Tuya uses Bluetooth to add location services

  • August 4, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Chinese IoT cloud platform Tuya Smart has launched Tuya Beacon that uses Bluetooth to add location-based services to smart devices.

The Bluetooth Beacon is one of Bluetooth LE’s communication mechanisms that can send specific, continuous broadcast signals to any nearby mobile devices. The Beacon relies on Bluetooth LE to create short-pulse wireless connections and broadcast to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously.

Bluetooth LE is a wireless personal area network designed for applications requiring low energy consumption in healthcare, fitness, beacons, security and home entertainment.

The Tuya Beacon, based on Bluetooth LE, is a lightweight and secure protocol designed to improve device pairing and unpairing, grouping and group management, encryption and decryption, security policies and more. It is suitable for applications such as smart homes, outdoor courtyards, fitness and healthcare, and smart businesses, particularly in smart home lighting and sensor systems. With its connection to Tuya Cloud, Tuya Beacon helps developers and brands integrate and control location-based smart devices.

Products adopting the Tuya Beacon protocol can join Powered by Tuya, an industry-wide IoT ecosystem that empowers over 310,000 product SKUs. Powered by Tuya labelled products can interact with each other on one app, regardless of brand or product category. These products can also incorporate Tuya Smart’s gateways and composite gateway products, access voice control platforms such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and potentially link or interact with other products in the ecosystem.

Tuya Beacon provides an improved user experience by rapidly completing configurations in three to five seconds. Moreover, users can control devices on their smartphones rather than relying on routers or gateways.

Tuya Beacon-enabled chips are said to be cheaper than dual-mode chip models supporting both wifi and Bluetooth LE, allowing users to enjoy smart connectivity features at a lower cost. The chips provide an alternative for product developers to overcome the current increases in chip prices.

At home, Tuya Beacon’s signal broadcasting lets individual beacons connect and communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, giving users the freedom to customise their home IoT network. By supporting group control, a node can belong to eight groups simultaneously, and allow up to 254 groups across a single smart home.

Tuya Beacon-enabled lights can support controlling light brightness, colour temperature and light colour. Users can also set specific lighting scenes, pair lighting to music rhythm, set lighting timers and alarm clocks, and control their lights with Beacon Bluetooth remote controls.

Other home products such as thermostats, temperature sensors and home scales can also be digitised with Tuya Beacon. Backyard devices, which are not often covered by home wifi networks, can be controlled with one button. Backyard lighting such as ground lights, floodlights, string lights, wall lights and sensors can all be controlled and combined in custom lighting scenes and lighting schedules.

Tuya Beacon also enables applications for smart businesses, public facilities and more to provide location-based services with compatible software and apps. For instance, when shoppers enter a grocery store, using the store app they can elect to receive notifications for the exact location of products they want to buy and receive up to date discount announcements for that particular store.

At public facilities, Tuya Beacon can support apps to provide services such as locating where a visitor parked their car in a parking lot, tourist site positioning and guidance, mobile guided museum exhibit tours, and location-based information at airports.

Tuya Smart has established partnerships with chip manufacturers such as JieLi, All Link Microelectronics and OnMicro to launch Tuya Beacon-enabled chips and products for developers. Developers can independently create products on the IoT platform.

In partnership with Chinese smart lighting vendor Red100, Tuya Smart has integrated the Beacon protocols into its co-branded international IoT module products line. Using this range of products, Tuya says it is continuing its mission to build and expand its IoT developer ecosystem.