Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Proximity Tags

By Javier V.

We have just recently learn about Internet of things, which is a network of physical objects able to collect and exchange data. I started to think, how is this done? What technology can be use to achieve this. I found several different technology NFC, RFID, and BLE. Out of the three BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) proximity tags was most interesting. Bluetooth Low Energy is a wireless personal network technology that “consumes as little as one hundredth the average power required by Bluetooth Classic” (Trueman, 2014). It is perfect technology for devices that run on a small battery, like coin battery. This is where BLE proximity tags come into play, because it allows that tag to run for years on a single coin battery. As system developers we need to look into the technology that can be implemented in our projects.

BLE proximity tags has many possible applications like airports, home, office, and business. Let us use a high level overview application example for airport. As soon as we walk into LAX and you are check in and walk to our destination. Then we realize one of our luggage went missing, quickly we take out our phone and open fetch. The radar helps us find it within minutes, we get a notification on the phone says now loading. A navigation turns on and tells you how to get to your terminal and off we go. This is possible because our phone “listen for signals from beacons in the physical world and react accordingly” (Osterhout, 2015). So our phone communicated end point of a system. We can find our luggage by placing a coin size sticker on it before hand that will continually send out a signal to be found. Lastly, beacons can be set up around the airport. Which could tell when “user–has entered the “zone” the beacon covers. It also gives apps the ability to estimate their distance from the beacon” (Elgan, 2015). Which allows a detail navigation in airport is accurate up to 1 meter.

BLE makes this all possible because the technology is very cheap. Size can range from a simple sticker to cigarette box size. BLE is also backward compatible and more than 90% of smartphones have Bluetooth classic. So technology is already in place to be used and it is finally making more appearances into the mainstream. This technology will continue to grow and will help grow Internet of things. It is important because we will, in the future, going have to consider this new variable within our design of new systems.




Elgan, M. (2015). Why Google Eddystone Looms as an Apple iBeacon Killer. Eweek, 1

Osterhout, C. (2015, October 23). Combining iBeacon Technology with Marketing Automation. Retrieved November 24, 2015, from

TRUEMAN, R. (2014). Moving Bluetooth Low Energy Closer to the Mainstream. Electronic Design, 62(9), 38-41.