Blesh's Bluetooth Beacons Take a Sneak Peek at Google's Physical Web

Blesh is supplying beacons designed to enable smartphones to receive and respond to beacon transmissions without requiring an app.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 06, 2015

Technology startup Blesh is offering beacons and a content-management systems (CMS) software development kit (SDK) to be used as part of a public project being undertaken with Google, known as the Physical Web (PW). Blesh is selling the beacons bundled with the SDK to give individuals a head-start on developing mobile apps and wearable or Internet of Things (IoT) technology for the PW technology that Google plans to integrate in its Android- and Chrome-based phones. When they finally become commercially available, PW-enabled devices will have the ability to read the beacons without requiring an app.

Google declined to comment for this story, indicating that it would make formal announcements once the system moves into full commercial release—that is, when it has Physical Web technology built into its phones. Until then, Blesh is offering the SDK, battery-powered beacons and a smartphone app for configuring its beacons, while Google employee Scott Jenson is promoting the Physical Web at the GitHub website, and is directing interested developers to contact Blesh to purchase the kit.

Blesh's Bluetooth beacons (right) can be configured and linked to a website, using the company's smartphone app (left).
Google intends the Physical Web to serve as an alternative to most existing beacon systems, which require that consumers download an app designed for a specific beacon deployment. Once the Physical Web is up and running, a consumer could simply bring a phone within range of a Blesh beacon at any public location, such as on a vending machine, smart poster or rental car, or on a toy. That individual would then be sent directly to a website.

Blesh, which operates headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, and an office in Palo Alto, Calif., was launched in 2012 to provide mobile technology solutions in which individuals received location-based content via Bluetooth-based micro-locating technology. This, says Ugur Gokdere, Blesh's CTO, was before Apple released its iBeacon Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) functionality in its iOS 7 system in 2013.

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