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Top 10 Tips for Your Successful Indoor Positioning Beacon Installation

By Eric Hamilton , May 12, 2020 11:40 AM EDT
(Photo : Top 10 Tips for Your Successful Indoor Positioning Beacon Installation)

In order to ensure accurate results for indoor positioning and navigation projects, more and more people are turning towards beacon-based technologies

There are many methods available when it comes to collecting indoor positioning data, but beacons are popular because they are easy-to-use, reliable, and cost effective.

While setting up positioning beacons throughout a space may sound simple enough, there are a host of tips that will help optimize your beacon infrastructure and ensure your project's success. 

Here are our top 10 most important tips for your indoor positioning beacon installation.  

1. How many beacons do you need?

Before ordering your beacons, figure out how many you will need for your installation. 

It might be tempting to just order more than you think you need, but don't. Ordering the right amount will not only keep your costs down, but installing too many beacons for a space can cause interference and reduce accuracy.

However, you don't want to order too few beacons, since you won't get insufficient coverage. Insufficient beacon coverage will lead to inaccurate positioning results.

If possible, simulate your installation and calculate what the coverage will look like. That way you can accurately determine how many beacons you will actually need.

2. Secure your permissions

You'll most likely need to obtain a permit to install indoor positioning beacons inside a building, as well as provide IDs for your on-site engineers. It's crucial that you get permission from building management and security before the installation starts. There's no reason to jeopardize your entire project by not checking in with the proper channels about installing your indoor positioning beacons.

3. Safety first

Installing positioning beacons might sound simple and straightforward in terms of security, but it's better to be prepared. In some cases, you might be installing them in buildings that are still under construction, which will require safety equipment such as protective helmets and vests.

Also, it's best to secure any additional gear your installers will need (such as ladders) beforehand.

4. Determine your locations

When installing beacons along a building's walls, it's best to place them where mobile devices can easily interact with them. Here are a few guidelines to help with this task:

  • Don't install beacons on objects or in areas that might block their signal.

  • Leave enough space between the beacons, about 8-10 meters.

  • Place the beacons near where smartphone users will be. 

  • Don't put them up higher than 3-4 meters from the floor.

5. Adjust your installation according to building type

Consider what type of space you're dealing with before installing your beacons. Large open spaces will require more adjustments to properly cover the area, whereas spaces with defined rooms and hallways will be easier to cover. Keep this in mind when you're planning your activities.

6. Avoid signal disturbances

Certain building materials can cause Bluetooth signal interference. These signal-blocking materials include metal and concrete, but objects such as microwaves or poorly shielded cables can also interfere with your beacons' signals. Apple has created a list of potential sources of Bluetooth and WiFi interference for your reference.

7. Check your surfaces

Ensure the surface the beacons' will be installed on is clean. You want to maximize their adhesion, so if there's dust or dirt on the wall, there's a good chance they won't make it through  the entire length of your activity. Wipe off beacon installation surfaces and ensure you're using strong adhesive tape.

8. Beacon maintenance

One of the biggest challenges with beacon tracking systems is battery life maintenance. The last thing you want is for your beacons to fail during your activities because their battery died.

Most beacon batteries will last for about 3 years. If you use many beacons for your space, it might be difficult to keep track of which ones are low on power. 

This is where a proper beacon infrastructure management system will come in. It will help you see which beacons are running low so you can order more before they start to fail.

9. Communication is key

Throughout the setup process, it's crucial to maintain proper communication with all parties involved. Continued consultation and feedback both internally and externally will keep everyone on the same page and avoid any unpleasant surprises when people arrive on site.

10. Leave it to the professionals

Finally, despite these useful tips, you might want to leave your positioning beacon installation to the professionals. Indoor positioning support from a dedicated, experienced company will give you peace of mind and ensure that your setup is done right. It will also allow you to efficiently maintain your beacon system so that you can focus on running your activities without headaches.

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