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infsoft blog - indoor positioning & more.

Learn more about the latest development in the fields of indoor positioning, indoor navigation and indoor tracking.


Indoor navigation & indoor positioning using Bluetooth

Indoor navigation & indoor positioning using Bluetooth

During the last couple of years, there was a lot going on on the Bluetooth market. The technology itself is not new; the functionality of Bluetooth has been well-known since the 1990s. But it was only in recent years that whole new application scenarios have occurred, originating from the energy saving Bluetooth version BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth Smart). Apple with its iBeacons and just recently Google with its Eddystone Beacons have got the market moving furthermore.

Indoor navigation using Bluetooth

Since GPS does not work indoors, Bluetooth is a good alternative for indoor positioning and indoor navigation. Bluetooth beacons are able to send out signals, but they can’t receive them. They are relatively cheap, can run on button cells up to two years and have a maximum range of 30 meters indoors. Accuracy is up to one meter. On the one hand they are used in client based solutions, that is to say, positioning via app on the smartphone itself. In this case, Bluetooth must be activated on the device. On the other hand, server based tracking solutions using beacons are possible as well.

For positioning in client based applications, several beacons are required. They send out unique signals with which the app determines the position by means of fingerprinting. Based on beacons, it is possible to trigger an action, for example displaying a coupon or information on the smartphone.

Application areas of beacon indoor navigation

Currently, Bluetooth beacons are mostly applied in stationary trading. They connect the online and offline world and are supposed to increase sales at the point of sale (POS), for example by means of coupons or advertisements. Also, navigation in complex buildings and detailed information about exhibits in museums and at trade fairs are much asked for.

It is also possible to analyze visitor flows. Based on that information, products in shops can be arranged perfectly or walking routes can be optimized. The technical possibilities offer a lot of opportunities to provide the customer, visitor, patient, employee or traveler relevant information at the right time and at the right place.

Installation of indoor positioning via Bluetooth

Calibrating the position determination is as easy as when using WiFi. infsoft provides a calibration app, by which clients can work independently. infsoft also offers a beacon management tool to monitor battery levels and set up business logics to replace batches in certain areas.

infsoft does not provide beacon hardware, but we are happy to establish contacts of beacon suppliers. If you have any questions considering installation and parameterization, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Pros and cons of indoor positioning using beacons

Pros:

  • cost-effective, unremarkable hardware
  • low energy consumption
  • flexible integration into the existing infrastructure (battery-powered or power supply via lamps and the domestic electrical system)
  • works where other positioning techniques do not have a signal
  • compatible with iOS and Android
  • high accuracy compared to WiFi (up to 1m)

Cons:

  • additional hardware
  • app is required for client based solutions
  • relatively small range (up to 30m)


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