Have you ever noticed that connecting our mobile app with our gadgets, like AirPods, takes less time than the traditional way of connecting?
This is because Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connects faster. Earlier, we were dependent on wi-fi for establishing connections.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is becoming an emerging standard in various industry verticals, like healthcare, retail, and more. This is going to save us time.
This post will discuss Bluetooth Low Energy technology, how to develop a BLE tracking app, benefits, working, and a lot more.
What Is BLE?
Bluetooth Low Energy, BLE, is a robust and app-friendly Bluetooth version that was crafted keeping the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind.
For example, IoT devices transfer data to other devices connected over a network. So, they need extended battery power. Here, BLE emerges as a perfect helping hand. It is best at consuming low power when data needs to be transferred constantly. So, when it’s not in use, it holds the caliber to go into a sleep mode that saves energy. That’s why BLE is said to consume less power.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is one of the widely-used low-power connectivity standards. The target of BLE is to connect devices lying within a short range.
Apps integrated with BLE technology emit low-energy signals with Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. Proximity-based solutions use BLE devices to allow businesses to surface precise data, offer expected customer experiences cost-effectively, consume less power, and boost ROI.
What Is The Difference Between BLE And Bluetooth? Are They Both Same?
Well, most of us might have caught up with this question.
Yes, BLE and Bluetooth Classic are the same, with some differences.
BLE, an independent standard, is incompatible with the “Classic Bluetooth.”
Classic Bluetooth came 20 years ago for commercial purposes. The Bluetooth Special Interests Group (SIG) no longer develops it. But, it doesn’t mean it’s not in use. You can find it most often in the devices that need a constant connection, like headphones, wireless speakers, etc.
In time, Bluetooth Special Interests Group (SIG) emerged with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) in its 2010 4.0 specification. It was created targeting the growing healthcare and fitness devices market.
You might not know that most tablets, smartphones, and laptops arrive well-equipped with BLE and Bluetooth Classic for a flawless user experience.
|Factors||Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)||Bluetooth Classic|
|Way of Communication||Transfers data over a short span, one-way communication.||It’s designed for constant, two-way communication.|
|Power Consumption||Consumes less power, approx. 100 times less than Bluetooth Classic||Comparatively, it consumes more energy.|
|Connect devices over a short range.||Performs within a longer range|
|Amount of Data Transfer||Transfers small data packets.||Has higher throughput.|
|Latency||BLE connections hold a latency of 6ms.||Bluetooth holds a latency of up to 100 ms.|
|Voice Capability||BLE is not voice-capable.||It’s voice-capable.|
What Is BLE App?
Bluetooth Low Energy technology is used virtually anywhere because of its core strengths that other low-power networks lack. It doesn’t need any specialized compatible hardware for its deployment.
Bluetooth Low Energy applications transmit low energy signals with Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. Apps infused with BLE technology easily communicate with other devices, like fitness trackers.
BLE can’t replace Bluetooth, but it has become a standard technology for various apps.
Use Cases Of BLE Technology App
If you run your business in any of the below areas, you will need a Bluetooth Low Energy App as your topmost priority.
- Home automation
But why do you need a BLE app in these industry verticals?
1. Data Transfer
The most common usage of BLE is data transfer.
For example: Suppose your wearable needs an app to read data from the sensor on your smartphone.
2. Location Tracking
One of BLE’s chief benefits is that it can be used for accurate positioning where GPS can’t perform, like indoors, within your building. For this, beacons are used that are BLE-equipped devices. These devices broadcast data to every device lying within the range, saving you from a one-to-one exchange. These devices either process that data, like phones, or just capture it and transfer it further.
Mostly, BLE is used in indoor navigation systems, like in shopping malls where the shop owners offer customers GPS-like indoor mapping that assists them in navigating their preferred shops.
3. Asset Tracking
You can use BLE technology to track your assets. You just need to attach the BLE tag to objects you want to track.
