Using Bluetooth Sensor Beacons for AI Machine Learning

Sensor beacons provide a quick and easy way to obtain data for AI machine learning. They provide an alternative to trying to access over-protected siloed company data and a method of measuring physical things that might not already be quantified.

Beacon Temperature Sensor

Beacons detect movement (accelerometer), movement (started/stopped moving), button press, temperature, humidity, air pressure, light level, open/closed (magnetic hall effect), proximity (PIR), proximity (cm range), fall detection, smoke and natural gas. The open/closed (magnetic hall effect) is particularly useful as it can be used on a multitude of physical things for scenarios that require digitising counts, presence and physical status.

The data is sent via Bluetooth rather than via cables which means there’s no soldering or physical construction. The Bluetooth data can be read by smartphones, gateways or any devices that have Bluetooth LE. From there it can be stored in files for reading into machine learning.

Read our fact sheet on machine learning sensor data.

Sensor Beacon Matrix Updated

We offer a range of sensor beacons but what each beacon actually senses or detects is buried deep in the respective beacon descriptions.

As we have recently added new sensor beacons, we have updated our downloadable pdf showing what each beacon can detect.

If you want to know how you might use these beacons, take a look at our article on Beacon Proximity and Sensing for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Need more help? Consider a Feasibility Study.

New Sato Beacons in Stock

We have a new range of Sato beacons in stock:

Most, except the sensor beacons, are waterproof to IP67. All the beacons can be configured to advertise multiple channels at the same time including iBeacon, Eddystone UID, Eddystone URL, Eddystone TLM, sensor (where available), acceleration (where available) and device info.

Sato beacons use the button in an innovative way. Instead of going OFF, the button long press is detected for SOS type scenarios. The beacon is instead turned off using the configuration app or programatically via your custom app.

Sensor Beacon Matrix Updated

We offer a range of sensor beacons but what each beacon actually senses or detects is buried deep in the respective beacon descriptions.

As we have new sensor beacons, we have updated our downloadable pdf showing what each beacon can detect.

If you want to know how you might use these beacons, take a look at our article on Beacon Proximity and Sensing for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Need more help? Consider a Feasibility Study.

Bluetooth Mesh and IIoT in Factories and Warehouses

Dialog Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the SoC chip in some beacons, has an informative article on How Bluetooth Mesh and IIoT are Reimagining Factories and Warehouses. It explains how the recent introduction of Bluetooth mesh has created new opportunities in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

“The manufacturing industry is absolutely ripe for potential with Bluetooth mesh”

IDC

“Industrial sensors and smart buildings among other use cases, are expected to outpace the overall Bluetooth LE market by 3X through 2022”

Research and Markets

The article mentions preventive maintenance, air quality sensing, asset tracking, robot control systems and traditional air conditioning as possible applications for Bluetooth Mesh. However, a key insight is that once a mesh network is in place it can be used for applications beyond those originally envisaged.

Read about Beacons and the Bluetooth Mesh

Energy Harvesting for Beacons

Some of the latest innovations in beacons are related to how they are powered. When beacons can be self-powered it greatly reduces maintenance, improves convenience and removes wastage (of batteries).

As we have previously mentioned, Wiliot is pioneering the use of Radio Frequency (RF) energy harvesting. There’s a very recent Wiliot article Nano-Watt Computing that explains how Wiliot are harvesting RF energy in such as way as to charge a capacitor that, periodically charged, can be used to power a beacon.

RF isn’t the only way to charge a capacitor. Recent research from Japan on Ultra-low-power energy harvester for microbial fuel cells and its application to environmental sensing and long-range wireless data transmission shows how Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) can be used to power a Bluetooth beacon.

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) generate electricity directly from organic matter contained in aquatic sediment, soil, and domestic wastewater. The research describes UPEM, the first harvester that takes real-time measurements of temperature and humidity, CO2 sensing and provides iBeacon and LoRa transmission using a single MFC.

How to Start Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation

There’s lots said about the advantages of Industry 4.0 or Digital Transformation and the associated new technologies but it’s a lot harder to apply this to the context of a business that has legacy equipment and no real way of knowing where to start.

Our previous article on productivity explained how, historically, digital transformation has been only been implemented in the top 5% ‘frontier’ companies. These have tended to be very large companies with large R&D budgets that have enabled customised digital solutions. More recently, the availability of less expensive sensors and software components have extended opportunities to the SME companies. These companies are already realising gains in profitability, customer experience and operational efficiency. Unlike previous technologies, such as CRM, the newer technologies such as IoT and AI are more transformative. Companies that don’t update their processes risk being outranked by their competition with a greater possibility of going out of business. But where do you start?

The place to start is not technology but instead something you and your colleagues fortunately have lots of experience of : Your company. Take an honest look at your processes and work out the key problems that, if solved, would achieve the greatest gains. You might have ignored problems or inefficiencies for years or decades because they were thought to be insolvable. Technology might now be able to solve some of these problems. So what kind of problems? Think in terms of bottlenecks, costly workrounds, human effort-limited tasks, stoppages, downtimes, process delays, under-used equipment and even under-used people. Can you measure these things and react? Can you predict they are about to happen? This is where sensing comes in.

The next stage is connectivity. You will almost certainly need to upgrade or expand your WiFi and/or Ethernet network. It can be impractical to put sensors on everything and everyone and connect everything by WiFi/Ethernet. Instead, consider Bluetooth LE and sensor beacons to provide a low cost, low power solution for the last 50 to 100m. Bluetooth mesh can provide site-wide connectivity.

Initially implement a few key improvements that offer good payback for the effort (ROI). The improvements in efficiency, productivity, reduced costs and even customer experience should be enough to convince stakeholders to expand and better plan the digital transformation. This involves replacement of inefficient equipment and inefficient processes using, for example, robotics and 3D printing. It also involves analysing higher order information combined from multiple sources and using more advanced techniques such as AI machine learning to recognise and detect patterns to detect, classify and predict. This solves problem complexity beyond that able to be solved by the human mind or algorithmic program created by a programmer.

Get Help Determining Feasibility

Read about Beacons in Industry and the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)

Explore AI Machine Learning with Beacons