Do you manage your Beacons right?

Silvia Pichler, 
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Beacons are small radio transmitters that send out information about their position. Due to cost-effectiveness and reliability, Indoor Positioning and Navigation solutions based on iBeacon technology rank high on the popularity list.

 

In order to use Beacons for a location-based use case, you have to install them on the walls inside a building. To get sufficient coverage and high accuracy positioning results, it is crucial to know exactly how many are required and where to put them. Furthermore, it is important these Beacons be maintained and managed effectively. Using a sophisticated management platform can make all the difference.

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What you should know before installing Beacons

One of the pitfalls is mounting the Beacons too low or high up on the walls. In the former case, passers-by may take them down or even steal them. In the latter, the signal reception may be insufficient. Since Beacons send out Bluetooth signals, it is also important to make sure they are not interfered by certain materials such as metal or poorly shielded cabling.

 

Moreover, we always make it a point to use strong adhesive tape when putting the Beacons on the walls. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the same situation as the Brooklyn Museum. Their Beacons did not stick well enough to their walls and kept falling off, triggering a series of unfortunate events.

 

The Beacons that had come off were often picked up by visitors, handed over to security guards who put them on someone’s desk. When they were lucky, including a note saying what area of the building they were found in. When they were less lucky, the Beacons lying on the floor would be thrown away by cleaning staff, messing up the whole Positioning system.

 

Managing Beacons effectively

So, how could scenarios like these be prevented? First of all, one may argue that the installation was destined to fail in the first place, because the Beacons didn’t stick to the wall well enough. Using stronger tape may have fixed this. However, the museum also mentions that they had to stick them onto multiple different surfaces, some of which are not a good fit for Beacons.

 

Beacons coming off the walls is not a common problem, but it can happen. In such cases it is important to be able to identify the Beacon and its intended location on the wall. If the Beacon doesn’t have an ID tag, finding out the location can turn out quite difficult.

 

This is where an effective Beacon Infrastructure Management can help save a lot of time and trouble. All Beacons used in an installation are registered in the system and can be found on a digital map in the back-end tool.

 

A valuable feature is that you can also check the health status of every single Beacon at any time. Should one run low on battery, you’ll be notified and know exactly where you can find and replace it. This way you are able to take preemptive measures such as ordering new Beacons before they completely run out of battery to ensure a smooth replacement process.

 

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The Beacon Infrastructure Management system lists all Beacons used in the installation, their location inside the building and battery status.

 

In a nutshell

Implementing an Indoor Positioning and Navigation System is no small feat and requires an understanding of how the hardware has to be placed inside the venue. If the Beacons are not mounted correctly, they may as a result come off the walls again, causing the whole Positioning to fail.

 

An effective Beacon Management system allows users to identify Beacons low on battery or Beacons missing completely and locate them on a digital map. This substantially facilitates maintenance to keep the system running at all times without interruptions.

 

If you are planning to do an Indoor Positioning installation, get in touch with us now!

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