When we at Link Labs talk with operations executives about locating their assets indoors, the concerns we hear the most pertain to the accuracy, reliability, and data usage of various solutions. Two location methods come up time and again: GPS and Bluetooth indoor positioning.
However, in some use cases, this level of precision may be sufficient. An RTLS solution with poor accuracy and reliability will almost certainly result in frustration and inefficiency. GPS as we have come to know it is rarely ever reading alone, so to speak; smartphones in particular use a variety of additional inputs to identify a location—Wi-Fi sniffing, cellular information, etc. And these additional inputs are relied upon heavily indoors.
This is primarily because GPS signals on their own are not powerful enough to penetrate deeply into buildings and provide reliable asset tracking indoors. Moreover, GPS devices require another network for transmitting the coordinates determined by the device.
Commonly, this will be a cellular or Wi-Fi network, but for asset tracking applications, these backhaul methods can be expensive, unreliable, or both. However, if you need to track to a specific chariot, even these GPS-enhancing technologies are unlikely to meet your needs. As an alternative to GPS, by calculating location on the device and reporting that to the gateway, a smart Bluetooth Low Energy BLE beacon can provide greater accuracy. And the use of BLE also elegantly solves the backhaul challenge.
The way Link Labs implements indoor positioning accuracy is by increasing the density of BLE beacons in an area. This is the same with other power-level-based technologies: The more data inputs there are to the location algorithm, the higher the precision will be.
So you wind up having great coverage in equipment rooms and poor or no coverage in bathrooms, for example. The hidden cost of data usage comes in the overhead of the internet protocol stack—what might otherwise be a 10 byte location update message to the network becomes a 1 kilobyte byte message.
The hidden cost of data is pushed onto customers in systems that use the available Wi-Fi networks. But if cellular networks are being used for backhaul, the number of connections each with their own fees and the amount of data being sent can make or break a use case.
When compared to cellular-connected GPS devices, our approach to indoor positioning also has a major data cost advantage. This network, using our Symphony Link protocol, uses a star-within-a-star network topology to aggregate data to a small number of connections. Many BLE devices can talk with each of our access points, and a gateway can talk to many access points.ArcGIS Blog.
Or you may have noticed these small funny objects mounted on walls inside a building and wondered what they were. Well, you have come to the right place as today we will demystify Beacons. As the name suggests, they are small radio transmitters, sending out Bluetooth signals to mobile devices in their vicinity.
BLE is only activated when a connection is established, otherwise it will remain in sleep mode. Moreover, while regular Bluetooth can handle big amounts of data but uses up a lot more energy, Bluetooth Low Energy is typically used when only a small amount of data needs to be transmitted.
BLE Beacon mounted on an office wall to enable real-time indoor wayfinding. They are sending out Bluetooth Low Energy signals, transmitting information about their position. These radio signals have a unique ID number and are sent out in regular intervals, i.
The range of a Beacon can vary from meters. They then send the ID connected to the signal to the Cloud. As soon as a mobile application recognizes the BLE signal from the Beacons, the event associated with the Beacon is triggered. This could, for instance, be a push notification that is sent to the smartphone, e. Storing the data in the cloud helps keep the app light and fast and makes it easy to change the content or action connected to the Beacon signal.
There are several different technologies on the market today that enable indoor positioning and mobile indoor wayfinding, and Beacon technology is one of them. Due to the relatively low cost involvement and high quality results that can be achieved with this method, it is also one of the most commonly used.
Depending on the building structure and size, the amount of Beacons required varies. Strong adhesive tape has proven as the most efficient means to mount them on the walls — it holds the Beacons well in place, makes them easy to install but also to take down again if needed. A prerequisite for Beacon-powered indoor positioning to work, is a mobile app and the digital map of the building.
This map is created by taking radio recordings of the indoor environment and is then integrated into the mobile app. With the whole system is in place, the BLE Beacons send out their signal. The position is shown in real time as a blue dot and provides them with enhanced orientation and mobile navigation inside the building. Beacons come in varying shapes and sizes, but they will all fit easily in the palm of your hand.
Although indoor positioning installations usually go with battery powered Beacons, they can also come with a USB port.
How to do accurate indoor positioning with Bluetooth beacons?
On average the battery lasts around three years, before it has to be replaced. To facilitate this process, a Beacon management platform allows you to monitor the battery status of each individual piece of hardware and their location.
