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Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

Bluetooth® Beacon Technology for Indoor Navigation

Posted by Alexander Maertens on Mon, Jan 29, 2018

Relying on GPS positioning inside buildings is difficult due to obstruction of the satellite signal. Bluetooth beacons are ideal for indoor positioning and have enjoyed significant market growth in recent years. As a result, Bluetooth beacons have become the industry standard for indoor navigation use and are supported by most mobile devices.

Bluetooth beacons are small radio beacons that are placed inside buildings and rooms at regular intervals, and also outdoors, and emit signals via Bluetooth® low-energy technology. These signals are received and processed by suitable receivers (mobile phones, smartphones, etc.). Beacons are used for finding both people and objects in large industrial areas.

Bluetooth® Beacon Technology for Indoor Navigation

How beacons work

It is quick and easy to pinpoint the specific location of a person using beacons. The number of beacons required for this depends on the area in question and the desired accuracy of the location to be reached. Bluetooth beacons have an interior range of approximately 10 to 30 meters.

The signal transmitted by the beacons can be received by a suitable software app installed on the mobile device of the mobile worker. This allows the distance to the beacon to be calculated. As soon as the mobile worker is within reach of a second or further beacon, the location can be determined relatively precisely, depending on the location method. Even three-dimensional positioning is possible with Bluetooth beacons, as it is also possible to specify the floor on which a person or object is located.

The exact position of the mobile worker within a building can thus be located and forwarded to the central navigation system of the control center.

Beacon applications

Bluetooth beacons can be used indoors to locate people or objects (asset / personnel tracking). For example, the system can send a warning signal and alert the control center if an unauthorized person enters a secured or even dangerous area, or when an object leaves a certain area.

Beacons can also be used to locate injured mobile workers within seconds and to initiate rescue measures.

Bluetooth® beacons from ecom

Ecom offers beacons for hazardous and non-hazardous areas. The Loc-Ex® 01 and Loc 01 feature a high transmission power (max. 8 dBm), a long battery life (4 years with a transmission interval of 500 ms) and a robust UV-resistant housing (for outdoor use). The Loc-Ex® 01 Beacon for potentially explosive atmospheres has an ATEX / IECEx approval for Zone 1/21.

ecom beacons for hazardous areas

Application

  • Security - access control, theft protection
  • Safety - lone worker protection
  • Asset tracking & personnel tracking

Advantages

  • Energy-efficient Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology increases battery life
  • Low acquisition / installation costs
  • Simple and flexible installation or assembly without complex cabling
  • Supported by many devices and operating systems
  • Small and inconspicuous
  • Accurate positioning up to 1 m
Interested? Visit:  ecom beacons for indoor navigation

 

Topics: Intrinsically Safe Mobile Devices

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