With geofencing, you can monitor how specific objects move to ensure they are lying where they should be.
a) In Logistics
You can track cargo.
b) In Medicine
You can monitor necessary supplies to find them easily when needed.
c) In IT
You can track the equipment to know how, where, and when you can use them or ensure they are lying within office premises.
4. Smart Appliances & Fitness Trackers
One of the major use cases for BLE is this one. As Bluetooth technologies (classic and BLE) are commonly available in tablets, smartphones, and laptops, more and more personal devices are paired with these, like smart appliances and fitness trackers.
Let’s take an example: as smart bands are used for measuring workout activities, they may lead to a lot of battery consumption to constantly transferring health-related data to connected smartphones. Here, BLE appears as a savior, which meets the need to consume less power.
5. Contact Tracing
As we have read that BLE is used for indoor location tracking, employers are increasingly looking to use BLE-based solutions to keep their employees safe by performing contact tracing.
Elaborating on the scenario, we can say, people at the office are equi[pped with a single-functioning and safe BLE tag that accumulates information about where they go and whom they meet. Simultaneously, it doesn’t target sensitive data storage that may invade the privacy of anyone in the office.
6. Mesh Networking
Based on BLE, the Bluetooth mesh networking standard facilitates many-to-many communication over Bluetooth radio. Moreover, it’s optimized for crafting large-scale device networks. It’s suitable for monitoring, controlling, and automation systems where thousands of devices need to talk to each other.
7. Audio Streaming
A growing technology, BLE enhances audio streaming extensively without compromising streaming gadgets’ battery life. It’s powered by the new Low Complexity Communications Codec or LC3. Basically, a codec compresses audio to the needed size for streaming. LC3 holds the caliber to transmit acceptable quality audio without draining various resources like Classic Bluetooth.
8. Hyperlocal Check-In
BLE-driven check-ins are much taregted and allow visitors to know where they are in the facility. This feature may be used with specific reward-based games or location-based promotions, like the scavenger hunt.
9. Retargeting Ads
These enable businesses to reach visitors even if they have checked out of the store. Once the visitors get engaged with any in-store campaign, the same brand gets to know that when the visitors go online operating Google or Facebook.
10. Proximity Marketing
BLE technology can help send promotional messages to smartphones within the range. This facilitates marketing to target people based solely on location.
In the retail sector, proximity marketing assists in boosting revenue potential. It lets the retailers know when the customers are near their smart retailer store and delivers targeted hyper-contextual and personalized content.
Also, it can keep track of loyal customers and reward them accordingly. The BLE proximity marketing holds the caliber to enhance the customer experience that makes the customer purchase products in real-time. This, in turn, increases brand awareness and boosts sales.
11. IoT Services
IoT has changed the world by linking, communicating, managing, and controlling scattered devices. IoT solutions equipped with BLE technology can help constant data exchange with low power consumption, that’s is a common issue while using IoT devices.
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Why is a BLE App Important? Benefits to Know
BLE technology is cost-effective and provides reasonable marketing solutions. As we have read, this technology relies on low-energy and low-cost beacon devices that provide ease for huge deployments. As these are pocket-friendly devices, it leads to scalable and flexible BLE app implementation.
2. Improves Shopping Experience
Bluetooth Low Energy uses the location to offer shoppers’ demographics, and preferences, offering personalized shopping experiences. It renders valuable content to customers’ smartphones at the right place and time within the right context.
3. Increases Sales
BLE technology boosts sales by redefining customers’ shopping experience and helping shoppers catch educated POS decisions. Customers who get timely access to information usually complete the purchase faster.
4. Low Battery Consumption
Bluetooth Low Energy needs less energy to deliver and receive data. It holds the caliber to run on a single battery for years and even more by modifying its settings. Transmitting signals will have less impact on the smartphone’s battery.
BLE app development provides a wide range of security protocols. You can implement numerous security features in your BLE app to make your network secure. Moreover, you can customize these technologies according to the market needs.
Besides, you can implement a locking protocol in your app, which will act as an app lock for various hardware or beacons connected to the app. The modification request of these devices connected to your network will ask you to input a password to get access.
