Bluetooth beacons versus tags

What is the difference between a Bluetooth beacon and a Bluetooth tag? A beacon is permanently mounted while the tag is on moving objects. Beacons are used to assist indoor navigation for smartphones. Tags are used to track items by industrial tracking solutions. But there is even more to it - read on to get to know more.

For the uninitiated, it can seem confusing to sometimes talk about beacons and sometimes tags. What is the difference between a beacon and a tag? It's all simple! A beacon is permanently mounted while the tag is attached to a moving object.

tag/beacon being attached

Beacons were first born. Beacons are mainly used to help smartphones with indoor navigation. Here there are a couple of big standards to lean on.

CargoBeacon has used beacons since the start to track material and to link sensor data to material flows. Hence beacons for cargo are called tags. Since our solution today also use beacons to improve indoor positioning for smartphones, we are consistent and call things by their proper names. Tags are tags and beacons are beacons.

Tags typically use proprietary advertisement formats to include more data, such as sensor-data and battery information etc. Beacons typically advertise either in Ibeacon format (Apple) or the Eddystone format (Google).

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Modified: January 31, 2022

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