Bluetooth SIG + Webinar: Actual Location Systems Disruption

Did you miss the + Bluetooth SIG webinar?
We’ve got the webinar slides and recording to get you up to speed!
On August 17th,’s Steffen von Bünau joined Martin Woolley of Bluetooth SIG to discuss the future of beacons and Bluetooth. In our Bluetooth, Beacons and What’s Next: An Actual Location Systems Disruption? webinar, the two talked location systems, use cases, and future possibilities in the space.
As Bünau explains, though beacons were originally used for less sophisticated use cases like those found in marketing and loyalty programs, we’re now seeing a big shift. With Bluetooth 5 and Mesh, beacons can begin moving into more advanced uses. Here are the key takeaways on how the beacon space is changing.
Two triggers driving changes in beacon usage: cost of Gateway (reader) and capabilities of tags.
Not to mention, the ubiquity of Gateways when using mobile phones!

One tool, two uses

We’re not only seeing more use cases these days, we’re seeing a fundamentally different kind of use case emerge. Bünau breaks these uses down into two types.

 /></p><p>In short, we can use location data to locate equipment, confirming that assets are there and increasing asset usage. We can also step back and use location data to understand how assets are being used over time.</p><h2>Some questions, answered:</h2><p><em>How much information (or “characters”) can be used on beacons and Beacon Pro?</em><br />The amount of information sent depends on the Bluetooth version, protocol, and sensors on the beacon. But, for example, before Bluetooth 5, beacons could only send 31 bytes of information at a time. Bluetooth 5 now supports the possibility to send a total of 248 bytes.<br /><em>What’s a Gateway?</em><br />A Gateway picks up a signal of a tag and estimates the distance of a tag to the Gateway itself. It then sends that data to the cloud for further processing.<br /><em>What’s a tag?</em><br />The tag in this case is a Bluetooth tag, which is basically another way to describe the beacon. “Tag” is a more appropriate term to describe beacons moving around a space and being located by a fixed device (for example, Gateway). “Beacons,” on the other hand, generally stay in a fixed location and send out information to the readers passing by.<br /><em>Can tags only be registered by one Gateway at a time?</em><br />Thought tags do have limited range, they can communicate with multiple scanning devices at the same time.<br /><em>How accurately can we calculate distance between Gateway and tag?</em><br />The first step in any location system is either deriving the distance between Gateway and tag or the Angle of Arrival (AoA) of a signal or the time of flight between a signal being broadcasted and being received. Both the distance determined via received signal strength (RSSI) and time of flight work as key inputs in trilateration to derive X and Y coordinates. Thus, the results here will be as reliable as the inputs. Expect an accuracy of 3-4 meters at line of sight, declining with range.</p><ul><li>Note: typically it’s more valuable to understand the functional accuracy needed for your use case than to simply strive for the most accurate system. If you’re interested in presence data, you won’t require extreme accuracy. The low price-point of Bluetooth-based RTLS and similar systems is what makes the technology so valuable and also viable.</li></ul><p><a href= width=