6. Beacons Application Development
The micro-location-based technology device, Beacons are small and expensive, well-equipped with BLE, detect the beacon-based mobile app within 1-100m range, and communicate with them by passing coupons, ads, or supplementary product details. Beacon mobile app development services are best for communicating and driving sales, whether you need to track traffic to your offline store, trigger push notifications, offer promotions, or more.
7. Business Automation
The BLE app development has transformed industries by offering them automation solutions. Implementing Bluetooth technology diminishes the need for manual data entry and saves data for future research.
Various types of industrial readings are there, like weight, temperature, etc., that need constant monitoring. Here, BLE beacons implementation assists in automating the whole process and data storage.
8. Low-Energy Wireless Communications
BLE beacons arrive with integrated sensors that use a wireless fidelity connection or other wireless technologies to exchange data or communicate to analyze customers’ cookies or detect their location.
These beacons craft local communication networks that permit them to conduct site-specific data transmission. The best part of using such technologies is that they craft an extended network of bi-directional communication integrated into devices through various networks, like WI-Fi, cellular, and more.
9. Wearable Synchronization
BLE performs as a low energy consumption model, which is the best fit for wearable devices. The BLE beacons hold the caliber to operate on a single AA battery for years. When these beacons are implemented in wearable devices, they can communicate with their specific apps and sync the related data even when the Bluetooth of the associated smartphone is disconnected. On the contrary, concerning storage, BLE apps push data to cloud storage and access it anytime.
What Is A BLE Tracking App?
A BLE tracking app helps track users’ things and find misplaced things far and nearby. You can even find your phone if you have misplaced it while it was on silent mode.
Besides, some BLE tracking apps work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to make finding easier.
Who Can Get Benefits From A BLE Tracking App?
The BLE apps can be used in varied industry verticals and can be beneficial for:
- Real Estate
How Does A BLE Tracking Application Work?
1. User Registration
First, the users register on a BLE tracking app using their email addresses. Next, they verify their email, including OTP that the app sends on their registered email.
2. Add New Device
Next, the users scan a QR code to add their devices to the app. Ahead, they will get a unique device ID once it’s turned on.
3. Scan Device
The app scan device you added to the app to track its location. This way, the users can check where their device is directly on their mobile phones.
4. Connect Nearby Device and Play Buzzer
When the user finds his nearby device using his mobile phone, it plays the buzzer. You can adjust its volume.
5. Check Last Scan Time
A BLE tracking app stores the last scanned device’s details, like its last location, time of the scan, and more.
6. Mark ‘Not Found’ Devices as ‘Lost’
The app assists the users in finding their lost or misplaced devices. If it fails to find them, it marks them as “lost.” Also, if the other device users find it, the app sends an email and notification to all the users of that specific device, including the scanning details.
Top Features of a BLE Tracking App
1. Register Tracking Devices
The app allows users to register the devices in proximity with the users based on RSSI offered by the Bluetooth Low Energy tracking device.
2. Detect Tracker’s Location
The tracking devices’ brands arrive with an option to get linked with an Android phone via BLE technology. The service UUID recognizes the brand of the device with an ID based on the MAC address.
3. Assign Names to Different Tracking Devices
The users can assign names to their various tracking devices, such as purses, wallets, etc., that they have already registered with the app.
4. Get Notifications with Missing Items Found
If the app fails to track the location of the missing tracking device, the user can tap the “Notify ME” button to let the app notify him with a notification if that item is found. On clicking the notification, the users will get the details of the last location of the missing device on maps.
5. Smart Home Finding
The user can use his voice to find the missing things around his house. Some BLE tracking apps work with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to let users find their missing keys, remote, or anything. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to find the missing items, as hands-free findings lead to rapid findings.
Technologies That Can Be Used To Build Bluetooth Tracking Devices
Various technologies are used to embed in Bluetooth tracking devices to make them capable of tracking lost items.
