The two main ways of detecting beacons are smartphone apps and gateways. If you need a more custom or self-contained solution it’s possible to use single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi or smaller embedded computer boards such as ESP32. ESP32 boards have WiFi and Bluetooth LE and can be programmed using the relatively simple Arduino platform.
ESP32 boards such as the WiFi Kit 32 provide an easy and inexpensive way to process Bluetooth LE signals for local processing or sending to other systems via an Internet connection. Some such as WiFi Lora 32 (V2) also have LoRa wireless that allows relaying information up to 15Km.
We have two new waterproof (IP67) beacons in stock:
FSC-BP108 is a waterproof, wearable beacon. The FSC-BP104D takes larger AAA batteries for a long range and long battery life. Both transmit up to 10 channels simultaneously that can be Eddystone-UID, Eddystone-URL, iBeacon or AltBeacon. The button turns on and off.
A Kalman Filter is used to preprocess collected Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) data followed by a Particle Filter (PF) to approximate the location of a tag which improves the location certainties.
Simulations and experiments showed the system outperformed the legacy indoor positioning systems in terms of location accuracy by 24.1% and achieved median accuracy of 1.16 m.
Areas are differentiated as either being ‘critical’ or ‘common’. For example, in a railway station, critical areas are elevator entrances, boarding gates, toilets and the service centre. Critical and common areas have different positioning needs leading to different sensor deployment densities.
The paper examines the variation of RSSI with distance and develops a critical-grid coverage model. A NSGA-II algorithm is used to optimise the placement of iBeacon nodes.
The results showed that the new placement scheme obtained a lower error and a greater reduction of sensor deployment cost than the uniform deployment scheme. The proposed method reduced the cost of sensor deployment while ensuring the accuracy of indoor positioning for critical areas.
Digital signs can be found inside retail stores, shopping malls and increasingly at transit locations and even on the street. A growing number of digital signs use Bluetooth beacons.
iBeacon transmissions allow digital signs to work with apps. An app detects the Bluetooth transmission and displays appropriate content in the app. This allows the app to react with what’s being shown on the sign and even control the digital sign. A way of achieving two way communication is to have the app send messages back to a server that causes new data to be shown on the smart sign:
If you are a smart sign manufacturer, the easiest way to add iBeacon support is to use a USB beacon. All your smart sign needs is a spare USB slot. Once set up, the beacon is usually ‘Set and forget’ but there are additional interaction possibilities if the smart sign can send out different advertising at different times and thus become a dynamic beacon. This can be arranged by using a USB beacon that can be controlled via a UART COM port. In this scenario the USB port is used for control as well as power.
The paper describes an efficient solution for locating, tracking, analysing distribution and flow of people and/or vehicles. Filters and algorithms including artificial intelligence and angle of arrival (AoA) were employed.
The resultant system provided for analysis of location, traffic flow and passenger movement along routes.
The researchers found that accuracy was improved when multiple measuring stations were used. Improved positioning was achieved using geometry algorithms (Voronoi) and the k-mean cluster algorithms. Artificial intelligence allowed for deeper analysis of the data for more accurate positioning, trajectory estimation and density evaluation.
Acrylic have a new Windows-based Bluetooth LE Analyzer that can be used to check for and test Bluetooth devices. The application has a scanner showing the Bluetooth signal strength range (RSSI):
It also provides analysis using dynamic and customizable graphs showing RSSI (signal strength), signal distribution over time and approximate device distance. A BLE beacon viewer shows detailed information on Low Energy Bluetooth devices. The BLE Packet Analyzer explores Bluetooth packet contents:
There’s also an inventory system to keep track of your devices. The free version scans, detects iBeacons and visualises signal strength. The licensed version has the packet analyzer, inventory and advanced filtering.