That Google Maps locates us in almost any place or that the navigation system of the car can guide us towards our destination is no longer strange to us. We have standardized outdoor positioning technologies and now we hardly know how to live without them. With no doubts, GPS and other similar satellite technologies have revolutionized the world.
But, what about indoor positioning? Satellite localization systems do not work indoors but there are other technologies that make it possible and equally rigorous, although it is necessary to deploy a larger infrastructure. We are talking about Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, devices that work with long-term batteries and have become the dominant technology of indoor positioning systems.
It works as follows: the beacon sends a Bluetooth signal that can be read by any external device that passes around it -and, of course, that has the Bluetooth option turned on-, like a smartphone or a tablet. This allows you to calculate the approximate distance the device is from the beacon and estimate its location.
What are the benefits for the user or visitor?
This technology is used by visitors both for indoor browsing, through maps, and for receiving content on their mobile device according to their location, automatically.
What are the benefits for organizations?
Thanks to the use of beacons for indoor positioning, companies and organizations can offer a better user experience to their customers. In addition, it also allows them to get relevant information for business improvement, such as heatmaps that identify areas where customers or users spend more or less time. In this way, they will be able to make strategic decisions based on reports with real data.
What use cases are the most common in indoor positioning with BLE beacons?
Indoor Navigation at airports and metro stations
The BLE beacons allow metro and plane passengers to locate and navigate inside the facilities. They can do this through mobile applications that show the route to the corresponding platform or gate, or other points of interest.
Information based on location in museums
Visitors can get information of interest based on their location within the museum. For example, when they pass in front of a work of art, a notification may appear in the corresponding mobile application with related information. These applications usually have indoor navigation maps of the place, with recommended routes according to their interests.
If a beacon is installed on every object that should be tracked, you will be able to know its position, as well as other features such as the department it belongs to or the purchase date. Its management will be carried out through an IoT platform that allows to see its state at all times.
In large installations, workers and visitors can be equipped with a beacon card so that they can be easily located in an emergency situation. This will allow to determine the position and, in case there are still people in the building, know how to proceed with the evacuation.
Indoor in-store localization systems allow to send advertisements to customers based on their location. It also alows to create heatmaps that show the areas that most interest users.