SquareALL BlindSquare iBeacons - the journey continues iBeacon SoftwareCan you explain the Google Sheet used to configure iBeacons?

Can you explain the Google Sheet used to configure iBeacons?

We use, at this time, a collection of products to gather and distribute data from authors to BlindSquare users using a technology collectively known as Beacon Positioning Systems (BPS).  MyBeacon² is one of a suite of products used in the SquareAll umbrella of products.

We use Google docs, in this case Google Sheets to manage iBeacon data, for the following reasons:

  1. It’s nimble and can be used on all platforms
  2. Most are familiar with spreadsheets operations
  3. The power of spreadsheets is well used to ensure data remains organized, abilities to copy/paste cells/rows, etc.
  4. As provided by the link, the Google Sheet contents are read only.  To edit the sheet there are two requirements.  1. You must be logged in to your google account (to validate who you are and the rights attendant) 2. You must have edit rights assigned by the first-author.  
  5. To login, use the link “Sign In” (should be two tabs from Home)

        Note: the use-behavior of Google Sheets for Screen Reader Users is better with FireFox.
        PC users have greater success with NVDA than Jaws
  6. There is only one instance of the Google Sheet, cloud based.  Changes to the content is live.  When multiple users are simultaneously using the Google Sheet the changes of one will be shown immediately on the other.
  7. Google Sheets provide for shared comments, specific to the document.

Field ID - NUM, Lat and Long

Reserved for future use

Field ID - UUID

UUID, an acronym for Universally Unique Identifier.  It contains 32 hexadecimal digits, split into 5 groups, separated by dashes.  The UUID used for BlindSquare is:


This will be used exclusively on all iBeacons and should not be changed.

The UUID is standard identifying system which allows a 'unique' number to be generated for a device (or in the case of iBeacons, manufacturer, application or owner).  The purpose of the ID is to distinguish beacons in your network, from all other beacons in networks outside your control. By default you will be assigned only one UUID when ordering Beacons, which is linked to your account.

Technically an organization can use multiple UUIDs if needed, for example to identify venues in different locations or to identify different business units.

The UUID can also be used to define response behavior from the device.  Currently the UID we’re using will cause the device to indicate the presence of a beacon on the screen-saver page as an icon. Selecting this icon will load the Kontakt.io application.  This can be trained to invoke other applications such as a link to the iTunes store to download BlindSquare or move directly to BlindSquare as examples.

The UUID, combined with Major and Minor values forms the Advertising Packets continuously broadcast by the Beacon (by default, every 350ms)

Link to detailed information about iBeacon Parameters.

Link to detailed information about packet structure.


ACTIVE is a state flag.

Value =  1 indicates to BlindSquare to act when advertised iBeacon is detected.

Value = 0  indicates to BlindSquare to ignore when advertised iBeacon is detected.

Field ID - MAJOR

Major is the second component of the iBeacon advertisement.  The number provided must match the value advertised by the beacon.  This value can be determined in the beacon managing app or website. There is no practical reason to alter the supplied value.

Field ID - MINOR

Minor is the third (and last) component of the Beacon.  The number provided must match the value advertised by the IBeacon.  This value can be determined in the beacon managing app or website. There is no practical reason to alter the supplied value.

Link to detailed information about iBeacon Parameters.

Field ID - DESCR (description)

The “Descr” field, or “Description” is used to provide an informative description for the Google Sheet user. This data is NOT used by BlindSquare.  

Best Practice: Use this field to describe the use of this specific beacon as installed, how it’s powered, a cross-reference to the 4 digit code provided on the underside of the beacon under the QRCode.

Field ID - Actions

ACTIONS - A new feature started in 3.4.2.

Provides controls for BlindSquare's management of the Beacon Environment.  Details pending release <March 2016>.

Field ID - FLOOR, Group, ID and NEXT_ID

Reserved for future version


Heading value will describe the compass bearing (in degrees) of the device when it enters the beacon cloud.  If blank, BlindSquare will respond when entering or exiting the Beacon cloud.  

If blank, BlindSquare will respond irrespective of compass bearing.

