Eddystone-URL and Physical Web: All You Need to Know

You already know that Estimote Beacons broadcast short identifiers over Bluetooth and phones in the range can read them. If there's an app installed on the phone and it knows what do in the range of a specific beacon, it will prompt an action. Eddystone-URL works the same, except beacons broadcast a short URL instead of the identifier, and the app is a web browser that can display nearby URLs to users. This technology is called Physical Web, and it's developed by Google.

Below, you will learn:

  • how does it work
  • what you need to get started
  • how to set it up
  • what your URL should look like.

How does it work?

Estimote Beacon broadcasts an Eddystone-URL packet with a link you've set up. Smartphone in the range "hears the packet" and a Physical-Web compatible browser detects and displays the link. When you are in the range of the beacon the link will be displayed in your smartphone's notification center. The awesome part about this is that you don't need to build an app! It's already built into Chrome on Android and iOS, and more browsers will likely support it in the future.

Another good thing about Eddystone-URL and Physical Web is that it won't bombard the user with a notification every time they're in range of a beacon. You don't want to spam users and make them disable Bluetooth or Physical Web. Instead, it provides subtle suggestions in form of low-priority notifications that don't buzz the phone on Android, and in a widget on iOS

What you need to get started

  • Beacons: all Estimote Beacons along with Estimote Stickers support Eddystone-URL.
  • Mobile device with Bluetooth Low Energy support.
  • Physical Web compatible browser installed on the mobile device.

Setting up

1. Enable Eddystone-URL packet on the Estimote Beacon

  • Open the Estimote app and log in
  • Go to "Devices"
  • Connect to the beacon by tapping on it in the Radar or List view.
  • Choose the 'Packets' field
  • Tap the packet you'd like the beacon to broadcast
  • Tick 'Enable'

In the Android version of the Estimote app, just scroll down the list of a beacon's details to enable the packet of your choice. You can also do it via Estimote Cloud. Pick a beacon, click "Edit Settings", and go to the preferred packet on the sidebar to the left to enable it.Connect to the beacon in the app to apply the change.

2. Download a browser

Browsers you can currently use with Eddystone-URL include:

We recommend going with Chrome: it's installed on Android devices by default and proves to be a good option for iOS smartphones, too.

3. Enable Physical Web in the browser

It shouldn't take long! We've described the whole process here: Eddystone-URL: how to enable Physical Web in Chrome?

We recommend Setting up the Physical Web in Chrome from Google, it will walk you through the process in details for both platforms.

4. Broadcast your own link

Now you can set up your own link. You can do it in the Estimote app the same way you've enabled the packet. Tap on the packet, type the URL you want to broadcast, and you are good to go! You can do it via the Estimote Cloud and in that case, make sure you apply the change by connecting to your beacon with Estimote app afterward. Your link should meet several requirements to be saved and, later, displayed. More on that below.

URL: what should the link look like?

With Physical Web, the format of the URL matters. Make sure you link is:

Not too long
Eddystone protocol provides 17 bytes for the URL packet. Most of the times, you'd need a URL shortener.

URLs must be public. If the page is not accessible from the Internet (e.g. it requires authentication or is only accessible from an internal network), it will not appear in the list of results.

All URLs must resolve to an HTTPS URL. Google requires all Physical Web pages be served over HTTPS due to security considerations. You may use a URL shortener that generates HTTP URLs as long as the shortened URL resolves to an HTTPS URL.

Finally, you can use Physical Web URL Validator to verify your link.

is this available on safari on iOS as that is the default browser?


In the IOS Chrome version there is no physical web version anymore. (cant find it in the settings, privacy option)
How about the Royalty Gem company? They advertising that you can receive notifications in about 100 yards from the beacon and that ONLY the people that already have enabled Bluetooth receive the notifications. That would be great it looks for now that people need to manually have to switch on things before they can receive notifications. They using another brand beacon. (are those beacons smarter or did they changed the software that way that it’s enough to have ONLY Bluetooth on for receiving notifications?) Another question let`s say i configure the beacon to receive only the eddystone url and grab 100 random (only android users) from the street and they already got their Bluetooth on, how many people by average wil see my url or message?

Hey there! Royaltie Gems are a third party, not associated with Estimote in any way aside from using beacon technology. They’re reselling a competing brand of beacon that broadcast an Eddystone URL.

Our Location beacons do the same thing with our Here&Now software. It’s built on top of Eddystone URL, but even better. Why? Because of our unique technology, we are able to report specific analytics… not only link clicks, but also “impressions,” an estimation of how many people have seen the links. You can control the whole experience through our dashboard.

I highly recommend you give our beacons and Here&Now technology a try. Our beacons are the most superior product on the market with up to 200 meters of range, enhanced conditional broadcasting for extra long battery life, and of course, our killer software features like Here&Now, analytics, security, and powerful fleet management tools.

Hi i already got two estimote beacons conifgured as eddystone-url on my phone. I see the links but when try to test the statistics that doesn’t work and the her and now doesnt work either and also to 200 meters doesn’t work also. I only can set this op to max 70 meters does estimote got also bluetooth 5 beacons same as other company? I hop estimote can make som nice videotutorials for the non developers how to start with eddystone’s and to simply how you can use them.
My login info in the portal is info@ddmarketing.nl. thank you