Due to their compact design, Beacons blend into their surroundings quite easily. Their shapes may vary depending on the provider and colours can be customized.While BLE has been around for years, only recently has it taken off as a means of tracking assets indoors. BLE is among the first technologies used for indoor tracking. The indoor asset tracking space is fairly young. As a result, there is no clear best option. Created inBLE was an attempt to fill the gap that the Bluetooth SIG perceived in contemporary wireless offerings for low energy and low-cost wireless protocols.
Indoor Positioning Systems based on BLE Beacons – Basics
BLE was slow to take hold, but it accelerated exponentially after its first inclusion in a smartphone in In order to conserve power, the data transfer rate for BLE is about one-tenth and the latency is about five times that of standard Bluetooth. These components can then be combined in two different ways.
The first places the low powered beacons in the environment and relies on mobile hubs like smartphones to send data and signal strength measurements to the internet. The second places the hubs in the environment and positions the low-power tags on trackable assets such as a crate of inventory in a warehouse. Once a configuration is chosen, the means of calculating location are essentially the same. For rough proximity calculations—such as whether or not a person carrying a hub is near a forklift, or whether a person is within a large room—the existence of a known tag or hub in that area can be used.
When more precision is required, BLE relies on a property known as received signal strength indicator RSSI to calculate how close a beacon is to a hub using a fairly complex formula called trilateration. The formula relies on knowing several defining characteristics of the BLE hub being used. These distance calculations are then combined across at least three hubs to triangulate a location. Unfortunately, RSSI distance calculations are tricky and can be unreliable.
Most commercial systems aid these calculations with additional information. The most common way of aiding these is to map the RSSI values in a building after setting up all of the hubs and then to use this known set of values to assist the triangulation calculation. The hardware for BLE tracking is relatively commonplace. Getting started is as simple as picking up some BLE beacons and provisioning them through a smartphone.
On the other hand, the software for BLE tracking is where all the magic happens. Several companies already exist that provide BLE tracking as a service. Each has its own flavor of implementation.
Very few of these applications rely purely on BLE. Combinations like these are common because each technology has its strengths and weaknesses; no single indoor tracking method is perfect on its own—yet. BLE is a relatively well-established method for indoor tracking, but the indoor positioning space is still quite new and uncertain.
BLE still works best when complemented with other technologies that help it become as effective as possible. IoT For All. Home Location Technology Bluetooth. April 2, Bluetooth Low Energy BLE beacons for indoor location detection have become quite popular lately, most notably in the retail sector. Other sectors are jumping on-board as well where indoor location detection service is of use for smartphone apps.
Smartphone apps can detect the beacon signal and estimate the proximity of the beacon and trigger actions automatically; like presenting location specific content, handling payments or tracking assets for example. This article will focus on the accuracy of proximity detection and the maintenance of the beacon infrastructure. Check our other educational beacon related blogs here.
The use of beacons in the marketplace has yet to become mainstream although most smartphones can detect them and they have become inexpensive, easy to setup and operate. Their main hindrance today is the lack of user acceptance and certain limitations of the technology.
User acceptance is a topic for another discussion, while I will drill into the accuracy and maintainability of using beacons today.
Although BLE beacons are inexpensive, easy to setup and operate, the distance calculation is not accurate enough for all situations and the setup depends heavily on environmental factors such as blocking the signal and signal reflection.
The smartphone estimates the distance to the beacon by measuring the strength of the signal RSSI from the beacon. Using signal strength for estimating distance is the inherent disadvantage of the technology for getting precise distance measurements. The signal strength drops quickly for the first meters away, making it relatively accurate at those distances, but the further away you go from the beacon, the less accurate the distance measurement gets.
Environmental factors such as reflections and physical blocking also affect the strength of the signal, and hence the distance calculation. For generalization purposes, beacon proximity detection is split into three distance categories; immediate, near and far.
Immediate means proximity within 0. We collected RSSI signal strength data and plotted a graph with test results with measurements taken at various distances from the beacon; starting 20 cm away, moving to 50 cm, then 1 meter, 2 meters and so on. We did this using various devices as the reception does differ between devices. A more common application for beacons is to use proximity detection in the categories of immediate, near, and far which is not enough to calculate position, but can be enough to detect if the user is in a certain room or standing in front of an object with a beacon attached.
Beacons are a good solution if using simple proximity detection by only detecting if the beacon is immediate, near or far. In earlier versions of Android and iOS, beacon scanning was done every second, but such frequent scanning drains the battery.
Since Android 5 for example, the beacon scanning results are delivered to the app only once every three seconds. One 3 second scan may not be enough to detect the beacon, so possibly two scans are needed. That means there is a considerable latency, up to 6 seconds, for the app to to activate new locations. Battery usage.
