Live Beacon is a small, battery-powered, cloud-controlled device that transmits web content and notifications to nearby smartphones.
About this project
What is an iBeacon?
Okay, first things first: What exactly is an iBeacon?
iBeacon is a technology (not a product) created by Apple. It enables developers (like us) to build hardware (beacons) and software that communicate via Bluetooth Low Energy. That may sound complicated, but the end result can actually be very simple…
Say Hello to the World’s Simplest iBeacon
Live Beacon is a small, battery-powered, cloud-controlled device that transmits web content and notifications to nearby smartphones.
It broadcasts any web page, video or web app up to 30 meters (100 feet) and is easily updated using the included Cloud Portal.
Live Beacon connects digital content with the physical world.
Live Beacon in Action
With the free Live Beacon app, your iOS or Android smartphone automatically receives a notification whenever there’s a beacon nearby, and changes content as you move from beacon-to-beacon.
Here’s a quick video of James demonstrating Live Beacon:
Live Beacon makes it possible for anyone to send location-specific information — without a single line of code — to create awesome iBeacon experiences, such as:
Replace brochures, pamphlets and anything else that’s printed with beacons that transmit online content. Save time and money printing, never run out of copies, update the content instantly, and be more environmentally friendly!
Create multimedia tours for cities, museums, galleries and attractions by placing beacons near points of interest. Visitors get to use their own smartphones and tablets rather than those clunky handsets.
Games and Activities
Make fun treasure hunts to keep participants active and entertained. Play to their competitive spirit by ‘gamifying’ the real world — gotta find ‘em all!
Loyalty and Rewards
Build a digital loyalty card for your customers. Don’t expect them to carry around yet another rewards card; just tap the beacon at the counter to collect a stamp.
Automation and IoT (Internet of Things)
Simplify access to any device with a web interface. For example, open the Live Beacon app next to your home router to see Internet usage; skipping the login page and going straight to the bit that’s useful.
We asked some of our friends for their suggestions:
- “Transmit slides to the audience when I’m doing a presentation” — Julian
- “As a guestbook for our Airbnb rental” — Mandy
- “Distribute health and safety documents to contractors” — Nick
- “Rickroll my colleagues in the office lol” — Ben
- “As a noticeboard for my surf club” — Stian
- “Showcase our videos to customers” — Billy
- “Give our brochure to attendees at conferences” — Matt
- “As a stall plan for our village fete” — Vivien
- “Show instructional videos next to gym equipment” — Rupert
…and that’s just for starters! We can’t wait to see the creative ways you, the Kickstarter community, will use Live Beacon. Please share your ideas in the comments.
How It Works
Live Beacon includes everything you need to get beaconing: (1) the beacon, (2) the Cloud Portal and (3) the free app.
- The beacon transmits your content
- The Cloud Portal is used to update your content
- And the free app receives your content
The beacon transmits your content up to 30 meters (100 feet).
It’s small, waterproof, dustproof and durable — it’s just as happy inside or out.
It comes with an adhesive pad to secure it to any surface. But it doesn’t have to be on display; it can be be put behind, underneath or inside almost anything!
The built-in battery transmits your content continuously for 2 years.
Each beacon has a unique 10-digit ‘Beacon ID’ printed on the bottom of it.
- Colour: Black
- Size: 55 x 55 x 20 mm (2.17 x 2.17 x 0.79 inches)
- Weight: 35 grams (1.23 ounces)
- Waterproof : Rated IP67
- Battery: 2 years always-on*
*The battery is not user replaceable because of waterproofing.
Note: The beacon itself doesn’t need to connect to the Internet.
2. Cloud Portal
The Cloud Portal is used to update your content.
Sign in to the Cloud Portal using the beacon’s ID and password — from any web browser, anywhere in the world!
You can change any of its settings, including:
- Power: Turn the beacon on or off
- Title: The title of your content
- URL: The web address of your content
- Range: How far your content is transmitted
- Notification: Your notification message
The beacon updates instantly, and any smartphones currently receiving your content automatically refresh within a few seconds.
