Using BLE for Indoor Navigation and Positioning
For many years the GPS system has been considered the best solution for object location. However, it has limited possibilities especially while moving inside premises, so in the modern world it is being substituted by Bluetooth. At present Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is probably one of the most convenient technological solutions for indoor positioning which allows developing effective navigation systems.
How the system works
Indoor positioning Bluetooth is carried out using special beacons that are installed on objects and send signals at regular intervals. Due to their tiny size, they are widely used in a wide variety of geolocation solutions.
Navigation with iBeacon is carried out through a mobile application. The smartphone receives Bluetooth signals from beacons inside the location and sends certain information to users, such as location data, directions to desired places, advertisements, push notifications.
For project realization, two technologies can be applied:
- iBeacon – an in-building positioning system that allows exchanging data between BLE devices and beacons. The technology was developed in 2013 and since then it has been actively used.
- Eddystone – a new standard of beacon work from Google. It is an extended version of BLE and makes use of the key ability of beacons to transmit a unique identification code at short distances by means of Bluetooth signals.
Pros and cons
The indoor positioning system using Bluetooth has a wide range of benefits for developing projects. With its help, it’s quite easy to orient in big buildings, quickly find the needed objects, perform analytics of visits and movements inside the premises.
The main advantages of the technology are the following:
- Possibility to build the infrastructure based on available and inexpensive equipment.
- Simple system management without any specific expertise and skills.
- Energy efficiency.
- Optimization of interaction between system users and clients.
- Locating objects with an accuracy of several meters.
- Easy-to-install beacons.
Alongside with advantages, Bluetooth indoor positioning system has some disadvantages, such as its relatively small working distance (on average, up to 30 m), necessity to use applications for clients’ solutions, employment of additional equipment.
Spheres of application
The Bluetooth navigation system has found successful application in many spheres. The most common ones are:
- Healthcare. Thanks to this system, patients can easily orient in big medical institutions, find the necessary rooms, get information on doctor’s appointments.
- Industry. The system allows optimizing production processes and monitoring company’s assets. Any object that has to be followed is equipped with a small label with a beacon. The object location and its performance can be displayed in the web-interface at any time.
- Warehouses. BLE beacons can be placed on important and expensive things. When the beacon leaves the defined zone, the alarm signal is activated or the system gets a security notification.
- Transport. Beacons ensure convenient navigation for airline or railway passengers inside transport hubs. Using the Android and iOS application, passengers can find the necessary routes or important objects, such as ATM, recreation rooms and ticket offices.
Navigine specializes in developing effective geolocation tools for businesses and offers a technological solution for indoor navigation using Bluetooth. The cooperation with our company will let you obtain an easy-to-use convenient SDK for rendering a wide range of services based on exact detecting the user’s location and making routes around buildings.