PLEASE READ: if you need information about:

  • OLD BLE nodes (V1) with external antennas please refer to this page.
  • BLE nodes (V2) without external antennas and WiFi interface please refer to this page.

Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker is a real-time tracking system to track Bluetooth Low Energy devices (from now on BLE devices) inside multi-floor buildings. BLE devices are very tiny transmitters with a very long battery life (years) that can be used for assets and people tracking. The Accuware server estimates the BLE devices locations in the area of interest by trilaterating the data collected by Bluetooth Low Energy nodes (from now on BLE Nodes).

Step 1 – Upload a floor plan

The first step to deploy the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker is the upload of a floor plan that can be used as a system of reference in order to place the virtual BLE Nodes inside the Accuware dashboard.

The ideal floor plan is an accurate and detailed digital image that shows the correct position of doors, walls and hallways. It must also be correctly scaled, so that the relative proportions of features are maintained when the floor plan image is stretched or shrunk.

To upload your floor plan:

  • Access the Accuware dashboard at this page.
  • Click on General > Floor Plans, and follow the instructions.
  • Keeping in mind that the floor plan must be correctly scaled, so that the relative proportions of features are maintained when the floor plan image is stretched or shrunk.
  • Use the tools at the top of the map to better position and scale the floor plan (View, Zoom In/Zoom Out, OpacityAspect ratioRuler)
  • Choose the level in which you want to upload the floor plan, and (optional) assign a name and a description to the floor plan, and click on Save.

At the end of the upload process the page will display the floor plan just uploaded in the table above the map.

Accuware Dashboard - General - Floor plans - Upload

Step 2 – Configure the BLE nodes

BLE Node V4BLE nodes V3

Each BLE Node must be configured to communicate with the Accuware server following these steps:

  1. Turn on the BLE node that you want to configure and connect it to a network using an Ethernet cable.
  2. Install the configuration application on a computer that is connected to the same network that will be used by the BLE node:
  3. Open the application.
  4. Click on the RELOAD button in the top-left corner of the application.
  5. Select the BLE node to be configured from the drop-down menu.
  6. From the Dashboard tab take note of the MAC address of this device.
  7. Click on the Application tab. Set these parameters:
    • Connection Type: MQTT Client
    • Host:  navimote2.navizon.com
    • Port: 1883
    • Publish Topic: beacons (please note that even though the value is shown by default, you need to actually type it in the text field!)
    • Request Interval: 3
    • Advertising Filter: iBeacon Only
  8. Click on Save.
  9. Click on the Advanced tab and click on Restart.
  10. (OPTIONAL WiFi configuration) after having performed the steps above the BLE node will be able to connect to the network using an Ethernet cable. If you want to configure the BLE node so that it uses a 2.4 GHz WiFi network then you have to:
    1. Click on the Network tab.
    2. Inside the Wi-Fi SSID field type the SSID of the permanent WiFi network to be used by the BLE nodes.
    3. Inside the Security Key field type the password of the permanent WiFi network (or select Open Wi-Fi Network if the network does not require a password). The permanent WiFi network is a 2.4 GHzWi-Fi network that covers ENTIRELY the area in which the BLE nodes will be installed.
    4. Click on Save.
    5. Click on the Advanced tab and click on Restart.

Repeat the configuration for all the nodes starting from Step 3 and do not touch any other parameter! DO NOT upgrade the firmware on the BLE nodes.

Step 3 – Deploying the BLE Nodes

The nodes should be deployed in a “grid” with a spacing of 12-15 meters (35-45 ft) to get the best accuracy (2-3 meters/ 6-9 ft). Increasing the BLE Nodes density will generally increase the system accuracy.

How to deploy the BLE Nodes:

  1. print the floor plan.
  2. write on the floor plan the location and the MAC address of each one of the BLE Nodes that you are installing. The MAC address is printed on the bottom of each BLE Node.

Consider installing the BLE Nodes either (in order of preference):

  • on the ground.
  • inside a false-ceiling.
  • on the ceiling.
  • on the upper or lower part of the walls.

Remember:

  • Do not place the BLE nodes halfway between ceiling and floor.
  • Completely avoid mixed configurations (e.g. half of the BLE nodes on the ground and half of the BLE nodes on the ceiling).

In both cases the performances will be negatively affected.

There is not a maximum height for the ceiling installation but it should be noted that the accuracy drops as the height increases.

Step 4 – Configure the Accuware dashboard

Inside the Accuware dashboard:

  • Select BT Beacon Tracker > Nodes.
  • Enable your floor plan by clicking on the Floor plan button in the top left corner of the map (it might take a few seconds to see the floor plan if the image is large).
  • Zoom on the floor plan as much as needed and click on the map to create a new Node (or click on an existing Node to edit its information). Enter its MAC address and optionally a name and a description that will make it easier to identify the node itself. The node positions, set using the Accuware dashboard, are used to resolve the location of the mobile devices and this is why it is mandatory to closely match the nodes’ map locations with their physical locations. A small inaccuracy (of ~0.5 meters) during the placement of the nodes is acceptable.

Repeat the steps for all the BLE Nodes that have been physically installed in your site.

Step 5 – Test Bluetooth Beacon Tracker

You can now test the tracking capabilities of Bluetooth Beacon Tracker.

  • Click on the BT Beacon Tracker > Map.
  • Verify that all the nodes are active (green). The green color indicates that the BLE Nodes are reporting data to the Accuware server.
  • Turn on ONLY the BLE beacon of interest!
  • To add a Known device inside the list of known devices you have two possibilities:
  • SCENARIO 1 – If you know the UUID, Major and Minor of the BLE device:
    • Select the BT Beacon Tracker > Devices tab.
    • Click on the Add Device button.
    • Add the UUID, Major and Minor of the BLE beacon. A unique ID will be generated by the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker dashboard. This is your pMAC.
    • (OPTIONAL) Add a Name and a Description to the BLE beacon.
    • Press Save.
  • SCENARIO 2 – If you don’t know the UUID, Major and Minor of the BLE device:
    • Select the BT Beacon Tracker > Devices tab.
    • Scroll down until you see the Other devices table.
    • You have now  two cases:
      • CASE 1 – If there is only one BLE beacon in the Other devices table then that is your BLE beacon. The BLE beacon is identified by a unique ID generated by the Accuware Bluetooth Beacon Tracker dashboard. This is your pMAC.
        1. Click on the Edit button under the Action column.
        2. (OPTIONAL) Add a Name and a Description to the BLE device.
        3. Press Save.
      • CASE 2 – If there is more than 1 BLE device in the Other devices table then you need to find out the BLE  device of interest:
        • Move only the BLE beacon of interest next to one of the BLE nodes.
        • Click on BT Beacon Tracker > Map and select the All devices switch.
        • Next to the chosen BLE Node there will be an ORANGE dot. Click on it and take note of the pMAC assigned to your BLE  device. Select the BT Beacon Tracker > Devices tab. Scroll down until you see the Other devices table and search for the pMAC address assigned to your BLE device.
        • Click on the Edit button under the Action column. Add a Name and a Description to the BLE device and press Save.
  • Click on BT Beacon Tracker > Map and select the Show switch for your BLE device (listed into the Devices table)
  • Click on the Selected button below the map. You should now be able to see a yellow dot!

You can now move the BLE device and track its movements over the floor plan.