Google launches Eddystone, its bid to take Apple’s iBeacon and conquer the IoT


Launching today, Eddystone is Google’s new open source, cross-platform Bluetooth LE beacon framework. It allows beacons—small, battery-powered transmitters—to send data to mobile devices. It’s all part of the company’s broader efforts within the Internet of Things (IoT) sphere and represents a competitor to Apple’s own beacon platform, iBeacon.

Once developers start create apps that take advantage of the framework, Eddystone will allow beacons to send all manner of data passively to smartphones. For instance, beacons located within a subway station could send a schedule to a person’s phone.

The format, it turns out, is named after a famous lighthouse off the coast of Devon, England. All things considered, it’s a fitting name: much like lighthouses helped guide ships before the advent of GPS, bluetooth beacons will do the same for users and apps.

According to TechCrunch, Google has already started working with vendors like Bluvision, Estimote, Kontakt.io, Radius Networks and Signal 360 to build Eddystone into their devices. However, as Eddystone is a open source platform, almost any device can take advantage of its suite of APIs as long as it has access to Bluetooth LE. Indeed, most existing devices will be able to take advantage of the framework with a simple firmware update.

That said, it will likely be a couple of years before most users start to see the benefit of Google investing its time and money into efforts like Eddystone. But once the IoT industry really does take off—in Canada alone, it’s expected to be worth more than $500 billion by 2022—frameworks like Eddystone and Brillo, an Android powered IoT operating system announced by Google at this year’s I/O conference, will likely become important to both consumers and companies.

In the meantime, the Eddystone framework is available starting today on Github.