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How and Why Bluetooth Beacons are Used in Indoor Positioning System?

An assortment of iBeacons from different vendors (Wikipedia, CC)


There can be numerous recent instances to quote how bluethooth beacon indoor navigation helped someone in distress. From navigating pets to getting detailed information of exhibits in a museum, it owns a very versatile range of applications in the modern day scenario. 

Why Use Bluetooth Beacon?

Besides the prime reason of GPS being inaccurate indoors, we are still stick with multiple options to be used as a positioning system. The features that make Bluetooth beacons suit this purpose are their cheap price, satisfactory results, long range capabilities and low energy requirement.

While other technologies require high installation cost and energy demands, beacons can run almost up to two years merely on button cells and having range of approximately 30 metres and accuracy up to one metre. Along with effortless installation speciality, its handling is also very easy making it easy to manage using mobile apps compatible with multiple platforms.

It locates and reveals the position of blue-tooth capatible devices such as smartphones or tablets present inside a pre-defined confinement using magnetic anomalies. The thing to be kept in mind is enabling the Bluetooth in your cell phone and installing the required application first. Once it’s installed and working you can use all the functions given in the app using your phone.

Some of its key features are as listed:

  • Bluetooth beacons are installed to create the required observable confinement.
  • The capability to detect the presence of any unauthorised movements of workers outside their designated zones. Once someone gets into the restricted areas, the Restricted Access Alarms provide automatic notifications and make the work much easier.
  • Top notch reporting techniques provides the exact location of any person.
  • Administratorcan monitorthe visual web interface via any computer or device over the LAN.

Did you know even Apple is in on the bluetooth beacon phenomenon? They introduced the iBeacon in 2013 and can be purchased for as little as $5 per device!

How To Use Bluetooth Beacons As Indoor Positioning System?

The basic and necessary step is to localize the Bluetooth beacons such that they produce maximum accuracy. Localization using beacons may be performed using numerous techniques, some of which include:

  1. Trilateration using RSSI
  2. Filter technology
  3. Fingerprinting
  4. Cell based positioning
  5. Triangulation 

In trilateration, position is determined using the distance to at least three beacon nodes to ensure optimum precision.

In filter based technologies, continuously multiple locations are generated and gets sanitized using different inputs to the system.

In fingerprinting, a map is sliced into a grid and different properties are linked with each grid-cell.

The above mentioned cell-based technique is based on analysing the region of intersection of the range of the visible beacons and the complements of the ranges of the non-visible beacons. It is useless to mention that greater the number of beacons being used, the more precise localization we can obtain from it.

The triangulation approach is based on obtaining angles from predefined references or towards them and further use to calculate the position.

It is always wise step to hire a professional for the installation of the system to avail the maximum accuracy of the positioning system and to learn easy handlingand maintenance of the whole system.

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