Support for Bluetooth Beacons for the Universal Windows Platform (Windows 10), including the Eddystone specification.
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README.md

Universal Bluetooth Beacon Library

Manage Bluetooth® Beacons through a cross-platform .NET Standard library. Get details for the open Eddystone™ Bluetooth beacon format from Google, as well as beacons comparable to Apple® iBeacon™. Supported on all platforms that are compatible to .NET Standard 1.3+ - including Windows 10, Xamarin (iOS, Android), Mac and Linux.

Directly use the received Bluetooth Low Energy Advertisement notifications from the base operating system and let the library take care of the rest for you. It extracts, combines and updates unique beacons, associated individual frames to the beacons and parses their contents - e.g., the beacon IDs, URLs or telemetry information like temperature or battery voltage.

NuGet Library Download | Windows 10 Example App Download

Background - Bluetooth Beacons

Bluetooth Low Energy / LE (BLE) allows objects to be discovered - for example, it enables your phone to connect to a heart rate belt or a headset. A Bluetooth Beacon does not connect to your phone; instead, it continuously transmits small amounts of data - no matter if someone is listening or not. The efficient nature of Bluetooth ensures that the battery of a beacon nevertheless lasts several months.

Phones and apps can react to Bluetooth Beacons - e.g., to trigger specific actions when the user is close to a physical location. In contrast to GPS, this works even indoors and has a much better accuracy.

To differentiate between different beacons and to give each one a unique meaning in your virtual world, beacons send out information packages. These are formatted according to a certain specification. While the general way of broadcasting these information packages is standardized by the Bluetooth Core specification, the beacon package contents are not. Platforms like Windows 10 come with APIs to receive Bluetooth LE advertisements, but does not contain an SDK to work with common beacon protocols.

The Universal Beacon Library

Provides an easy way for C#/.NET apps to manage beacons and to parse their information packages.

As a developer, you only have to feed the received Bluetooth advertisements into the library - it will analyze, cluster and parse the contents, so that you can easily access the latest data from each individual beacon.

Clustering is achieved through the Bluetooth address (MAC): the constant and regular advertisements of multiple beacons are matched to unique beacons.

The next step is analyzing the conents of the advertisement payloads. The library can work with data comparable to Apple iBeacon (Proximity Beacon) frames, as well as the open Eddystone specification, including three frame types that have been defined:

  • UID frames
  • URL frames
  • TLM (Telemetry) frames
  • EID frames

Instead of having to implement the specifications yourself and worry about encodings and byte orderings, you can directly access the latest available information through convenient classes and properties. For unknown frames of other beacon types, it's easy to extend the library to parse the payload in a derived beacon frame class and make use of the beacon management and information update features of the library.

Note: for using Apple iBeacon technology in your services (in order to make your services compatible to iOS devices), you need to agree to and comply with the Apple iBeacon license agreement.

Feature Overview

  • Directly analyzes received Bluetooth LE advertisements (e.g., BluetoothLEAdvertisementReceivedEventArgs for UWP apps)
  • Clusters based on Bluetooth MAC address and keeps frame types up to date with the latest information
  • Retrieve Bluetooth address (MAC), signal strength (RSSI) and latest update timestamp for each beacon
  • Parses individual advertisement frame contents
  • Eddystone UID frame:
    • Ranging data
    • Namespace ID
    • Instance ID
  • Eddystone Telemetry (TLM) frame:
    • Version
    • Battery [V]
    • Beacon temperature [°C]
    • Count of advertisement frames sent since power up
    • Time since power up
  • Eddystone URL frame:
    • Ranging data
    • Complete URL
  • Eddystone EID frame:
    • Ranging data
    • Ephemeral Identifier
  • Proximity Beacon Frames (comparable to the Apple iBeacon format)
    • Uuid
    • Major ID
    • Minor ID
  • Raw payload for all other beacons

Example Apps

The included example apps continuously scan for Bluetooth LE advertisements. They associate these with known or new Bluetooth MAC addresses to identify beacons. The individual advertisement frames are then parsed for known frame types - which are currently the three frame types defined by the Eddystone beacon format by Google, as well as Proximity Beacon frames (compatible to iBeacons).

The example app comes in two versions:

  1. WindowsBeacons: Universal Windows app (UWP) called Bluetooth Beacon Interactor. The app has been tested on Windows 10 tablets and phones and requires Bluetooth LE (BLE) capable hardware. Make sure your device has Bluetooth activated (in Windows settings and also in hardware in case your device allows turning off bluetooth using a key combination) and is not in airplane mode. Download and test the example app from the Windows 10 store: https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9NBLGGH1Z24K
  2. UniversalBeacon: Cross-Platform implementation with Xamarin. Core part in UniversalBeacon.Sample project. Platform-specific implementations in UniversalBeacon.Sample.Android and UniversalBeacon.Sample.UWP. iOS version is coming later. The Xamarin sample apps currently have a simpler UI than the UWP sample app.

Permissions and Privacy Settings in Windows 10

To allow apps to receive data from Bluetooth Beacons, you have to ensure Windows 10 is configured correctly.

  1. Turn off flight mode: Settings -> Network & Internet -> Flight mode
  2. Turn on Bluetooth: Settings -> Devices -> Bluetooth
  3. Turn on Device Sync: Settings -> Privacy -> Other devices -> Sync with devices (Example: beacons).

Usage example (C#)

Registering for beacons and handling the data (C#, UWP)

public sealed partial class MainPage : Page
{
	// Bluetooth Beacons
	private readonly BluetoothLEAdvertisementWatcher _watcher;

	private readonly BeaconManager _beaconManager;
	
	public MainPage()
	{
		// [...]
		// Construct the Universal Bluetooth Beacon manager
		var provider = new WindowsBluetoothPacketProvider();
		_beaconManager = new BeaconManager(provider);
		_beaconManager.BeaconAdded += BeaconManagerOnBeaconAdded;
		_beaconManager.Start();
	}
	
	// Call this method e.g., when tapping a button
	private void BeaconManagerOnBeaconAdded(object sender, Beacon beacon)
	{
		Debug.WriteLine("\nBeacon: " + beacon.BluetoothAddressAsString);
		Debug.WriteLine("Type: " + beacon.BeaconType);
		Debug.WriteLine("Last Update: " + beacon.Timestamp);
		Debug.WriteLine("RSSI: " + beacon.Rssi);
		foreach (var beaconFrame in beacon.BeaconFrames.ToList())
		{
			// Print a small sample of the available data parsed by the library
			if (beaconFrame is UidEddystoneFrame)
			{
				Debug.WriteLine("Eddystone UID Frame");
				Debug.WriteLine("ID: " + ((UidEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).NamespaceIdAsNumber.ToString("X") + " / " +
								((UidEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).InstanceIdAsNumber.ToString("X"));
			}
			else if (beaconFrame is UrlEddystoneFrame)
			{
				Debug.WriteLine("Eddystone URL Frame");
				Debug.WriteLine("URL: " + ((UrlEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).CompleteUrl);
			}
			else if (beaconFrame is TlmEddystoneFrame)
			{
				Debug.WriteLine("Eddystone Telemetry Frame");
				Debug.WriteLine("Temperature [°C]: " + ((TlmEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).TemperatureInC);
				Debug.WriteLine("Battery [mV]: " + ((TlmEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).BatteryInMilliV);
			}
			else if (beaconFrame is EidEddystoneFrame)
			{
				Debug.WriteLine("Eddystone EID Frame");
				Debug.WriteLine("Ranging Data: " + ((EidEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).RangingData);
				Debug.WriteLine("Ephemeral Identifier: " + BitConverter.ToString(((EidEddystoneFrame)beaconFrame).EphemeralIdentifier));
			}
			else if (beaconFrame is ProximityBeaconFrame)
			{
				Debug.WriteLine("Proximity Beacon Frame (iBeacon compatible)");
				Debug.WriteLine("Uuid: " + ((ProximityBeaconFrame)beaconFrame).UuidAsString);
				Debug.WriteLine("Major: " + ((ProximityBeaconFrame)beaconFrame).MajorAsString);
				Debug.WriteLine("Major: " + ((ProximityBeaconFrame)beaconFrame).MinorAsString);
			}
			else
			{
				Debug.WriteLine("Unknown frame - not parsed by the library, write your own derived beacon frame type!");
				Debug.WriteLine("Payload: " + BitConverter.ToString(((UnknownBeaconFrame)beaconFrame).Payload));
			}
		}
	}
}

Availability

The Core Universal Beacon Library is available in C# for .NET Standard 1.3 - it is therefore compatible to Windows UWP, Xamarin (Android / iOS / UWP / Mac / Linux) and other platforms supported by .NET Standard. Extension libraries are currently included for UWP and Xamarin/Android to interface with the platform Bluetooth APIs.

