Remote Team Management Using iOS as an iBeacon

S Sindhumol of Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, India presents recent research into Implementation and Analysis of a Smart Team Management System using iOS Devices as iBeacon (pdf).

The key thing about this research is that it uses iOS rather than a beacon to advertise iBeacon. The system allows the entire team to determine the location of other members, perform location based tasks, receive announcements and communicate via instant chat.

iBeacon Team Management Screens

The paper contains some useful analysis of accuracy of distance measurement on distance, interference, measured power and obstructions:

Effect of iBeacon distance accuracy with obstructions
Effect of iBeacon distance accuracy with presence of another iBeacon
Effect of measured power variation on proximity and accuracy
Effect of obstructing objects on RSSI and Accuracy

On iOS it’s only possible to advertise iBeacon if the app is in foreground:

The major limitation of the proposed app is battery drainage while keeping the app active all the time in the foreground

A more practical system would have been implemented by having the users carry a separate wearable beacon. This would have allowed presence to be detected when the app isn’t in foreground and there wouldn’t have been a problem with excessive iOS battery use.

Using Beacons for Race Timing

There’s novel recent research on City Marathon Active Timing System Using Bluetooth Low Energy Technology by Chun-I Sun, Jung-Tang Huang, Shih-Chi Weng and Meng-Fan Chien of Taiwan.

The authors discuss the use of beacons vs RFID and create a system using Received Signal Strength Indicator RSSI and gateways connected to detector mats:

Beacons are carried by athletes. The gateways sync their times via NTP and send data up to a MongoDB database:

An accuracy of ±156 ms was achieved which compares well to the nearest second used to generally record times and resolution accuracy of 0.1s for commercial transponder timing systems.

Cleaner Staff Tracking with iBeacons

There’s a new solution to track cleaning staff that provides app and web source code to implement a cleaning staff tracking system using iBeacons:

Android screens
Web interface

Manage beacons, buildings, zones and broadcast messages. The web interface shows staff activity and allows staff to be assigned to tasks. Staff can update task status and provide notes from their smartphones.

This solution has been added to the BeaconZone Solutions Directory where you can find more solutions that work with generic beacons.

Updated Solutions Directory

We have re-implemented our Beacon Solutions Directory making it easier to use and more up to date:

We have removed listings for solutions that no longer exist, updated solutions that have changed focus and added some newer solutions that use generic beacons.

We found that a considerable number of marketing/retail solutions no longer exist and only the stronger ones remain. This is mainly due to the demise of Eddystone URL.

There’s an upsurge in checkin/checkout solutions presumably partly due to recent ruling by the European Court of Justice that said that EU companies must have something in place to provide an “objective, reliable and accessible system” that allows the duration of time worked each day to be measured.

The use of beacons in visitor spaces is also a growing area with solutions ranging from single use kiosks to event management platforms.

Generally, support for beacons is being added to existing, mature solutions rather than, as previously, new solutions being created solely around beacon functionality.

Building Construction Industry Time and Attendance Tracking

One of our clients Chime Software Limited, part of Wren Construction, is offering a Time and Attendance Tracking system for the building construction industry. It’s a mobile and desktop solution allowing teams to easily collaborate.

The clock in and clock out uses iBeacons. It’s possible to view and authorise timesheets either from your desktop or mobile phone. It’s also possible to take textual and photographic notes for sharing across a team or project.

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:

Beacons in Shopping Malls

Mr Beacon has an informative new video interview with Janette Smrcka, Information Technology Director at Mall of America. They use beacons to allow visitors to navigate across 520 stores on 5 levels, spanning 4.3 miles and over 5.6 million square feet.

Watch the video to learn about WiFi vs Bluetooth wayfinding and the advantages of mains as opposed to battery powered beacons. You will also learn how Mall of America’s beacon network might eventually be used to track mall assets and for location-based site maintenance.