IoT Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon

Bluetooth beacons are hardware transmitters – a class of Bluetooth low energy (LE) devices that repeatedly transmit a constant signal that other devices can “see”. The radio signal that is made up of a combination of letters and numbers transmitted on short, regular intervals, it can be device identifier, temperature data, or other sensor data. The technology enables smartphones, gateway, access point and other devices to perform actions when they receive the beacon signal once in range.

KKM provides variety of Bluetooth beacons, including small size portable beacons, waterproof beacon, wearable beacon, ultra-long beacon and asl well as industrial use beacons. Mounting of KKM beacons is simple and extremely flexible. The housing is available in different shapes and colors so that the devices can be integrated unobtrusively and easily into any environment. The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and KKM patented algorithm enables battery operation over two to eight years without having to access an external power supply. 

Beacons can also provide sensor data. They may include sensor capabilities in order to allow the detection of movement (accelerometer), temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, and magnetism. This makes them particularly suitable for applications in the field of home and office automation, healthcare, retail, and industry.

Functionality of Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons

Bluetooth beacons are small radio transmitters that send out signals in a radius of 10-30 meters (indoor) and up to 100 meters (outdoor). The advantages of beacons are obvious: They are cost-effective ( four to fourty usd), can be installed with minimal effort, determine a position accurately up to 1 meter and are supported by many operating systems and devices. The BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) standard is also very energy efficient. Beacons can be used for both client-based as well as server-based applications. With beacons it is possible to detect the current floor.

KKM KBeacon Series

K11 Portable Beacon
Keychain Portable Design
SOS Button Support
CR2032 Battery Replaceable
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K3 Waterproof Beacon
IP67 Waterproof
Up to 4-Years Battery Life
Accelerometer Sensor
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F1 Rechargeable Beacon
Built with Sound Design
IP67 & Magnet Charger
SOS/Panic Button Support
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K21 Portable Beacon
With Sound/buzzer Design
SOS Button Support
CR2032 Battery Replaceable
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K4 Waterproof Beacon
IP67 Waterproof
4-Years Battery Life (replaceable)
Accelerometer Sensor
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K7 Card Beacon
Variety of NFC support
IP67 Waterproof
SOS Button Support
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K12 Waterproof Beacon
IP67 Waterproof
Keychain Design
Up to 3-Years Battery Life
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K8 Waterproof Beacon
IP65 Waterproof
External Button
Accelerometer Sensor
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U1 USB Beacon
Plug and Play
No Battery maintanence
Compact & Portable
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K9 Long Range Beacon
IP67 Waterproof
Long Range Support
Up to 8-Years Battery Life
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K6 Sensor Beacon
Temperature & Humidity Sensor
Up to 8-Years Battery Life
Accelerometer or other Sensor available
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W59 Bracelet Beacon
With Sound & Vibration
IP67 Waterproof
USB Easy-Charge
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K5 Bracelet Beacon
Bracelet or Pendant type
Water resistance
BLE5.0 low power consumption
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Client-based

If the positioning data should be directly displayed on a mobile device (smartphone), the smartphone receives Bluetooth signals from beacons installed in the building and uses the signal strength measurement for localization. The device can also transfer the data to the KKM LocAware platform, where it is intelligently processed. The accuracy of a client-based procedure is 1-3 meters, the range up to 30 meters.

SERVER-BASED

In the case of a server-based positioning, the beacon attached to the asset to be tracked sends BLE signals to KKM Locator Nodes that are installed in the building. The Locator Node processes the provided data and sends it via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or UMTS to the KKM LocAware platform. Here, the position is displayed on a map and motion statistics can be retrieved. The accuracy of a server-based procedure is less than 8 meters (0.5-1 meter when using Bluetooth 5.1), the range up to 75 meters.

Bluetooth Low Energy beacons are available from numerous vendors and come in various shapes and sizes for different use cases. The solutions of KKM using the industry standard Bluetooth Smart to manufacture Beacons.

Parameterization and Interferences of Beacons

Beacons have specific indicators that can be used for allocation, differentiation and parameterization. For iBeacons, these include UUID (association to a superordinate group, e.g. “HONGKONG Airport”), Major (association to a specific group, e.g. “Terminal 1”), Minor (identification of several beacons, e.g. “Beacon #10”), TX Power (signal strength) and transmission interval.

Eddystone beacons have several “frame types” that differentiate them from the iBeacon: Eddystone UUID: (16-digit ID that indicates the group association and identity of an individual beacon), Eddystone URL (freely selectable URL) and Eddystone TLM (current status of the beacon).

Bluetooth beacons normally do not affect other radio networks (interference) and they also do not interfere with medical devices. However, if you install beacons in a space with lots of Wi-Fi signals (for example, at a trade show), then interference can occur because BLE and Wi-Fi share the same frequency range (2.4 GHz). The problem can be easily avoided here by not using channels 2, 3, 4, 13 and 14 when configuring the Wi-Fi and using 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 instead. Bluetooth uses the remaining available channels to capacity in a uniform manner (frequency hopping). Advertising channels that are used for positioning are marked in red in the graphic. The blue-colored channels are reserved for additional functions such as a temperature sensor.

There are attenuations in the signal dispersion within buildings for BLE beacons. Corresponding characteristics are taken into account when installing and during parameterization.

Low attenuation properties:
Wood, synthetic materials, glass
Medium attenuation properties: Brick, marble
High attenuation properties: Plaster, concrete, coated glass surfaces (bulletproof versions, etc.)
Extremely high attenuation properties: Metal, water (this includes people and groups of people)

Use Cases for Indoor Positioning with Beacons

There are multiple application scenarios for indoor positioning with Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. Here are some examples:

Asset Tracking

BLE beacons can be attached to valuable or expensive objects. When a beacon leaves a defined area (geofencing), an alarm is triggered or security receives a notification.

Software solution used: Indoor Tracking, Geo-Based Services
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Investigation of Bicycle Theft

Evacuation

Employees and visitors in large buildings can be equipped with a beacon (ID card format). In case of an emergency it is then possible to determine the number and position of people still in the building and to evacuate them.

Software solution used: Indoor Tracking
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Evacuation of Employees and Visitors

Inventory management

Each object that should be tracked is equipped with a KBeacon. The position and characteristics of the objects (department, purchasing date, value, etc.) can be displayed in a web interface at any time. You can also use KKM Gateway or App to make our Beacon ringing, to help you locate by the sound.

Software solution used: Indoor Tracking
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Inventory of Economic Assets on Company Premises

Indoor location & navigation

Beacons enable indoor navigation for shopping mall, airline or rail passengers. Using an app, they can easily find the right gate/track or important points of interest such as cash machines, rest rooms and ticket counters. This works with Android and iOS devices.

Software solution used: Indoor Navigation
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Intermodal Travel Planning

Digital services (mobile app)

Digital services help companies to optimize processes, further improve the customer experience and offer customer and business insights.

Software solution used: Indoor Navigation, Geo-Based Services
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Digital Services for Hotel Guests and Staff

Tracking solution with information display

A tracking solution with E-Ink display ensures the proper condition of hospital beds, facilitates the work of hospital staff and enables a smooth process flow.

Software solution used: Indoor Tracking
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Tracking Solution with Information Display for Hospital Beds

LED identification of goods (Pick-to-Light)

In large warehouses, indoor navigation and Pick-to-Light solutions can make picking processes more efficient.

Software solution used: Indoor Navigation, Indoor Tracking
Sensors used: Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)
Example of use: Indoor Navigation and LED Identification of Goods in Logistics