Accuware Indoor Navigation leverages the radio signals transmitted by Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons already available (or installed ad-hoc) in the area. This means that a proper configuration and deployment of the radio signals is the key for a successful installation of Accuware Indoor Navigation.

Step 1 – Identify the type of radio signals

The type of radio signals that must be available inside the environment is a function of the target devices that will benefit from the Indoor Navigation engine. Specifically if the target devices are:

  • Android devices on which there will be your App compiled using the Accuware SDK for Android, then you need an environment with Wi-Fi access points (2.4 or 5 GHz) and/or iBeacons installed. Please keep in mind that at least Android 4.3 must be available on the target devices to take advantage of iBeacons and/or Wi-Fi access points.
  • iOS devices on which there will be your App compiled using the Accuware SDK for iOS, then you need an environment with iBeacons installed. It is not possible to take advantage of Wi-Fi due to some limitations imposed by Apple. Please keep in mind that:
    • At least iOS 7 must be available on the following target devices to take advantage of iBeacons:
      • at least iPhone 4s
      • at least iPad (3rd gen)
      • at least iPad mini
      • at least iPod touch (5th gen)
  • Android devices + iOS devices on which there will be your App compiled using the Accuware SDK for Android and iOS, then you need an environment with iBeacons installed. Please keep in mind that:
    • At least Android 4.3 must be available on the target devices to take advantage of iBeacons.
    • At least iOS 7 must be available on the following target devices to take advantage of iBeacons:
      • at least iPhone 4s
      • at least iPad (3rd gen)
      • at least iPad mini
      • at least iPod touch (5th gen)
  • other laptops, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches on which there will be an application that will use the Indoors “locate” API call, then you need an environment with Wi-Fi access points (2.4 or 5 GHz) and/or iBeacons depending on the availability of a Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth chip on the aforementioned devices and their ability to use the Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth chip to collect the radio signals in the environment.
  • any kind of embedded device (e.g. laptops, medical equipment, vehicles etc..) on which there will be a firmware that will use the Indoors “locate” API call, then you need an environment with Wi-Fi access points (2.4 or 5 GHz) and/or iBeacons depending on the availability of a Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth chip on the aforementioned devices and their ability to use the Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth chip to collect the radio signals in the environment.

Now you are completely aware about the type of radio signals (Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth) that must be available inside your environment to make your venue location aware.

Step 2 – Compute the amount of radio signals

2.1 – In a lab/house/office

Very often we are asked what is the minimum number of radio signals for a test installation of Indoors inside a test environment like an office/lab/house. We recommend to carry out a test installation with at least 5 radio signals. This is the right number of radio signals to get meaningful results and understand how the system behaves. Keep in mind that 5 radio signals can provide meaningful location results inside an area of about 450 sqm. If you want to test the system in a bigger area (or deploy the system in production) then you should refer to the next paragraph to understand how to estimate the minimum number of radio signals that should be available in a wider area.

2.2 – In a production environment

There is no unique and standard equation to compute the perfect number of radio signals for each environment and there is no limit regarding the maximum number. Increasing the radio signals density will always increase the system accuracy. However, from the accuracy standpoint, we have a couple of suggestions regarding the minimum number of radio signals that need to be detected in your environment in order to get close to a desired accuracy (for a defined area dimension):

    \[Radio Signals = (\frac{\sqrt{Area}}{Radio Signal Spacing}+1)^{2}\]

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

~12 meters of RADIO SIGNALS SPACING -> leads an AVERAGE ACCURACY of ~1 meter 
~18 meters of RADIO SIGNALS SPACING -> leads an AVERAGE ACCURACY of ~2 meters

Step 3 – Check the amount of radio signals

Once you are aware about the type of radio signals that must be available, you need to check the amount of radio signals already available in the environment in order to understand if additional radio signals may be needed.

PLEASE READ: if you are already aware about the fact that:

  • there are no Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons inside your environment
  • or the locations of the Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons already installed might change over time

…then you can skip paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 and go to Step 4!

The amount of radio signals can be checked in 2 ways:

3.1 – Use an application

The amount of available radio signals can be checked by using an application to detect Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons:

  • Wi-Fi access points – can be detected using the Wi-Fi manager built in any smartphone/laptop or using a 3rd party application, such as Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android.
  • iBeacons – can be detected by using any of the many 3rd party application available on iTunes or Google Play when searching: iBeacons.

Walking inside the entire environment, you need to verify (using one of the applications above) if there are at least 3-4 radio signals visible at the same time during the whole walk. If there is a lack of radio signals inside specific areas of the environment you need to take note of those areas marking them on a printed version of your floor plan, because additional Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons must be added in those areas (as explained in the paragraph 3).

3.2 – Ask the network administrator

The amount of available radio signals can be checked by asking the owner of the venue or the network administrator, that can provide a floor plan with the current deployment of Wi-Fi access points or iBeacons.

Accurate estimate: if you provide us with a floor plan with a measurement unit, the highlighted areas in which the system will be used, and the locations of the existing sources of radio signals, we can let you know if the amount and distribution of radio signals is good enough to reach the objectives of your project. If there are no radio signals, we will provide you with an estimate regarding the amount of radio signals needed and the deployment model suggested.

Step 4 – Configuration of the radio signal sources

The Wi-Fi access points and the iBeacons already available (or installed ad-hoc) must be configured properly in order to be detected during the fingerprinting process and used during the positioning process.