To keep up to date, either watch this project or follow me on Twitter.

Installation

If you want to use the Universal Beacon Library from your own app, the easiest option is to use the NuGet package manager in Visual Studio 2015 to automatically download & integrate the library:

  1. Tools -> NuGet Package Manager -> Manage NuGet Packages for Solution...
  2. Search "Online" for "Universal Bluetooth Beacon Library"
  3. Install the library.

Alternatively, use the NuGet Package Manager console as described here: https://www.nuget.org/packages/UniversalBeaconLibrary

To try the Xamarin (Android / UWP) or Windows 10 (UWP) example apps, download the complete library package from this site.

Version History

3.2.0 - August 2017

3.1.0 - August 2017

  • Improve events provided by cross-platform interop code to surface more events to the custom app implementation. Based on these improvements, the UWP example app now again correctly displays status and error messages.
  • Adds BeaconAdded event to the BeaconManager class
  • Updated sample code to also include handling Proximity Beacon frames (iBeacon compatible)
  • UWP Sample app handles additional Bluetooth error status codes

3.0.0 - August 2017

  • Port from UWP to .NET Standard 1.3, for cross platform compatibility to Windows, Linux, Mac and Xamarin (iOS, Android)
  • Library split into core .NET Standard library, plus platform extension libraries for Android and UWP
  • New Xamarin example app for Android and UWP
  • Some code changes needed to update from the previous to this version!
  • New collaborator: Chris Tacke, https://github.com/ctacke

2.0.0 - April 2017

1.8.1 - February 2016

  • Use sbyte instead of byte for accessing ranging data in Eddystone UID and URL frames to ease development and remove the need for manual casting.

1.7.0 - January 2016

  • Added translations to Chinese, French, Russian and Portuguese

1.6.0 - January 2016

  • Added translation to German
  • Fix crash when a Bluetooth Beacon with no further data is found.

1.5.0 - December 2015

  • Allow last two bytes of the Eddystone UID frame to be 0x00 0x00 for RFU, according to the specification. Some beacons do not send these bytes; the library now allows both variants. When creating a UID record, the library will now add the two additional bytes to conform to the spec.

1.4.0 - December 2015

  • Fix black window background color in example app on latest Windows 10 Mobile version

1.3.0 - September 2015

  • Example app allows clearing visible information

1.2.0 - August 2015

  • Improvements in naming and Eddystone references

1.1.0 - August 2015

  • Manually construct Eddystone TLM & UID frames

1.0.0 - August 2015

  • Initial release
  • Works with received Bluetooth advertisements from the Windows 10 Bluetooth LE API
  • Combines individual received frames based on the Bluetooth MAC address to associate them with unique beacons
  • Support for parsing Google Eddystone URL, UID and TLM frames

Status & Roadmap

The Universal Bluetooth Beacon library is classified as stable release and is in use in several projects, most importantly Bluetooth Beacon Interactor for Windows 10.

Any open issues as well as planned features are tracked online: https://github.com/andijakl/universal-beacon/issues

License & Related Information

The library is released under the Apache license and is partly based on the Eddystone™ specification, which is also released under Apache license - see the LICENSE file for details. iBeacon™ is a Trademark by Apple Inc. Bluetooth® is a registered trademarks of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.

The example application is licensed under the GPL v3 license - see LICENSE.GPL for details.

Developed by Andreas Jakl and Chris Tacke https://twitter.com/andijakl https://www.andreasjakl.com/

Library homepage on GitHub: https://github.com/andijakl/universal-beacon

Library package on NuGet: https://www.nuget.org/packages/UniversalBeaconLibrary

You might also be interested in the NFC / NDEF library: https://github.com/andijakl/ndef-nfc