Beacons’ History

We all know beacon as a small Bluetooth radio transmitter. So, a beacon is designed to attract attention to a specific location, exactly like a lighthouse that helps boats to locate in the dark.

But do you know why it’s called Beacon and how these beacons were used long before Indoor Navigation?


Well, originally Beacons were used in different ways. Beacons were first fires lit at well-known locations on hills or high places for signaling that enemies were approaching. Used as a communication channel in part of relay leagues, sometimes represented in hut form, sometimes as lighthouses for navigation at sea, beacons are in some ways the ancestor of the telegraph which is itself the ancestor of modern smartphones.


You have many examples of beacons usages in history. In Spain, for example, the border of Granada had a complex beacon network to warn against military campaigns. The ancient Romans used beacons on several occasions on the column of Trajan. In Scandinavia, many hills forts were part of beacon networks to warn against invading pillagers and in Finland these beacons were called Vartiotulet which literally means ‘’guard fires’’. Their importance was such that in England many hills were named Beacon Hill.

You have surely seen former beacons in famous movies like The Lord of the Rings, where a series of beacons alerts the entire realm of Gondor when the kingdom is under attack.

Today beacons are used on vehicles to attract the attention of surrounding people. It’s only in 2013 that Apple launches the iBeacon which will be the beginning of all the Indoor Navigation technology and which allows our GoIndoor solution to be so efficient.

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