5 Tips for Indoor Positioning you need to know

Silvia Pichler, 
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Indoor Positioning is about creating an indoor version of Google Maps. This technology will become one of the more important innovations of the next 10 years. More and more industries discover Indoor Location Based services for their very own use cases (f.ex. Navigation at large scale trade shows, high value asset tracking or Industrial) to help themselves improve efficiency and work flows as well as increase customer satisfaction.

There are however some pitfalls, which you should try to avoid in order to make your project a success.

The top 5 Indoor Positioning Mistakes to avoid:

1. Using Beacons that are low on battery

Now this first one may seem obvious, but always make sure your Beacons are fully charged before mounting them on walls. Their batteries usually have a lifespan of about three years. You don’t want to do the whole initial setup and after six months find out that it doesn’t work properly anymore, because, you guessed it, your Beacons’ batteries are drained.

Ordering new Beacons, configuring and installing them again to be used for your setup takes its time and is an unnecessary setback you definitely want to avoid.

Now, how do you check a Beacon’s battery life? You could either do it manually and follow all these steps as described in this article. If you would like to take a shortcut, however, you can also use indoo.rs Proximity and comfortably check on one click. Another option would be to use USB powered Beacons, which don’t run on battery but are powered from a USB port.

2. Installing Beacons without really knowing where and how to

We understand you would like to begin with your project as soon as possible and the Beacon installation is a key procedure before you can finally get started. However, you should bear in mind, that in order to make your installation work and be as precise as possible, you should follow some simple rules.

So before you start putting them up in random places, consider these five tips for Beacon installation:

  • Don’t place the Beacons too far away from the smartphone user, e.g. don’t mount them on a 6m high ceiling.
  • Consider the size of each room you want to place them in when choosing the amount of Beacons.
  • You should not place the Beacons inside or onto signal blocking or metal objects like light fixtures, stone floors etc.
  • Leave enough space between the Beacons. One every 8-10 meters.
  • Last but not least, don’t think too economically. You don’t want to have a non-working infrastructure because you didn’t purchase enough Beacons. Use our Beacon Calculator as a measure for the approximate number of Beacons you require

beacon placement

You can find a more detailed manual for Beacon placement here: https://my.indoo.rs/javadoc/mmt_guide/#PositioningBLEBeacons

3. Using maps that do not match the actual physical environment

In order to enable Indoor Navigation and Proximity in real time on your phone, one of the most important steps is to upload a map of the respective building, in which you want to use the solution, onto the platform (for indoo.rs it is the Measurement Tool, MMT).

With an out-of-date map, you will fail to take correct ground truths due to the absence of reference points and the building cannot be mapped (Radio data created).

Using indoo.rs, you can even use a self-drawn map, it doesn’t need to be fancy. All you have to make sure of, is that it doesn’t deviate from the real building.

4. Choosing the wrong scale of the building on the map

You should be really careful here. Choosing the wrong scale for your map and building can cause major problems later on. If it differs just by a few centimeters, there won’t be any noticeable issues, but if it deviates greatly from the correct one, it can have big effects on your project, and in the worst case you may even have to start measurements from scratch again.

Indoor Positioning tips - scale

Pay attention when choosing the scale for your radio map

 

When using indoo.rs, our SLAM Engine will generate Fingerprints for you in predefined distances to create an accurate map of the building.

However, if the scale you set is completely off, there’s a chance that way too few Fingerprints will be generated to allow for decent Indoor Positioning. The main problem is that you are very likely to notice it only when everything is already finished and you are running tests.

To help you avoid mistakes like these, we provide a scale in our MMT, which should serve as help to choose the right scale.

5. Confusing MMT recordings with a SLAM job

The last mistake is indoo.rs specific and related to our SLAM technology. Some of our customers have had questions about this before, so we would like to clarify them. In order to use indoo.rs, you first have to create an account at my.indoo.rs, download the Measurement Tool (MMT) and upload your building map, where you then create recordings.

These recordings, however, are not SLAM recordings yet! In order to use SLAM, you have to contact our support team and request a SLAM job. One of our engineers then will do the SLAM job manually for you and provide you with the updated map afterwards. Now you can enjoy the results of SLAM in all their glory.

Key Findings:

  1. Check your Beacon’s battery life
  2. Check instructions on how to position Beacons correctly
  3. Make sure the map you are using is congruent with the actual physical floor plan
  4. Set the right scale for your building on the map
  5. After making recordings in the MMT, contact us for using SLAM

If you have further questions about using indoo.rs, you may want to check out our FAQ section or request support