Trilateration in practice: testing indoor positioning with beacons
The beacons we used are from Kontakt. The more frequent broadcasts and the more signal strength, the more accurate they are, but the more power they consume as well. The measurements above were done using the max power setting with a broadcast package sent every milliseconds.
We found these values to be optimal for best results, although this configuration also means the battery will only last for months. When setting the signal strength to medium strength,the battery lifetime increased to about months. Medium strength is slightly little less accurate, but accurate enough for some simple immediate, near and far proximity detections. The battery usage will drop considerably with the latest generation of the Kontakt.
We have yet to try these beacons, but the marketing material from Kontakt. They have also stacked more batteries into the beacon to increase the lifetime.
The beacon technology is great; they are inexpensive, easy to mount, have become an industry standard, and are supported by almost all smartphones.
They are a perfect fit for certain situations where proximity detection using immediate, near and far distance categories are sufficient, but they are not really good enough for precise location detection due to the nature of the technology; although rough triangulation is possible with many beacons nearby.Posted by Alexander Maertens on Mon, Jan 29, Relying on GPS positioning inside buildings is difficult due to obstruction of the satellite signal.
Bluetooth beacons are ideal for indoor positioning and have enjoyed significant market growth in recent years. As a result, Bluetooth beacons have become the industry standard for indoor navigation use and are supported by most mobile devices. These signals are received and processed by suitable receivers mobile phones, smartphones, etc.
Beacons are used for finding both people and objects in large industrial areas. It is quick and easy to pinpoint the specific location of a person using beacons. The number of beacons required for this depends on the area in question and the desired accuracy of the location to be reached. Bluetooth beacons have an interior range of approximately 10 to 30 meters. The signal transmitted by the beacons can be received by a suitable software app installed on the mobile device of the mobile worker.
This allows the distance to the beacon to be calculated. As soon as the mobile worker is within reach of a second or further beacon, the location can be determined relatively precisely, depending on the location method.
Even three-dimensional positioning is possible with Bluetooth beacons, as it is also possible to specify the floor on which a person or object is located. The exact position of the mobile worker within a building can thus be located and forwarded to the central navigation system of the control center. For example, the system can send a warning signal and alert the control center if an unauthorized person enters a secured or even dangerous area, or when an object leaves a certain area. Beacons can also be used to locate injured mobile workers within seconds and to initiate rescue measures.
Ecom offers beacons for hazardous and non-hazardous areas. Topics: Intrinsically Safe Mobile Devices. Stay current on cutting-edge industrial automation technology and applications. Continuous innovation, enduring quality, and steady growth guarantees continued success, since more than 60 years. How beacons work It is quick and easy to pinpoint the specific location of a person using beacons.A Dockerfile for each server [ aimain ] and docker-compose.
Instead of rebuilding the whole system via docker every development iteration, we would only build the parts that have been modified. Installed with sudo pip install -U whereami with system's python. My current locations are :. Documentation says that it returns position in ARKit coordinate system, but when I print it using this method, and I haven't move, it says I'm e. Shouldn't it show something near 0, 0 since ARKit origin will be in the place I'm right at that momen.
What is the purpose of the field. For whom is the data in the field. Who interprets it? When a user is manually entering a start or end location, a list of suggested locations matching the inputted keystrokes appears. This list is helpful but troublesome to navigate, as it is partially obscured by the keyboard which apparently can't be dismissed on iOS and because attempting to scroll the list within the sliver of window in which it appears tested using iPhone 4s, so reduced scree.
This project contains the example apps for use with the DW An indoor positioning system IPS is a system to locate objects or people inside a building using radio waves, magnetic fields, acoustic signals, or other sensory information collected by mobile devices. Global navigation satellite systems GPS or GNSS are generally not suitable to establish indoor locations, since microwaves will be attenuated and scattered by roofs, walls and other objects. However, in order to make positioning signals ubiquitous, integration between GPS and indoor positioning can be made.
My solution for Indoor Positioning system is based on "Time of arrival" method. For this i had used Ultrasonic sensor HC-SR04 connected with arduino atmega and a cardboard for placing a object on it to determine location of this object as they cost very less and gives very precise information values.
There is possibility of making it so much advance by adding some additional feature and additional hardware. One of the most important feature that i want to add is that we can also able see the 'orientation' of object if moving along with the direction. This project is an initiative to make indoor positioning by using Raspberry Pi. Scans all nearby wifi networks and the devices connected to each network for Indoor positioning. As an facilities manager I want to be able to see what is the temperature around each INS-node so to be able to adjust the heating or cooling accordingly.