The Cloud Portal also includes useful demos and step-by-step documentation.
Here’s a quick video of James using the Cloud Portal:
3. Free App
The free app receives your content.
Available on iOS and Android, it only takes a few seconds to download (it’s less than 5 MB).
It works on any iPhone, iPad or Android device with Bluetooth 4.0 (iPhone 4 and up, Samsung Galaxy S3 and up).
Once downloaded, your smartphone will automatically receive a notification whenever there’s a beacon nearby.
Open the notification (or the app) to see the beacon’s content. The content automatically changes as you move from beacon-to-beacon.
You can pin any content (Menu > Pin) to prevent it from changing when you move or from disappearing when you walk away.
- iOS 8 and up
- Android 4.3 and up
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Internet access
The first beacon of its kind, Live Beacon is completely cloud-controlled. All of its settings are updated using the Cloud Portal — from any web browser, anywhere in the world!
Any Web Content
Transmit any web content, from an existing website or social media page, to an auto-playing YouTube video (not usually possible on a smartphone).
Adjust the beacon’s range from a tap up to 30 meters (100 feet). That’s a 60 meter (200 foot) diameter if it’s put in the middle of a room.
You can overlap as many beacons as you like to create large beacon zones.
Customise the beacon’s notification to welcome visitors, and let them know there’s a beacon nearby.
Please note: The free app displays one notification for each group of beacons. This is to keep users happy and avoid notification spamming like this!
The free app automatically changes content as you move from beacon-to-beacon.
Under the hood there’s a fancy ‘fuzzy logic’ algorithm that handles wireless interference to make sure you always recieve content from the nearest beacon.
In the Box
In the box is everything you need to get beaconing right away, including:
- Live Beacon
- Adhesive Pad
- Quick Start Guide
The poster is double-sided and has sticky dots on the corners for putting it up.
Your pledge will help make our dream — to bring Live Beacon to the masses — a reality.
Funds will be used to manufacture beacons and expand our team, so we’re able to add exciting new features and make Live Beacon even better.
Half price beacons is our little way of saying thanks, and the more you order the cheaper they get, which is fortunate because Live Beacon really shines when you’ve got more than one.
The early birds are limited, so get ’em quick!
Note: Kickstarter pledges are ordered by price, so early birds aren’t all at the top. Exchange rates will fluctuate over the course of campaign, so USD and EUR prices may be slightly different to the chart below. Please make sure you click the correct pledge on the right hand side!
What People Think
We love a chance to show off Live Beacon. When we do a little demo we usually get a response like “That’s so cool!”, and “Wow, that’s so easy!” when we update a beacon using the Cloud Portal.
Occasionally we chat with someone who’s faced the challenges of deploying conventional beacons first-hand, and we’re pleased to hear “This is so much better!“.
Here’s what our customers say:
A Brief History of Live Beacon
2013 — iBeacon Announced
When Apple announced iBeacon in 2013 we were very excited about the technology. In a world of information overload, making it possible for smartphones to display relevant information in specific locations seemed like a logical (and necessary) step forward.
However, when we played around with iBeacon we (like many developers) found that it wasn’t easy to impliment. Making a complete iBeacon experience would prove to be expensive, time consuming and littered with pitfalls. So we set about building what we thought an iBeacon platform should be…
2014 – Proof of Concept
James spent the majority of 2014 coding in his bedroom while Nick paid the bills! By the end of the year we had a working proof of concept — with an app and a rudimentary backend. At the time we were using Gimbal beacons. They performed well once they were set up, but configuring them was fiddly and time consuming. It quickly became apparent that, in order to achieve the simplicity we wanted, we’d need to build our own hardware…
2015 – Beacons!
We wanted our beacons to ship preconfigured and ready to go. No messing around with hexadecimal values thank you very much! We worked closely with our manufacturing partner in China and in mid-2015 received our first batch of preproduction beacons. Woo!
