Don’t Plan to Spend Your Day with Beacon Tech

Had a chance to work with some Beacon technology today. It was easy to set up (even though a little obtuse), but more or less impossible to test quickly. My test hardware: the iBKS USB powered beacon.

IBKS Usb Beacon

The beacon, once set up, sends out a simple URL over the Eddystone protocol. Android (given the right version and permissions) picks up the beacon signal and alerts you to the physical web around you. In theory.

In practice, Android protects you from invasive, persistent alerts from the beacons that surround you, using a quiet algorithm to only annoy you when you’re receptive to the call to action. Ignore it often enough, and Android will stop pestering you entirely, essentially muting that beacon.

Which for an end-user, or even a beacon owner, is great news. But for a developer just trying to test out some basic functionality? It’s a frustrating waiting game of wondering if your phone has something wrong with it that you’re not accounting for. Not a great developer experience.

In short, plan to set this thing up and then forget about it for a day or two and see what your phone does. Don’t waste your time trying to find out why your phone isn’t doing what the documentation says is should be doing.

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