There has been a lot of hype around Eddystone and the Physical Web lately, but what exactly are they?
Imagine a world in which you can just “walk up and use anything.” This is the vision for Google’s Physical Web, a project to create a world in which all physical objects can be connected to the digital world and have the ability to communicate with you or with each other. Unveiled in 2014, the Physical Web is still in its infancy, but its open source standard has allowed developers worldwide to participate in this initiative and grow it.
Google has decided to use Eddystone as the backbone of the Physical Web. Eddystone is Google’s protocol for the bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon, announced in 2015. Bluetooth has become popular among mobile devices, with over 90% of mobile devices capable of receiving Bluetooth in 2014, making it a key factor for Google in trying to reach as many people as possible.
Eddystone itself has a variety of capabilities and protocols. Here; we’ll be specific about the Eddystone-URL, which is the specific type of Eddystone used by the Physical Web.
What is Eddystone-URL?
Eddystone-URL is a protocol for the specific configuration of beacons to send out URL links over Bluetooth low energy waves. A beacon using Eddystone-URL works the same as any other BLE beacon; it consistently transmits BLE waves around it, allowing Bluetooth-capable devices that come within its range to receive the waves and be prompted with a URL.
The link will often appear as a notification, and the user can choose to visit the site.
Use cases of Eddystone-URL
Among Google’s examples of Eddystone-URL uses include
- A bus stop that can tell you the next arrival and other pertinent information
- Parking meters that allow you pay quickly
- Stores that offer you deals tailored to the section of the store you’re browsing
- Rental cars, boats and other vehicles that allow you to quickly sign up and drive away
- Churches can broadcast programs to attendees
- Restaurants can broadcast menus to visitors passing by
The Growth Potential of the Physical Web
The Physical Web is set to grow widely as part of a larger trend in technology called the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea behind the IoT is essentially the same as the Physical Web: to connect the digital and physical worlds. IoT is the larger concept, which encompasses many innovations, while the Physical Web is a portion of the IoT and attempts to connect objects through Eddystone-URL beacons.
The Internet of Things is predicted to pave the way for smart homes and smart cities, one of the latest frontiers of technology. From smart fridges to smart subway systems, the future will consist of appliances and services that can communicate with you or other devices for coordinated actions. The world is becoming more digitized, and IoT innovation is setting the trend in that direction.
As you read in the examples earlier, the Physical Web has potential to create smart devices and systems, from parking meters to stores. One advantage that the Physical Web has over its competitors is that it’s built on URLs, which are ubiquitous and quickly accessible by a mobile device.
As Eddystone is embedded into our plugs and outlets, they’re capable of broadcasting URLs,allowing you to access a link that may have capabilities of interacting an environment with the plug installed. So far, this technology is still in its infancy with few realized products, but it is projected to grow big time.
How do you get started with Eddystone and the Physical Web?
If the Physical Web has piqued your interest, you can get started quickly with two things: a our plug and any URL you wish to broadcast.
Once you have these materials, you need to configure your beacon. You can do this simply from the BeaconGrid dashboard. . There you may enter are two basic parameters : the URL link, the transmission power.The transmission power is how strong the broadcast signal is and is correlated with the range of your beacon. The URL is simply the link you wish to broadcast.
The simplicity of broadcasting an Eddystone-URL using our Plug makes it very easy to get started.