Beacons use low-energy Bluetooth technology for broadcasting one-way signals. Bluetooth enabled devices within range like smartphones can receive those signals. There are two protocols used on beacons: iBeacon and Eddystone. Our beacons use Eddystone technology.
iBeacon technology was introduced by Apple in 2013 and requires you to download an app to use it. For example, if Joe's Market had iBeacons, you would have to download Joe's app to see them. As you walked around Joe's, the iBeacons would reach out and notify you of their presence. This is called "Push" technology. If you go to another location that has iBeacons, you will have to download their app to see their beacons.
Eddystone is an open beacon format that was introduced by Google in 2015. The term "open" means it can be implemented without restriction. It uses "Pull" technology which means you have to swipe down or open a Physical Web app to ask your phone if there are any beacons around you. You won't be bothered with constant notifications as you walk around. Also, you only have to download one app to see every beacon in the world that uses the technology.