacons. If an iBeacon has the same UUID you registred as a region, we will find it regardless of the auto discovery mode.

 
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You will need regions on those cases where BeaconToolbox auto discover algorithms are unable to find iBeacons or you explicitly know what you're looking for.

 
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We agree. That's why we designed and implemented the most SEXY HEX-keyboard out there. This will help you type faster and without mistakes. You can also generate a random and valid UUID using the keyboard in just one touch. If you manage to get a UUID by any other source, like email, SMS, iMessage or similar, just copy it to the pasteboard and BeaconToolbox will detect, parse, validate and automatically paste it in for you. No hassle.

 
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Oh yeah! We believe typing in a monster hexadecimal number is boring, but if you have to do it, do it once. So we will sync them using iCloud between all your devices.

 
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There's a limit on the CoreLocation framework for 20 regions per app. You can register how many you wish but you can only have 20 active regions at once.

 
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Misc

We offer support only in English and you can reach us by Email, Twitter or Google+. Checkout the help section for more information.

For questions related to the iBeacon APIs, please refer to the Apple Developer Forums or the Apple Documentation.

 
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For this project, not yet. But if you like the ideia, stay in touch.

 
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I'm always open for new exciting technologies and game changing apps. Get in touch so we can schedule a video call and talk about your needs.

 
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Yes. We're working on it but we don't have a release date yet. Follow-us on Twitter or Google+ for further information.

 
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We like Windows Phones. But no plans for this platform yet. Let us know if you're interested in a Windows Phone version of BeaconToolbox.

 
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No.

 
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We don't have an answer for that yet, but I'm pretty sure it's not 42.

 
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It's possible. Try and let us know.

 
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This is just an experiment. If you're reading this, you're a winner. Just mark this question as useful so we can measure our experiment. Why? Because it's fun :)

 
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