Bleam – the technology that turned Bluetooth upside down

RuuviTags and Bleam

Since their first appearance Bluetooth beacons were always advertising and phones were scanning for beacons in a particular location. This is the most straightforward and traditional scheme of work that has its gains when it comes to power consumption, but in the meantime it has a lot of shortcomings when it comes to user experience, speed and security.

It wouldn’t be correct to say that these issues remain unsolved until today. In 2016 Google introduced Physical Web that later became Google Beacon platform. It has made a breakthrough in user experience, but it has been utilising the traditional communication scheme enabled by Eddysdtone beacons, that’s why it had a limited usage scenario and eventually was deprecated by Google on April 1st 2021.

Connax was the next one who picked up the ball with the introduction of Bleam Scanner protocol. By making it, Connax proposed a totally new scheme of work.

What’s a new communication scheme that was proposed by Connax in the Bleam Scanner? – It’s when beacons and mobile phones are switching their roles: beacons become more intelligent by scanning the space nearby and usage of mobile phones becomes more flexible, secure and energy-efficient by only performing advertising tasks. It enables longer and steadier usage of mobile phone Bluetooth in the background. This design approach has many potential applications in payments, location, access, identity, gaming and many others.

What does it mean in practice? – The locations around us can become much smarter than now by adopting and utilising Bleam technologies. For the end users it means that they can drive or walk up and use anything in a frictionless manner by just having a phone along. For the businesses it means that they can now broadcast their service to everyone with their app and provide it in an automatic, frictionless manner.

How does Bleam work?

Bleam is currently enabled by Ruuvi beacons that can be easily purchased. Bleam Scanner software installation is the next step – in order to function properly beacons should use Bleam Scanner protocol. Then beacons are being installed near the service location eg. PoS terminal, station or kiosk. Bleam also provides its own mobile SDKs (iOS, Android) to enable frictionless payment initiation, but you can always create your own. That is the beauty of open source Bleam Scanner.

Already now Bleam Scanner solves multiple problems with background advertising in iOS, error logging, time and synchronisation. It has the potential to solve even more and also replace outdated Bluetooth mesh communication protocols with a much smarter alternative. Connax team works hard to take Bleam vision even further with all developments around beacon power consumption, speed, security etc. and welcomes everyone who’s willing to contribute, adopt and utilise Bleam Scanner for own needs. There are already three versions of Bleam Scanner protocol, two most recent of them are available on GitHub:

Bleam Scanner 2 – is a basic version of Bleam Scanner protocol that supports most common Nordic Semiconductor hardware: nRF52840 and nRF52832 it also supports RuuviTag by default. 

In Bleam Scanner 3 – we’ve added stronger security, improved algorithms and support for nRF51 boards wrapped in refactored source code.

Bleam Scanner 4 – is coming with better code and wider hardware support, including nRF52811 supporting Bluetooth 5.1. It will be released during Fall 2021, follow our news by clicking the link below. 

More information on how to join the Bleam Scanner project can be found here →