A proper planning of the placement of the nodes is the key of a successful installation of Bluetooth Beacon Tracker.

1 – Use cases

LIST OF USE CASES

Track the BLE beacons in a small test area (lab/office/house)
Track the BLE beacons in production
Detect/count the number of BLE beacons in proximity of/passing by specific spots

1.1 – Track the BLE beacons inside a small test area (lab/office/house)

Nodes – Number

Very often we are asked what is the minimum number of nodes for a test installation of Bluetooth Beacon Tracker inside an office/lab/house. We recommend to carry out a test installation with at least 6 nodes. This is the right number of nodes to get meaningful results and understand how the system behaves with the nodes arranged in different configurations. Keep in mind that 6 nodes can provide meaningful results in an area of about 300 sqm. If you want to test the system in a bigger area then you should refer to the use case below Track the the BLE beacons in production to understand how to estimate the correct number and placement of nodes in a bigger area.

Nodes – Deployment model

As explained inside the page related to the accuracy, the most accurate results can be obtained when tracking beacons inside the ideal perimeter that can be defined by connecting the most outer nodes. This is the reason why the first step during the deployment of the nodes, is to place them along the perimeter of the area that will contain BLE beacons to be tracked. Once a first set of nodes has been placed along the perimeter then you can place the remaining nodes uniformly inside the area that you want to monitor.

Accurate estimate: feel free to use this form and provide us:

  • a floor plan with a unit of measurement and the highlighted areas that need to be monitored.
  • any information regarding constraints related to the placement of the nodes.
  • (OPTIONALLY) a floor plan with the locations of the electricity outlets (this is needed in order to minimize the number of extension cords).
  • (OPTIONALLY) 5 pictures of the environment.

We will be pleased to provide an estimate regarding the number of nodes needed and the deployment model suggested.

These are examples of where to place 5-6 nodes:

EXAMPLE 1accuware_wifitracker_office_esample1

EXAMPLE 2accuware_wifitracker_office_esample2

EXAMPLE 3accuware_wifitracker_office_esample3

Nodes – Physical locations

Please look at the paragraph 2.3 – Physical location of this support page.

Data collection

With this deployment you can collect the information regarding the locations of all the beacons detected. The location of all the beacons detected can be retrieved:

  • REAL-TIME – calling every 5 seconds this API and using at the LOC field of EXAMPLE 2
  • HISTORICALLY – by downloading every day the CSV daily reports​​ and using the fourth and fifth fields of each line of the CSV files

1.2 – Track the BLE beacons inside a production environment

Nodes – Number

There is no unique and standard equation to compute the number of nodes and there is no limits regarding the maximum number that can be managed by our server (we are able to scale our resources dynamically and so there are virtually no limits regarding the computational power that we can provide as explained in this page).

Increasing the nodes density will always increase the system accuracy. If you want a rough estimate regarding the number of nodes needed to monitor all the beacons within a specific area (with a specific level of accuracy) you can use this formula:

    \[BLE Nodes = (\frac{\sqrt{Area}}{Node Spacing}+1)^{2}\]

Here is a rough estimate of how the level of accuracy varies with the NODES SPACING:

 HIGH accuracy (2 meters of avg. radius of accuracy) -> ~10 meters of NODES SPACING
LOW accuracy (4 meters of avg. radius of accuracy) -> ~15 meters of NODES SPACING

You can use this tool to estimate the number of nodes needed to cover a specific area.

Nodes – Deployment model

The most accurate results can be obtained when tracking beacons inside the perimeter defined by the nodes. This is why the first step during the deployment of the the nodes, is to place them along the perimeter of the area that will contain beacons to be tracked. Once a first set of nodes has been placed along the perimeter then you can place the remaining nodes uniformly inside the area that you want to monitor.

Accurate estimate: feel free to use this form and provide us:

  • a floor plan with a unit of measurement and the highlighted areas that need to be monitored.
  • any information regarding constraints related to the placement of the nodes.
  • (OPTIONALLY) a floor plan with the locations of the electricity outlets (this is needed in order to minimize the number of extension cords).
  • (OPTIONALLY) 5 pictures of the environment.

We will be pleased to provide an estimate regarding the number of nodes needed and the deployment model suggested.

These are examples of where to place the nodes in production enviroments:

EXAMPLE 4 – Small store/retail

accuware_wifitracker_store_esample1

EXAMPLE 5 – Office space

accuware_wifitracker_office_esample4

Nodes – Physical locations

Please look at the paragraph 2.3 – Physical location of this support page.

Data collection

With this deployment you can collect the information regarding the locations of all the beacons detected. The location of all the beacons detected can be retrieved:

  • REAL-TIME – calling every 5 seconds this API and using at the LOC field of EXAMPLE 2 
  • HISTORICALLY – by downloading every day the CSV daily reports​​ and using the fourth and fifth fields of each line of the CSV files

1.3 – Detect/count the number of BLE beacons in proximity of/passing by specific spots

WARNING: before planning an installation of Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker with nodes placed ONLY in the spots of interest, please be aware that with this type of installation Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker will not be able to triangulate the positions of the BLE beacons detected. This means that the locations of each one of the BLE beacons detected will be equal to the location of the node that is detecting the highest RSS (when looking at the Accuware dashboard and when calling the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker “stations” API).