4.1 – iBeacons

The configuration process of the BLE beacons that are compliant with the iBeacon standard (from now on simply iBeacons) is similar for all the vendors because as just mentioned the “iBeacon” is a standard and this means that all the vendors should expose the same parameters inside their configuration Apps. More information about the iBeacons (where to purchase them, interference etc..) can be found inside this page.

The iBeacons must be configured with these parameters:

  • Transmission power – set to the maximum (usually 3 or 4 dBm). If you are concerned about battery powered iBeacons, keep in mind that the Transmission power has a really small impact on the battery life.
  • Advertisement rate – this parameter has a big impact on the battery life of the iBeacons. There can be 3 scenarios:
    1. all iBeacons powered with power supplies – 0.5 second/advertisement (2 advertisement/second)
    2. all iBeacons powered with batteries – 1 second/advertisement
    3. mix of iBeacons powered with batteries and power supplies – 1 second/advertisement
  • UUID, Major, Minor:
    • make sure there are no other iBeacons installed with the same UUID of your iBeacons.
    • UUID: leave as-is.
    • Major: leave to 0.
    • Minor: different for each iBeacon! 
  • Standard: if it can be set, then it needs to be set like this:
    • iBeacon – ON
    • AltBeacon, Eddystone UID and Eddystone URL standards – OFF

If you have any kind of doubt regarding the configuration of your iBeacons please submit a support request using this form and tell us the exact model of iBeacon that you want to configure and we will be more than pleased to help you.

SUGGESTION: write on each iBeacon the combination of Major and Minor with a permanent marker.

4.2 – Wi-Fi access points (can’t be used with iOS devices)

You can install Wi-Fi access points working on 2.4 and/or 5 GHz. Anyway please remember that some old Android devices might not be able to detect 5 GHz radio signals. So, please choose and configure carefully the type of Wi-Fi access points needed for your project.

The Wi-Fi access points must be configured with these parameters:

  • Transmission power: set to the maximum (often 20-26 dBm).
  • SSID: at least 1 SSID must be active. The access points must be set to broadcast their identifier.
  • SSID visibility: it does not matter.
  • MAC address: must be unique for all the Wi-Fi access points within the same site/location.
  • Internet connection: IF the devices that will make use of the Indoors engine will be able to connect to Internet using another Internet connection (another Wi-Fi network or cellular data) then it is not necessary to provide Internet connection through the access points. In this case the access points need only electricity to transmit their SSIDs.

If you have any kind of doubt regarding the configuration of your Wi-Fi access points please submit a support request using this form and tell us the exact model of access point that you want to configure and we will be more than pleased to help you.

Step 5 – Install radio signal sources

5.1 – Deployment model of the radio signal sources

As explained inside the Accuracy page, the most accurate results can be obtained when tracking devices inside the perimeter defined by the radio signal sources. This is the reason why the first step during the deployment of the radio signal sources, is to place them along the perimeter of the area that will contain devices to be tracked. Once a first set of radio signal sources has been placed along the perimeter then you can place the remaining radio signal sources uniformly (in a grid pattern) inside the area that you want to monitor.

Accurate estimate: if you provide us with a floor plan with a measurement unit, the highlighted areas in which the system will be used, and the locations of the existing sources of radio signals, we can let you know if the amount and distribution of radio signals is good enough to reach the objectives of your project. If there are no radio signals, feel free to use this form and provide us:

  • a floor plan with a unit of measurement and the highlighted areas of interest.
  • a floor plan with the locations of the electricity outlets (this is needed in order to minimize the number of extension cords).
  • 8-10 meaningful pictures of the environment (if available).
  • any information regarding constraints related to the placement of the radio signals.

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

Where to install 6 Wi-Fi access points or iBeacons

Where to install 15 Wi-Fi access points or iBeacons

5.2 – Multi-floor buildings

Accuware Indoors can work inside multi-storey buildings, allowing to track (or provide location to) devices located on the various floors. In order to track (or provide location to) devices inside multiple floors of a building, you have to:

  1. Create multiple logical Levels according to the multiple physical floors in which you want to use Accuware Indoor Navigation. You can create more levels by following these steps:
    1. Access the Accuware dashboard at this link.
    2. Select General > Levels.
    3. Click on the Add Level button.
    4. Select the Level ID and assign a Name and a Description (optional).
    5. Click on Save.
  2. Upload a floor plan for each one of the levels of interest following the instructions in Choose a reference System page.
  3. Make sure you have (or install) a comparable number of Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons on all the floors of interest. If you are installing a set of Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons please remember that you can reduce the possibility of jumps between the levels by keeping the same vertical alignment of the Wi-Fi access points and/or iBeacons installed on different levels.
  4. Perform the fingerprinting process on ALL the floors of interest.

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 Wi-Fi Location Monitor 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 the PUT call at this link.

5.3 – Physical locations

The physical location of the radio signal sources affects the system accuracy. If you have the freedom to install the radio signal sources in your preferred locations then we suggest to install them in these physical locations (in order of preference):

  1. on the ground.
  2. on the lower part of a wall/column.
  3. an any other item that is very close to the ground or to the ceiling. Please make sure the signal source is attached to an object that won’t be moved.
  4. on the ceiling.
  5. inside a false-ceiling.
  6. on the upper part of a wall/column.

IMPORTANT SUGGESTIONS:

  • if possible, try to avoid install the radio signal sources halfway between the ceiling and the floor (e.g. on desks).
  • if possible, try to avoid to mix the physical locations (e.g. some radio signal sources close to the ground and some radio signal sources close to the ceiling)
  • print your floor plan and write down the location of each radio signal source installed and its ID (the MAC address for the WiFi access points and the UUID, Major and Minor for the iBeacons.