Beacons are generally available as stand-alone devices using specialized hardware. With the MacBeacon app you can turn any Mac running OS X 10.9 or higher and equipped with built-in or third party Bluetooth 4.0 support into your own, fully-configurable, proximity beacon.
MacBeacon allows you to create a list of beacon profiles that you can easily adjust and switch between. In addition to providing the full functionally of a proximity beacon for your own use, the ability to create and maintain multiple profiles makes MacBeacon a very effective tool for developing and testing proximity solutions with iBeacon technology for your organization and your customers.
MacBeacon is divided into two views, with the Beacon List shown on the left and the Beacon Detail shown on the right.
The Beacon List view is a table of the beacon profiles that you have currently defined. You can add and remove beacon profiles using the + and - buttons. Modifications and changes to the beacon profiles are done through the Beacon Detail view.
The Beacon Detail view displays the operational status and profile details of each beacon when you select that beacon from the Beacon List view. The Beacon Detail view also provides you a button for turning the beacon on and off.
Each beacon profile contains the operational parameters for that beacon. You can add, remove and change beacon profiles, but you must always have at least 1 profile defined. The operational parameters contained in a beacon profile are:
Major – The group identifier that will be transmitted by the beacon. Group identifiers must be a decimal value between 0 and 65535.
Minor – The individual identifier that will be transmitted by the beacon. Individual identifiers must be a decimal value between 0 and 65535.
Power – The power value for the beacon. This value is adjustable to allow calibration of the beacon. The value reflects the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) value (measured in decibels) for the device, and represents the measured strength of the beacon from one meter away during ranging.
MacBeacon ships with 4 default beacon profiles. Three of these profiles come from the Apple AirLocate sample app which is available to registered Apple iOS developers as an introduction into developing proximity apps that are compatible with iBeacon microlocation technology. The fourth is the Radius Networks Demo beacon profile which is used in sample applications made available by Radius Networks.
Turning Beacons On and Off
You can turn a beacon on and off by either double clicking on a beacon in the Beacon List or by selecting the beacon from the list and clicking the Turn Beacon On key to enable the beacon or the Turn Beacon Off key to disable the beacon. Only one beacon can be enabled at a time.
Operational status for each beacon is shown by the status indicator and at the left of each beacon name and the status label just below each beacon name in the Beacon List. Each beacon can be in one of three major states.
- Beacon On: Represented by a GREEN status indicator
- Beacon Off: Represented by a GREY status indicator
- Beacon Error: Represented by a RED status indicator
The Beacon Error state indicates a problem with the Mac’s Bluetooth services. In the event of a Beacon Error, please check that your Mac supports Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy) and that Bluetooth is turned on in the System Preferences.