1. Ultra-Wideband (UWB)
A short-range wireless communication protocol, Ultra-wideband uses high frequencies that can offer directional and spatial data; that’s why much is in use. It uses a large frequency signal of about 500 MHZ bandwidth and special readers. The broadcast of this technology is kept very low to restrict it from interfering with other uses.
Ultra-wideband holds the caliber to detect the devices within a few meters. It may seem like this technology will ultimately cover various wi-fi functionalities that may lead to interference and bandwidth problems if it’s also considered for device tracking.
Bluetooth is usually picked as one of the best technologies for tracking devices. It provides low-cost tags with extra long battery life, which makes them perfect for reusable assets. Bluetooth is read by various devices, even smartphones.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is considered a must-have technology for tracking devices, especially the companies that rely much on their assets.
From tracking airline luggage to enhancing security in retail stores, the caliber to link physical assets to asset tracking software emerged as a big revolution.
However, in Passive RFID, the readers are a bit expensive, but the chips cost just a few cents (that’s why they are used mostly for modern hotel keys).
Active RFID needs less reader technology, but the tags or chips are more expensive. That’s why these are generally used on important and large assets.
Narrowband Internet of Things Technology (NB-IoT) is used in data exchange and is a way that makes devices communicate with each other. It performs on a limited bandwidth compatible with 4G.
NB-IoT offers a long battery life and directly connects to the cell network. It means there’s no use of gateway devices, and tags can be read through a phone. Although tags are a little expensive, this technology is usually used for “smart” assets that don’t need separate tags to be purchased and attached to the assets.
Lately, Wi-Fi is not used much. But, one can use it in wi-fi asset tracking.
Wi-Fi tracking uses current WLAN infrastructure, which means the company doesn’t need to spend heavily on beacons, and more. However, wi-fi is generally not as efficient as the latest technologies.
However, ZigBee is a proprietary, low-power, wireless mesh network that is sometimes chosen for asset tracking. It’s mostly used for smart home and building where heavy communication and bandwidth is much needed.
Although, ZigBee is not more costly than a wi-fi network and can operate over various frequencies. ZigBee needs tags and devices compatible with the network protocol.
BLE Implementation Across Various Industry Verticals
BLE first stepped into the market when Microsoft launched its experimentation with BLE and facial recognition. The progress of BLE in other apps is incredible, attracting visitors and improving customer experience across varied verticals.
1. BLE-Equipped Retail Experience
The chief target of retailers has always been to magnetize more shoppers to their stores/property. Although, in the last few years, physical stores have emerged to bring something new and beneficial to their visitors.
The Use of Ble Is Transforming the Entire Retail Experience:
BLE showcases business promotions, including listing and offers at the right time and place to attract customers. Besides, it includes pulling more shoppers through in-store offers and location-based push marketing to drive purchase decisions and tracking customer analytics to help with better business decisions.
BLE has attained tremendous growth in customer engagement and advertisement space. Retailers need BLE-enabled POS machines to meet contactless payment needs.
After accomplishing the first transaction, retailers’ core aim is to make customers visit again. BLE move ahead with broadcasting offers to retarget customers when they go online.
2. BLE at Events & Stadiums
As we have read, BLE-enabled proximity marketing engages more and more customers in the stores.
However, in crowded spaces, security is at risk. Potential hackers use varied techniques to take control of your device easily.
So, to stop hacking without making BLE lose its functionality, people are using a secure VPN connection. It changes visitors’ IP addresses without changing the location and making the devices non-traceable to other verticals.
3. BLE in Real Estate
One of the verticals where businesses have lately raised their interest in using BLE technology to improve customer experience is real estate.
Realtors use BLE to promote their open-house events, catch leads by broadcasting details about their available properties, and, most essentially, share digital business cards.
Best BLE Tracking Apps
1. SmartThings Find App
SmartThing app helps you find your Galaxy devices from your tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches. Whether you forgot your Galaxy Note20 Ultra somewhere at home and can’t find it. The Find service of this app will keep your Galaxy devices safe.