2015 – Southbank Centre
Around this time Gordon joined the team and set about finding us a cornerstone customer, one that had a lot of visitors and was willing to take a chance and deploy a brand new technology. London’s Southbank Centre was the perfect fit.
2016 – Kickstarter
Marcelo joined us earlier this year to help bring Live Beacon to market. Not wanting to be a solely business-to-business product (there’s more than enough of those) Kickstarter seemed the best bet to get Live Beacon into the hands of normal people.
After a (hopefully!) successful Kickstarter campaign, all rewards fulfilled and lots of happy backers, we’ll be cracking on with a long list of additional features. Who knows, one or two of them may end up as stretch goals!
James Grant — Founder
James conceived Live Beacon in 2014 and has been furiously coding away ever since. His background in app development has definately come in handy! In the winter months, you’ll find him gingerly making his way down nursery slopes on his Live Beacon branded snowboard.
Nick Taylor — Co-founder
Nick’s been in the IT industry for over 20 years, and started event Wi-Fi company Noba. In his spare time you’ll find him clad head to toe in Team GB-branded lycra. He also occasionally cycles.
Gordon Robson — Chairman
Gordon’s an industry veteran who’s built telecoms, web and mobile companies (he even pioneered the first telephone voting system back in the 80s!). A self-classified ‘failed musician’, Gordon still has a home recording studio that’s collecting dust. Over the years it’s gradually passed from state-of-the-art to vintage/ antique.
Marcelo Bustamante — Sales & Marketing
Marcelo’s been developing and marketing tech products for nearly 20 years and is a master of the supply chain and packaging. When he’s not hard at work in the office, you’ll find him running long long distances and trying to punch the stuffing out of Muay Thai pads (not to mention changing lots of nappies).
There’s also a wider group of contractors and part-timers who have helped us along the way. A special mention for Jane who handles accounts and Alex the Android …developer.
Thanks for taking the time to look at our project! We hope you share our enthusiasm for bringing iBeacon to the masses. We passionately believe in making technology that’s easy to use and accessible, and can’t wait for you to get your hands on Live Beacon. It truly is the world’s simplest iBeacon!
Thanks to all the friends, family, colleagues and customers that have helped out along the way — we couldn’t have done it without you guys!
An extra special shout out to:
- Amstore Innovation — Our distribution partner.
- Cancer Research UK – For using Live Beacon at their events (and the amazing work they do).
- Chinchins Coffee House — For letting us film in their lovely coffee shop in Bexleyheath.
- DMA — For using Live Beacon at their events.
- Engage Works — For promoting Live Beacon.
- IceTank — For letting us film at their awesome studio in London.
- Mockuuups — For our beautiful product shots.
- Southbank Centre — For championing Live Beacon.
- Taking The Pixels — Thanks to Billy and Steve for their time, patience and enthusiasm while making the video.
Finally, please help spread the word and share this project with your friends.
If you’re a member of the press, here’s (hopefully!) everything you need: Press Kit
Risks and challenges
The Cloud Portal, free app and first batch of preproduction beacons have already been built, and we’ve ironed out all the kinks along the way. Moreover, Live Beacon is actively being used day-to-day at London’s Southbank Centre. In order words, this isn’t some pie in the sky idea! However, things can go wrong, and we’re determined to keep our backers happy.
Here are the potential challenges we’re keeping an eye on:
1. Chinese New Year
We intend to ship all beacons before the end of January. However, if things slip for any reason Chinese New Year (the first week in February) will mean further delays.
2. Android Notifications
Notifications on iOS devices are as snappy as the videos suggests, but on some (not all) Android devices they take longer to trigger than we’d like. We’re working on a solution, but it’s possible we may not be able to improve things on some older devices.
3. Speedboat Colour
What if the speedboat we order for Nick (using Kickstarter funds) is the wrong colour? I mean, I *think* his favourite colour is blue, but what if it’s red? …or green? I suppose we could always just sink the blue one and buy another…
In all seriousness, we very much value your trust and hard-earned cash. We promise to work even harder once the campaign is over to get your beacons to you ASAP!