If a single number, in the range 0-365 is provided, BlindSquare will automatically provide for a range 45 degrees on either side of the supplied number.   Example, providing a value of "0" is equivalent to the heading range 315-45 (or North North West to North North East)

If provided as a range:

  • A range from absolute north to absolute east would be described as 0-90 degrees.
  • A range should be supplied as you would travel clockwise around the compass rose(1).  For  example, if you wanted a range for "anywhere northerly" you would provide 270-90.   Providing 90-270 would be interpreted as "anywhere southerly".
  • The practical limit is 40 degree increments.    
  • The larger the range, the more “forgiving”.
    • For example, if you intend to use a single iBeacon to provide a welcome message when entering a building and a farewell message when exiting it could be setup as follows:
      • Presuming the entrance of the building is compass north.  
      • A range can be provided to include ANY direction that is approximately north, in this case a range of 270-90.  A range can be provided for the exiting from the building (now traveling south) as 90-270.  

Each heading range must be provided in a NEW row in the spreadsheet.  This can be a copy/paste as all other information should be equal (UUID/Major/Minor, etc.)

A practical example of Headings would be to alter the response from BlindSquare, while within a iBeacon cloud, based on the direction the device (or person) is facing.  This allow a single iBeacon to provide many messages based on direction.  Face North, one message.  Face West, another message.  Face South, another message.  Face East, another message.  

CAUTION: The compass bearing is magnetic north.  The correlation to compass bearing and building layout needs to be considered.  Secondly, the compass heading, in real time is available, in the GPS information page in BlindSquare.  The entire GPS information can be shared via email, text message, clipboard – etc.)


Reserved for future version

Field ID - TYPE

The Type field will define the response behavior of the iBeacon.  Each type will have a unique sound associated.  For example, the type

  • “Stairs up” will prefix the message with an ascending tone
  • “Stairs down” will prefix the message with a descending tone

Available types include:

  • art
  • bridge
  • bus
  • business
  • cafe
  • corridor
  • dogsafe
  • e-car (note special handing, causes background sound to be played, for 30 seconds, that increases in pulse-frequency as e-car approaches) e-car = electric car, intentional warning of approach
  • elevator
  • entrance
  • escalator
  • escalator down
  • escalator up
  • exit
  • furniture
  • info
  • mailbox
  • obstacle
  • person
  • ramp
  • silent
  • stairs
  • stairs down
  • stairs up
  • stop
  • suitcase
  • taxi
  • train
  • vlm
  • washroom

Note, some Types are intentionally generic.  

For all types except for “bus or e-car” there is an intentional short delay to ignore stray advertisements.   iBeacon advertisements are “radio” and, as such, subject to all the normal factors that interferes or interrupts “the perfect circle”.  The short delay eliminates false-positives. In the case of the type “bus or e-car”, we’ll err on the side of caution and alert on first detection.


Static/Moving further identifies the status of the iBeacon.

  • “Static” indicates a stationary (fixed) location.
  • “Moving” indicates the beacon is mobile and could be temporarily moving or temporarily static.



Enter Exit identifies the process response for the record when Entering an iBeacon cloud or Exiting an iBeacon cloud.


The approximate distance, expressed in meters (1 meter = ~39 inches or slightly more than an imperial yard), within which BlindSquare will respond.

If blank, or a very large number (ie, 99) BlindSquare will respond when the iBeacon advertisement is found.   As the definition of the cloud (Bluetooth radio) is irregular the precision of this number is approximate.  It is, however, a good tool as a coarse-filter when the design calls for a response from BlindSquare only when in close proximity to the iBeacon.


Repeat interval secs: provides the option to repeat the message every N seconds.

The repeating of the message ONLY applies to ENTER events.

If this field is blank, messaging will be one time.

NOTE:  All other conditions apply.  In the event the device:

  • turns to a new heading associated with another record for the current iBeacon
  • exits the current iBeacon cloud (if an exit record is provided)
  • enters a new iBeacon cloud


Message EN: defines the first ENGLISH message to be spoke (text to speech).  This message will be read whether the device is stationary or mobile, following all the conditions prescribed in this record.

Message EN 2: <Optional> defines the second ENGLISH message to be spoken (text to speech).  This message will be read ONLY when the device is stationary.
The design intention is to provide additional detailed information, but only at a time when the device owner wants it.  Example, when walking down a hotel hallway, Message 1 might indicate the presence of a bank of elevators.  If the walker is not interested in the elevators, the journey continues. If the walker IS interested in the elevator they can request the secondary information by a) shaking the device in response to the TONE played at the end of Message 1 or by pressing the "REWIND" button on the ear-bud controls or BlueTooth remote control.

In this example, it could provide additional information about the elevators, how many there are, if there are some elevators for certain ranges of floors, etc..  This second level of detail is provided only on-request to avoid "over providing" information.