Bluetooth Location Services is an innovative communication feature that lets two Bluetooth-enabled devices determine how close they are through a received signal strength indicator (RSSI). It is one of the embedded systems.
As of version 5.1, Bluetooth includes direction-finding technology, which improves the coverage of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals and location accuracy up to a centimeter. Angular data from fixed and portable receivers and portable devices allow this, such as Angle of Arrival (AoA) or Angle of Departure (AoD).
Areas of Use for Bluetooth Location Services
Reports indicate that about 80% of warehouse workers still do their jobs using pen and paper. As a result, human mistakes continue to be the most serious problem for approximately 46% of warehouse and storage organizations.
Beacons with BLE capabilities are a common fixture in warehouses alongside other technologies such as packaging robots, voice-activated picking systems, warehouse management software, and portable barcode scanners. The data the beacons collect can load into resource planning software on the back end. This connectivity helps warehouse managers simplify inventory counts, identify products faster, and use storage space effectively. Then, warehouse managers can also track employees’ locations and restrict access to particular warehouse areas.
Bluetooth Location Services’ primary retail application is to encourage impulse buying.
Beacons can transmit one-way messages to customers’ smartphones when attached to shops’ windows, walls, or shelves. Various applications that use mobile operating systems to look for nearby beacons can identify these messages. Companies like Target, for example, build apps to capture customer data like dwell duration, food traffic, and location. In contrast, smaller companies rely on 3rd-party app publishers to integrate beacon tracking into their apps. For example, when an app detects a beacon, it can alert the company’s server that a consumer is loitering in the dairy section. This information makes push alerts possible.
However, retail brands using these apps need to be upfront and transparent about using customer data from beacons. They should also enforce the security of these details.
Lord & Taylor, Auchan, and Walmart are among the retailers that use beacon technology to micro-target customers. For example, proximity marketing and Bluetooth wayfinding technology allow Sam’s Club customers in Dallas to navigate the store by accessing items on their shopping lists set up on the Walmart app.
Statistics reveal that about one out of ten construction workers gets injured every year. But maybe Bluetooth can fix the construction site safety conundrum once and for all.
Embedded BLE beacons can hang on walls and factory equipment or workers can move them around on these sites. The information the beacons collect transfers to the cloud for viewing through dashboards or mobile apps. As a result, managers may track asset and employee whereabouts in real-time, recognize where an accident has occurred, and alert workers when they enter a restricted area. Engineering and construction (E & C) organizations can also benefit from Bluetooth-based solutions that improve progress tracking. For example, workers may snap images of a building site at the end of a shift (which will be geo-tagged by adjacent BLE transmitters) and send the photos to the head office.
Bluetooth is leading the charge for the digitalization of the healthcare industry. This enviable position comes from numerous innovations like indoor navigation systems employed in hospitals and connected insulin pumps that safely exchange data with mobile applications.
Staff at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly known as Miami Children’s Hospital) use BLE beacons and RFID tags to identify assets and keep track of people in its emergency ward. Patients can also use wireless thermometers like MedAngel to assist them in keeping their prescriptions according to the manufacturer’s instructions (which 93% of people don’t do). Google and Apple have also announced the introduction of a BLE-based system to track users’ contacts and prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading due to the outbreak of several novel variants.
Applications for Bluetooth Location Services
Access Control Solutions: Bluetooth Location Services play an active role in the automobile industry. The feature is integrated to the functionality of wireless key fobs and smartphone-based virtual car keys. Further, it can restrict access to dangerous or sensitive areas within factories and other industries.
Item Retrieval Solutions: Item retrieval technologies require low energy consuming BLE tags attached to moving objects such as a shopping cart, merchandise in a physical store, or a bunch of keys. Users will also want a mobile application that switches on Bluetooth on their cellphones to gather signals from BLE transmitters to locate a missing item.
Real-time Locating Systems (RTLSs): RTLS solutions, unlike more basic item-finding systems, contain numerous elements such as Bluetooth receivers located in permanent positions across a building, a centralized server, and Bluetooth tags. It is possible to equip either moving objects or humans can be equipped with these tags, which send periodic signals. The receiver then captures this data and transmits it to the server. Based on the signal strength and known position of each receiver, the server determines the exact location of each object. RTLS systems are already common in warehouses, hospitals, and construction sites.
Point-of-Interest (PoI) Recommendation Systems: With a point-of-interest (PoI) system, companies can engage smartphone users strolling past a restaurant, shop, or museum. Small battery-powered Bluetooth signal transmitters – called beacons – are deployed by companies across their facilities to deliver promotional messages to clients. Users must first download a mobile app that allows their cellphones to tune in to nearby beacons to obtain contextual info. Retailers were the primary users of Point-of-Interest recommendation systems at first. Today, linked buildings, smart industries, and Smart Cities have adopted the technology.
Indoor Positioning Systems: Bluetooth transmitters also operate as part of IPS solutions, which communicate with mobile apps pre-installed on smartphones. Using BLE signals, the applications assess the strength of the signal to determine a user’s exact location at any time. The use of indoor positioning technologies, such as Bluetooth, enables users to navigate huge office buildings, airports, retail establishments, and other locations where GPS and satellite navigation are impossible.
In A Nutshell
According to statistical projections, global sales of Bluetooth devices will hit the 6.2 billion units mark around 2024. And 538 million of them will be equipped with Bluetooth Location Services. If you need embedded software development services, turn to our expert team.
Other proximity solutions such as Wi-Fi, GPS, and RFID can have low positioning accuracy and require a cost-intensive infrastructure. In contrast, Bluetooth is a highly-regarded platform. It supports a signal-transmission range of up to 300 meters, offers integrated technology, and is extremely power-effective.