June 14, 2024

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Presence/absence detection with iBeacon: This is how the technology works

Presence/absence detection with iBeacon: This is how the technology works

Smart home

Apple's iBeacon technology, introduced in 2013, is used to determine location in rooms and can also be used to detect presence in a smart home. We'll show you how to use it.

The iBeacon standard is a location detection method developed by Apple. (Source: Apple)

Lights that turn on and off when you enter and leave a room. Doors lock themselves when you leave. With iBeacons, what was previously only imaginable in science fiction films has become a reality. But what makes iBeacon particularly special when it comes to detecting presence and absence?

What is iBeacon?

Although they sound the same and are used interchangeably, the terms “beacon” and “iBeacon” actually refer to two different things. A beacon is a small wireless device that transmits radio signals, or BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). It communicates with mobile applications and triggers an action depending on the user's location.

On the other hand, iBeacon refers to Apple's beacon technology. It's built into iOS devices and allows your iPhone or iPad to act as a transmitter or receiver of radio signals. In this regard, there's no difference between how Apple's iBeacons work and regular beacons — except for iOS integration.

Core components of iBeacon technology

To use iBeacon technology, you need the following components:

  • channel: These are small wireless devices attached to walls, ceilings, or shelves to send BLE signals.
  • Recipient: The receivers run a compatible iOS version and are capable of detecting iBeacon signals.
  • Tracker: This is a software application that uses iBeacon technology to determine your location and track your movements around the house. Your distance to the nearest iBeacon is divided into four categories:

Your distance to the nearest iBeacon is divided into four categories:

  • Unknown if distance cannot be determined
  • Instant when you are only 50cm away from the lighthouse
  • Close if the distance is not more than 2 meters
  • Far if you are more than 2 meters away from the lighthouse but still within a 30 meter radius

How do iBeacon devices detect your presence?

iBeacon technology works on a transceiver model. Transmitters, called “beacons,” are installed in a specific area. They then send out radio signals at regular intervals, which are picked up by receivers.

Once the beacon detects a receiver, it measures the signal strength and triggers action. In a smart home, this might mean turning on the lights when you enter a room or turning off the heating when you leave the house.

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