SmartThings Find helps its users locate their lost devices. If a device stays offline for thirty minutes, BLE signals will be produced that other devices will receive. If you report your connected device as lost using Smartthings Find, any nearby Galaxy tablet or smartphone helps you find that device by alerting the Samsung server about its location, which will notify the user.
- Compatible Devices: Android v8 and above, for example, Galaxy mobile phones, Galaxy Watch3, Galaxy tablets, Watch Active2, Buds+, Buds Live, S Pen Pro, etc.
2. Tile – Find Lost Keys & Phone
Tile app helps you find your lost or misplaced things near or far away. Besides, you can add a Premium plan to experience a robust finding experience. Tile trackers are small and attach directly to your things. You just need to add your devices with the Tile app, and you are good to go. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate with your tracker devices.
- Compatible Devices: Android and iPhone Devices
3. Bluetooth BLE Device Finder
Now, you can use this app to find your Bluetooth devices quickly, but their battery runs out. You can find your lost AirPods, iPad, iPhone, AppleWatch, AirTag, and more. Besides, you may enable tracking for your devices in the background by turning the switch on your device. When it gets disconnected or lost, the app will notify you.
- Cost: Free; In-App Purchases
4. Chipolo – Find Your Everything
You first need to add the items (attached with trackers) you want to track. Next, whenever you lose your item, you can press the “Ring to Find” button on the Chipolo app. It will ring your phone; you just need to follow this sound to find your item.
- Cost: Free
- Trackers Available: Chipolo ONE key finder, Chipolo CARD wallet finder.
- Compatible Devices: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPads
5. Find My
Now, you can track the location of your Apple devices using the Find My application and share it with your family and friends in an easy-to-use and single app. Even if your device is in offline mode, you can track it using this app. You just need to tap the connected device name added to your app, and your app will play a sound.
- Cost: Free
- Compatible Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Existing Bluetooth Tracking Devices To Integrate With A BLE App
1. Apple AirTag
A damn easy way to keep track of your items is AirTag. It arrives with a one-tap setup that connects your AirTag, a tracking device, with your iPad or iPhone.
You just need to enter your device’s name, the AirTag, stick it to the item you want to track, and it will start performing its tracking job.
The AirTag doesn’t allow any unwanted tracking. If the AirTag of some other person finds its way into your items, your iPhone will get notified and send an alert. And later, if you still fail to find your item, the AirTag will start playing a sound that will let you know where it is.
2. Galaxy SmartTag
Bluetooth-powered Galaxy SmartTag can be attached to the items you want to track, like your bag, keys, wallet, and even your pet. When you misplace your stuff and are unable to find it, you just need to tap the ring button on your mobile device. It will produce a sound that you need to follow to reach the item lying nearby you. You can even set the volume of that sound also.
When you are offline, the Galaxy Find Network can use your scanned data to find your items for you privately. You just need to scroll the tracking history of your tag where it was last tracked.
Besides, you can control your IoT devices with just a click.
3. Tile Tracker
- Types of Tile Trackers Available: Pro, Mate, Slim, and Sticker
BLE tracker devices by Tile can help you find nearby and far away things. You just need to attach these tags to the items you want to track. After that, add that item to your Tile app. Tapping the “Find” button on your app, the green rings of the detector will start filling as you move close to your device. You can use your voice also to find the things around your home. Just ask Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to find your keys, remote, or anything else you want.
4. Chipolo One Spot
It’s a small gadget you can attach to keep track of your items, like keys, wallets, phones, etc. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy, BLE, to wirelessly connect to your mobile device and constantly transmit small data amounts to that device via the connection.
Steps To Develop a BLE Tracking App
Step 1# Prototyping & UX/UI Design
BLE app design has its specification like any other mobile app with a different niche. You need to consider various things while designing a Bluetooth Low Energy tracking app.
First, you need to connect new users with your app. As they are going to connect an external device with your app, a video with instructions would help your support staff and users to get on board.