Provide indoor positioning for a fleet of MAVLink autonomous vehicles. Add a description, image, and links to the indoor-positioning topic page so that developers can more easily learn about it. Curate this topic. To associate your repository with the indoor-positioning topic, visit your repo's landing page and select "manage topics. Learn more.
Skip to content. Here are public repositories matching this topic Language: All Filter by language. Sort options. Star 3. Code Issues Pull requests. Open Build and run the project with docker-compose. Read more. Open Allow aliases for devices. Open Allow setting time-zone per family. Open missing documentation for mac The latest beacon technology is enabling new applications in healthcare, higher-ed, and commercial real estate.
Although GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, it does not work well for indoor navigation applications. Roofs, walls, and other objects scatter signals from satellites, and navigating the error range can be larger than the total indoor space. Multiple Bluetooth beacons generate signals containing a small amount of data and are transmitted to nearby compatible Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, to accurately pinpoint the location of a person or asset inside of a building.
Initial implementations of this technology focused on push notifications such as marketing offers or breaking news to installed mobile app recipients, but today the technology has evolved and is also used for sophisticated indoor positioning or navigation systems.
This information is then displayed on the indoor mapping application on their smartphone to guide them through the building, similar to the way a GPS helps navigate someone driving or walking to an outdoor location.
Retailers have had initial success using beacons to attract consumer attention and provide a more dynamic and personalized in-store experience. For example, when a beacon detects consumers entering a store, a push notification is sent to their smart device that pants are on sale from a brand that they have previously purchased.
Similarly, they might receive a notice that a specific shirt and tie would go perfectly with the suit they recently bought from their store. Coupons or rewards are also served up to shoppers to offer incentives to buy certain products, thus boosting the shopping experience. The personalization consumers receive online can now be brought to the brick-and-mortar store.
More advanced indoor positioning programs using Bluetooth beacons help consumers navigate within the store to a product category and find the exact product they seek.
Indoor Positioning With Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
They can also help retailers target shoppers with products located in the same aisle or area of the store. Healthcare facilities are continually investing in the latest diagnostic and patient care equipment, and these assets are moved frequently from one location to another to service the patient easily. Bluetooth beacons enable the tracking of portable imaging machines and wheelchairs, for example, so that staff can quickly find these assets where and when needed.
Patients and visitors also leverage beacon technology in hospitals and other medical care facilities for wayfinding. By downloading an indoor map of a facility or complex to their mobile phone, they can navigate to their destination within the facility without getting lost and needing to ask staff members for directions.
Beacon-based digital wayfinding can ease the burden on hospital staff of people stopping them for directions, while also increasing the number of on-time appointments. The opportunity for Bluetooth beacons on a college campus is abundant. Indoor positioning systems help students, staff, and visitors navigate the campus, whether attending a lecture or sporting event.
New students and their parents can acclimate to the campus and college life more quickly. Also, the data gathered through beacons can boost campus safety programs using campus alert systems, including geo-location targeted messages or across the university.
In commercial office space, beacons can provide real-time visibility into the occupancy of different types of workspaces and areas within a building. Overly congested or underutilized areas can be modified so that space is better utilized. For example, beacon data might indicate that some regularly occupied desks are close to a high traffic area, yet there is an underutilized space away from traffic that might be a more suitable location for this group of desks.
In many real-life situations, emergency personnel often arrive on the scene and do not know where individuals requiring assistance are located. Bluetooth beacons can quickly indicate via map-based visualization what areas of a building are occupied during an emergency.
This information can help emergency personnel develop an optimal plan of action. Bluetooth beacon-based digital wayfinding can assist employees and visitors as they navigate a commercial office or campus to find an available desk, specific conference room, or staff location. This feature is particularly useful for large or growing organizations that optimize office space on an ongoing basis, and regularly move employees within the space or modify conference room locations.
Beacons work best when they are placed on ceilings or high on walls because physical objects such as desks, walls, or even people can interfere with signal strength. Consequently, for high accuracy signaling, a good location for a beacon is within a luminaire or tethered to a luminaire. Additionally, the beacon can directly connect to a reliable power source via the LED driver AUX within the luminaire eliminating the need for batteries, which degrade beacon performance over time and require replacement due to their limited life.
The latest technologies are now integrated in luminaires and lighting systems to enable smart building applications beyond smart lighting. Digital Systems Blog.