An Introduction to Bluetooth® LE TAG: Definition and Application in 2021

Minew Aug 19, 2021

With the advancement of the Internet of Things, data transmission technologies needed to develop. One of the best known is the BLE tag, which comes with a decent design precisely to facilitate IoT applications.

What is the BLE tag?

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Simply put, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a type of Bluetooth that consumes much less energy. It is about 10% if we compare it to classic Bluetooth. This is because the latter creates only for data transmission, as when we connect our cell phone to the car stereo to play music, for example.

The purpose of BLE is data transmission, but with a strong bias to maximize battery savings, precisely to ensure a long time of information transmission.

It is a protocol that gained strength in 2010, with the appearance of its 4.0 version. It had its widespread use from then onwards because the BLE tag easily allowed short and medium range wireless connections. Its features make a BLE device act most of the time in sleep mode, being activated only to make connections lasting milliseconds. As such, it is ideal for applications that information sporadically.

Why is BLE important for the Internet of Things?

Simply put, an Internet of Things system works through a connection between two devices (usually through some wireless system) and to the Internet, to communicate and share data from those devices.

Through its energy efficiency, BLE has quickly become a top choice for Internet of Things applications. Devices that work via Bluetooth can work for long periods without running out of battery, transmitting data periodically.

What is the average duration of beacons BLE tag?

To give you an idea, a BLE tag has an average duration ranging from 1.5 to 6 years. Similarly, it depends on the required range and the pulse emission frequency it has been configured for.

Finally, it is a protocol that requires little implementation cost: due to the omnidirectional signal, the physical structure required to detect a BLE tag is not very complex and has a low cost.

  • Detect location and degree of closeness
  • It protects by anti-spoofing mechanisms
  • It comes with temperature sensors and accelerometers
  • Moreover, it complies with iBeacon® and Eddystone® standards

BLE Tag solution for industries

  • It equips with all the functions of the standard beacon
  • Withstands high and low temperatures
  • It is water and dust resistant (IP65)
  • It comes by long-life battery or by wiring
  • RS-485 for external sensors
  • It is available in 9 variants

BLE Tags vs. Other Protocols: are there alternatives?

Undoubtedly there are other options that perform data transmission to IoT devices. One of the main alternatives is Zigbee, a wireless network that also has little energy consumption and reduced cost. However, Zigbee does not allow high data transmission rates. Thus, it is ideal for applications that will not need large processing, such as lighting control, for example.

What is RFID technology?

Another well-known option is RFID. Widely common in the industry and in asset tracking, the system consists of an antenna and transmitter BLE tag, which accompany the object to be tracked. But beware: RFID only works if the antenna and object are in the same direction.

That is why the protocol is one of the most common options for managing inventory or tracking objects that do not have free circulation.

Main applications of BLE tag

Beacons (BLE-emitting devices) have already been successfully tested in various sectors: retail, industry, logistics, healthcare and more. Because it offers a good experience at a low cost, it is a great option for those who need more continuous tracking, with high data consumption. Thus, the protocol has been widely common for monitoring people and mobile equipment indoors.

BLE tag can even be common in marketing, delivering personalized messages to consumers based on their location. What if you could communicate directly with your customers or employees the exact moment they arrived at a certain location?

Yeah, Beacon made that idea a reality. For this reason, the security market started to use it to monitor people and environments.

What are Beacons?

Through Bluetooth Low Energy technology, also known as Bluetooth 4.0, they are able to transmit continuous radio signals to electronic devices. When captured by smartphone and tablet applications, these signals are interpreted as triggers, triggering actions or sending relevant information to the public. Introduced by Apple in 2013, the technology has dimensions equivalent to a watch battery.

How does this technology work?

Beacons are unidirectional transmitters with sensors that detect the proximity of other electronic devices. BLE tag is capable of transmitting data over distances on average from 50 to 450 meters.

This data is received on mobile devices that have an application prepared to read them via Bluetooth. The application does not need to be open for the beacon reading to be performed.

How to configure activity in BLE tags?

Each beacon is associated with an action that is reflected on the user’s device. These actions are configurable and can therefore trigger push notifications, proximity indications, unlocking options within an app, etc.

The security market already uses beacons technology to monitor people and environments. As a direct communication channel, beacon technology can be common for numerous purposes.

Use of beacons

It has become very popular within marketing, for example, as beacons are able to identify the position of the consumer within a store and offer offers according to the products they are looking for. However, the BLE tag has also grown a lot within the security market. Monitoring is an option offered by Beacons that is very popular.

Characteristics of BLE tags

Some devices have built-in temperature, lighting and gas sensors, monitoring the condition of the areas or appliances in which they are located. It is also possible to protect confidential information through the use of presence sensor beacons.  To do this, they are configured to disable mobile device features such as cameras or microphones.

Why use this BLE tag in your home or business?

Affordable, easy to set up and reliable, beacons have become a great security feature within businesses, industries and healthcare institutions.

The BLE tag can be common for different purposes and for different audiences, adapting to the user’s needs. And you, what did you think of the beacons? Leave your opinion in the comments to start a discussion.

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