BLE Beacon Placement Guidelines

Sarah Blaszak -

BLE Beacon Placement Guidelines

This document provides information on how and where to place BLE beacons.

What beacons should I use with Neon?

We recommend using Reco, Kontakt, Beaconinside, or TRX beacons.

Where should I place beacons?

In general, the following method should be used when determining where to place beacons:

  1. Identify areas requiring higher accuracy. This is highly dependent on the specific deployment scenario. For example, a transient security deployment in a hotel may require higher accuracy in several meeting rooms and the entrances. Whereas a training deployment on a fire ground requires higher accuracy on those floors of a burn building that will be used during training.
  2. Identify the likely paths that tracked users will take. Look for opportunities to use the choke-point method at doorways and corridor intersections. For example, for a hotel security deployment, beacons would be placed at the hotel entrance and near doorways to meeting rooms.
  3. Identify the areas where people will be turning on their tracking units. Ensure that users will get a good initialization when they turn on their tracking units. Ensure that these areas are within two meters of a beacon,or surrounded by beacons.
  4. Configure building features when possible. Areas in front of elevators or doors leading to stairwells can be good locations for choke-points, as beacons provide both 2D and 3D corrections. However, a beacon may not be needed at these locations if one can pre-map elevators and stairs. NEON will correct a user's 2D location to these features when they are pre-mapped, but will not correct a user's 3D location.
  5. Eliminate overlapping beacons. After placing beacons using the choke-point method, you may notice that some of your beacons are providing double-coverage. Look for opportunities to combine the use of beacons being used for different purposes. For example, a beacon that is being used at the choke-point entrance to a meeting room can also be used as one of the beacons that is used to surround the interior of the meeting room.
  6. Deploy. Physically place the beacons and configure their locations using the Mapper app.
  7. Test and adjust. After deploying beacons using these guidelines, test the deployment. This is an important step to validate the choice of deployment locations. While testing, look for areas where accuracy needs to be improved and correct by adding or relocating a beacon to that location.

Should I place beacons at choke-points or use them to surround an area?

The choke-point method is useful when tracked persons will pass within two-meters of the choke point location. This is typical for entrances to buildings, hallway intersections and doorways. Placement for high-accuracy in open areas requires the use of the surround method.

How many beacons do I need?

You need at least three beacons to set up an area of initialization. You should place at least one beacon per floor of the building where you want to track.

The following formula can be used when instrumenting an area for surrounding an area of arbitrary size. Please note that this formula should not be used by itself to estimate a number of beacons for an overall building installation.

Where should I place beacons for initialization?

The most important single factor in obtaining accurate results with NEON is to ensure that the system is able to obtain a precise, accurate location during initialization. An adequate initialization is one that conforms to the following criteria:

  1. The user turns on the tracking unit within one meter of a beacon; and
  2. The user walks within two meters of at least 2 additional beacons that are spaced at least 10 meters apart; and
  3. The beacons should not be collinear.

Where should I place beacons to improve accuracy?

Place beacons in areas where improved accuracy is needed. There are two methods for placing these beacons:

  • Choke-pointing - placing a single beacon at a doorway, hallway intersection, or similar natural choke-point. NEON uses the close proximity to the known location of the beacon to improve accuracy.
  • Surrounding - place beacons so that they surround an area needing higher accuracy. NEON uses the various ranges from the surrounding beacons to improve accuracy.

Placement of beacons for a room needing higher accuracy should follow the following rules:

  1. Beacons are placed on each of the outer corners of the area,
  2. Beacons are placed evenly along the exterior perimeter of the area approximately every 25 meters.
  3. Remaining beacon should be placed evenly inside the area.

Tips

  • You will get a better initialization if you place beacons at waist level rather than mounting them close to the ceiling.
  • You will get very good ranges if you walk towards a beacon that is placed at the end of a long hallway.

 

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