Mist WiFi Access Points Broadcast as Bluetooth Beacons

WiFi access points are increasingly supporting the broadcast of Bluetooth beacon signals. The main usecase is to allow for smartphone apps to detect the Bluetooth advertising and provide for location based information and navigation.

We recently learnt that Mist access points support the advertising of iBeacon and Eddystone:

There are also some interesting uses in retail that automatically provision smartphone WiFi access settings based on the detected presence of a beacon.

Information Display and Alerting System Based on iBeacon

There’s new research on a An Intelligent Low-Power Displaying System with Integrated Emergency Alerting Capability. The authors have implemented a wireless ePaper system showing static and dynamic information together with indoor locating based on Bluetooth beacons .


Unfortunately, the locating system is based on an empty room and the technique would be liable to fluctuations in the physical environment.

Read about Using Beacons, iBeacons for Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS)

Crowd Security with iBeacons

The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) held a competition to find ideas to reduce the threat of terrorists in public spaces. KSharp created CriB, Crowd Resilience through iBeacons, a system using iBeacons to allow people to report terrorist threats and receive security alerts through an app. This allows venues such as city centres, shopping centres and sports stadiums to improve safety and security. A video has recently become available:

iBeacon Driven Mobile Device Management for Education

Jamf School is a device management solution for education. It allows you to track devices and see their status. It uses iBeacon to allow subject learning material to be unlocked when students enter specific areas.

The Jamf web site has some useful content on using iBeacons in education:

Invisible Candles: Exploring IT Applications of iBeacons with Your JSS
Paul Cowan—IT Manager at the University of Waikato explains iBeacons, how they have evolved, how museums are using iBeacons to share information with visitors and how the Casper Suite can be used trigger events and gather proximity data.

iBeacons in Education
Video webinar on proximity-based technology and how it can be used to distribute and manage technologies in education environments. Covers privacy considerations, casper suite and jamf.

See the Light (and benefits) of iBeacon
Video on how Apple’s iBeacon technology works and when you would want to use it.

The benefits of iBeacons for education
Article on using iBeacons for device management and unlocking learning materials.

Jamf also has many more blog posts on using iBeacons in Education.

Owntracks Location Tracking and Alerting

Owntracks is an open source app for iOS and Android that allows you to keep track of your (or vulnerable family member’s) location. However, it also has business uses to track valuable assets. You can also build a private location diary and share it with others.

It works with iBeacons to provide:

  • Locating indoors where GPS doesn’t work
  • Attributing location to a vehicle to track time spent commuting or to see where you have parked your car
  • Fitting to keys/luggage/expensive equipment to get notified when you leave them behind

Using Beacons in Libraries

There’s new research on Book Searching Navigation in Libraries Based on iBeacon Technology (pdf). The paper describes a fingerprinting-based real time locating system (RTLS):

As the authors are in China, it uses WeChat to ensure compatibility and to promote uptake. Apart from helping find books, other uses include calculating user traffic, check-in, welcome information, questionnaires and evaluating seat occupancy.

iBeacons For Disaster Assistance

The Singapore Space and Technology Association has partnered with Airbus to launch a HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) challenge. The objectives are to use latest technologies to aid rescue efforts.

Lee Wei Wen and Lee Wei Juin propose the use of iBeacon to display the GNSS locations of the rescuers with live updates of the rescue plan across different agencies: