Locating mobile devices indoors using ambient radio signals and/or images is a technique to estimate devices’ locations, that relies on the presence in a venue of sources of radio signals (e.g. WiFi access points,  iBeacons, cellular towers…) and/or on a substantial variability of the environment.

To understand how this works, please keep in mind that inside a building where there are WiFi networks and/or iBeacons, we are constantly surrounded by radio signals. Each signal source emits its own identifier, and the strength of each signal is a function of the distance from the source and the physical obstacles that lie in between. Consequently, the signals and their strengths available by the window are quite different from those by the elevator, or when walking down a hallway or inside a room. This “geographic” variability of signals and strengths throughout a venue can be used to correlate specific locations inside the venue with detectable ambient radio signals.

Similarly, the “geographic” variability of different ambients/rooms throughout a venue can be used to correlate specific locations inside the venue with the images collected by devices’ camera. Locating mobile devices using camera images is like “déjà vu location”, meaning that locations are estimated based on images the system has previously seen (and stored). It is somehow closer to how human beings do it.

A big advantage of the positioning based on radio signals and/or camera images is that it does not require the installation of additional hardware in the environment, if there are already enough radio signals in the environment and/or a meaningful variability the environment.

Accuware Wearabouts

Accuware Wearabouts is a technology that makes use of the ambient radio signals (Wi-Fi access points/iBeacons/cellular towers) and/or the camera images in order to track remotely (in real-time and over the time) people and assets indoor and outdoor.

These are the type of devices that can be tracked using Accuware Wearabouts:

  • Android smartwatches, smartphones, tablets and combo tags – installing the Wearabouts App available on Google Play.
  • iOS iPhones and iPads – installing the Wearabouts App available on iTunes.
  • Accuware Smart Tags – shipped by Accuware with the Wearabouts firmware pre-installed. The Accuware Smart Tags can be purchased from us using this form.

In the table below it is possible to see the specifics (and limits) of Wearabouts for each one of the 3 types of devices supported:

DeviceAndroidiOSSmart Tags
UsageTrack PEOPLE and ASSETSTrack PEOPLE and ASSETSTrack PEOPLE and ASSETS
INDOORS
Radio signal source
VS
Avg. radius of accuracy after stabilization

(in best conditions)
-WiFi (2.4/5 GHz)/2 meters
-iBeacons/2 meters
-images/0.5 meters
-iBeacons/2 meters-WiFi (2.4 GHz b/g/n)/2 meters
OUTDOORS
Radio signal source
VS
Avg. radius of accuracy after stabilization

(in best conditions)
-Core location (with GPS)/5 meters [accuracy not under the responsibility of Accuware]
-Cell Towers and WiFi/40 meters
-Core location (with GPS)/5 meters [accuracy not under the responsibility of Accuware]-WiFi/40 meters in urban areas
Stabilization time5-10 seconds5-10 seconds5-10 seconds
Background tracking✓ * ✓ *
Minimum required OS version-WiFi and images: >= Android 4.2.
-iBeacons: >= Android 4.3
-iBeacons >= iOS 8.xX
Location API
Internet connection (mandatory!)-Wi-Fi
-Cellular data
-Wi-Fi
-Cellular data
-Wi-Fi (only 2.4 GHz b/g)
Force location update remotelyX
Location update frequencyUp to 5 secondsUp to 5 seconds **Up to 5 seconds
Battery lifeN/A - function of the device on which the Wearabouts App is runningN/A - function of the device on which the Wearabouts App is running ~14 days (with the Smart Tag stationary and the location updated every 5 minutes)

~32-36 hours (with the Smart Tag stationary and the location updated every 10 seconds)

~18 hours (with the Smart Tag stationary and the location updated every 5 seconds)

* – Background tracking:

  • on Android: the App can be used to track the location of a device while the screen is off and while the screen is on and the App is in background. Please be aware that:
    • the App, when installed on Android >= 6.0, is subject to the limitation introduced by the Doze mechanism described at this link.
    • there are some Android Apps that may interfere with the background operation.
  • on iOS: if the App is in background, the location is updated when:
    • a new notification is received (e.g. email, message etc…).
    • a push notifications from the Accuware dashboard is received.
    • Indoor: a new iBeacons region is entered (with the deployment shown in the page Plan an installation).
    • Outdoor: there is a “significant location changes” as explained inside Apple documentation and there are new iBeacons readings ready to be uploaded.

* * – Location update frequency on iOS: the update frequency is related to an iOS device in movement and with a proper installation of the iBeacons (with the deployment shown in the page Plan an installation).