Besides, you should enhance the user experience and pluck out the things that may annoy your users.
a) Seamless Error Handling
Simply put, you should show the errors that users find sensible, like you can show “reconnecting in the background” while trying to resolve the issues.
b) Precise Indication of What’s Going on in the App
As BLE-enabled apps depend on connectivity, the users should be permitted to instantly check whether the app is paired or not if trying to communicate with it.
c) Demand Minimal Settings
It may be compelling to deal with new software and hardware simultaneously. So, you can ease users’ lives by diminishing irrelevant clutter from your app.
Step 2# Web Application
This web application will assist users in updating firmware on all their Bluetooth Low Energy gadgets at once if it’s like a miniature OS performing on hardware and managing all operations. You need to keep it updated to make your BLE devices secure and fresh with new features.
You may also use the web app to rack the equipment and observe its status. Obviously, building such a web portal is usually recommended when you want to administer a cluster of BLE devices.
Step 3# Coding and Hardware Considerations
This step will demand the most time and effort. Before developing a BLE app to streamline coding, you should settle on a few important things.
Decide on Hardware You Will be Using
Your hardware choice will guide you through some essential aspects of BLE app development:
- Will the BLE app support phone’s proximity-sensing support?
- Will you be capable of transferring all the needed information offered to the hardware throughput?
- Will you be able to set up a long-range connection?
- These and other BLE mobile solution features will rely exclusively on hardware.
a) Pick Applicable BLE Libraries
Through this; you don’t need to start from scratch.
Some of the most used and famous libraries include:
The choice of libraries will depend on the mobile OS for which you want to develop a BLE app.
b) Implement Security BLE Recommendations Using Bluetooth Special Interest Group
The BSIG recommends following the security practices below when you build an app with BLE support:
- Use LE Security Mode 1 Level 4
- Use private resolvable addresses to safeguard the users’ privacy.
- Protect data on a sensor with authentication, encryption, and access permissions.
Step 4# Testing
One of the essential tasks of BLE app development is testing the app after the hardware chip becomes ready. In this case, you should use a BLE dongle that connects to simulator apps or a laptop, like LightBlue.
Step 5# Deployment
If your app is for internal use, you will need to share it using the Enterprise distribution model or Apple’s Ad Hoc. This way, you can specify devices authorized for usage with this BLE app.
Top Tips for BLE App Development
- Make your BLE app in such a way that it should ask for a notification whenever a device has new data.
- Scan until your app finds the appropriate device, and avoid using looped scanning.
- Scan using filters to quickly find the devices you want, like manufacturer ID, profile, etc.
- Set up transferable data’s optimal size to/from a BLE device.
- Protect the data flow between the BLE app and devices by implementing app-layer security.
Technology Stack for Developing BLE Tracking Apps
|Frontend (Website & Mobile Apps)||Backend (Website & Mobile Apps)|
|iOS & Android||.NetCore|
How Much Will It Cost to Develop a BLE Tracking App?
The cost of BLE app development chiefly depends on BLE devices and mobile apps and how well the technology can impact users on the site.
So, to build a BLE tracking app, like Tile, the cost may vary from $5000 to $30000.
How Emizentech Can Help You?
By hiring an app development company, you can accomplish your project with the expected outcomes within the prescribed time.
If you are busy with other valuable jobs in your business and looking for assistance to build a solution for you, you can hire expert app developers.
Connect with Emizentech, a leading mobile app development company with a team of professional developers experienced in delivering mobile app solutions worldwide.
Key Highlights of Emizentech
- Awarded by Clutch
- Offer Competitive Price
- Provide Expected Solutions
- Customize Solutions as Needed
- On-time Delivery
- Ensure Complete Data Security and Privacy
- Offer On-going Support and Maintenance
We hope our guide for BLE app development helped you understand everything relevant and essential to develop a BLE tracking app.
Just be sure you keep track of the effectiveness of this technology. You can make a huge difference among your competitors and attain your desired objectives easily.
Still, if you have any confusion or find it stressful to develop a BLE tracking app, you can leave everything on to a mobile app development company. It will guide you and help you attain your business needs.