Despite this, with this type of installation, you will be able to make assertions regarding the proximity of the BLE beacons detected with respect to the nodes by analyzing the RSS values returned by the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker API. Please look at this article.

Nodes – Number

It is necessary to install one node for each one of the spots that need to be monitored. If the area to be monitored is complex or big then it is necessary to sub-divide the area in sub-squares and install 1 node in the center of each square.

Nodes – Deployment model

We suggest to install each one of the nodes at the center of each specific spot that needs to be monitored. If the area to be monitored is complex or big then it is necessary to sub-divide the area in sub-squares and install 1 node in the center of each square.

Accurate estimate: feel free to use this form and provide us:

  • a floor plan with a unit of measurement and the highlighted areas that need to be monitored.
  • any information regarding constraints related to the placement of the nodes.
  • (OPTIONALLY) a floor plan with the locations of the electricity outlets (this is needed in order to minimize the number of extension cords).
  • (OPTIONALLY) 5 pictures of the environment.

We will be pleased to provide an estimate regarding the number of nodes needed and the deployment model suggested.

These are examples of where to place the nodes in production environments:

EXAMPLE 1 – Office

Accuware WiFi Tracker - Spots

The deployment of the example in the image above allows to monitor 3 spots. All the beacons detected by specific nodes with a RSS value equal or greater to a chosen threshold will be considered as inside a specific area (inside a specific radius).

Example of rules and thresholds:

  • If the RSS detected by node A is greater or equal to -50 dBm then the beacon is inside the VIOLET area.
  • If the RSS detected by node B is greater or equal to -35 dBm then the beacon is inside the YELLOW area.
  • If the RSS detected by node C is greater or equal to -70 dBm then the beacon is inside the GREEN area.

RSS vs distance (radius): even if it is true that the RSS value decreases as the distance from the node increases, it is also true that the RSS value does not decrease linearly and it is also affected by different materials in the environment. For these reasons we suggest to perform some empirical tests to determine how the RSS varies with the distance from the nodes (the spots) in your specific environment. These kind of empirical tests can be performed following the instructions in this support page.

Nodes – Physical locations

Please look at the paragraph 2.3 – Physical location of this support page.

Data collection

With this deployment you can collect the information regarding the proximity/distance of all the BLE beacons with respect to the nodes looking at the RSS values detected by Bluetooth Beacon Tracker. The raw data regarding the proximity/distance of the beacon with respect to the nodes can be retrieved:

  • REAL-TIME – calling every 5 seconds this API and looking at the RSS field of the JSON returned.
  • HISTORICALLY – by downloading every day the CSV daily reports​​ and looking the sixth and seventh fields of each line of the CSV files.

2 – Multi-floor buildings

Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker can work on multi-floor buildings, allowing to distinguish beacons located on multiple floors/levels. Anyway, the attenuation introduced by the floors is not enough to ensure that the beacons detected are on the same level in which the nodes are installed. This is because the propagation of the Bluetooth is spherical and the nodes are able to detect the Bluetooth signal of beacons within a spherical radius of 100-150 feet. This means that Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker triangulates the locations of beacons located not only on the floor in which the nodes are installed, but also on the floors above and below.

In order to create a distinction between beacons located on multiple floors, there are 2 options:

  1. the first (more reliable) solution is to install a comparable number of nodes on the floors above and below the floor of interest. The nodes must be placed inside the Accuware dashboard on different logical Levels according to the physical floors in which they are installed (this can be done by adding new levels using the Levels section of the dashboard). In addition, by keeping the same vertical alignment of the nodes of different levels the results will be better (reducing the possibility of jumps between the levels).
  2. the second solution is to analyze the RSS value provided by the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker “station” API (or provided inside the CSV files) to create a filter that considers on a different floor, all the beacons with a very low RSS value (i.e. minor or equal to -80 dBm) and thus physically on the floor above or below. Please take a look at the RSS fields returned in the EXAMPLE 2 of this page.

Even if it is true that the RSS value for a beacon decreases as the distance from the nodes increases, it is also true that the RSS value does not decrease linearly and it is also affected by different materials in the environment. For these reasons we suggest to perform some empirical tests to determine how the RSS varies with the distance from the nodes in your specific environment. These kind of empirical tests can be performed following the instructions in this support page.

PLEASE READ:

  • The field “Altitude (meters)” that can be added for each “Level” is just for your reference but it is not taken into account by the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker algorithm at this time.
  • For each Site you will find the default level with LevelID 0. This level can not be eliminated.
  • Using the Accuware dashboard it is possible to create up to 30 Levels (in addition to the Level 0). Additional levels can be created using this PUT API call.