A beacon is a small wireless device that broadcasts radio signals to your phone. Mobile apps can listen for that signal and, when they receive it, trigger a location-based action.
How does the beacon send a signal?
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the signal emitted by beacons, and it’s important for two reasons. First, it transmits radio waves, which can penetrate physical barriers like walls, unlike Wi-Fi or cell signals, which are often disrupted.
Secondly, BLE consumes only a fraction of the battery power that traditional Bluetooth utilizes.
Why do Purple use beacons?
Each beacon is associated with a point on the map. Beacons are positioned by elevator banks, entry ways, and along halls to identify the user’s location.
Beacons are also used to reduce the time to first location fix and in areas with minimal magnetic variance.
Beacons in conjunction with the earth’s geomagnetic field and your phone’s compass provide the most accurate navigational experience.
Android vs iOS
Android phones can utilize the venues existing Wi-Fi access points to automatically detect the initial floor and any floor transitions.
Due to Wi-Fi scanning restrictions on iOS, iPhones require beacons for seamless floor to floor navigation.
Beacons are not required for Android, but they improve the accuracy and reduce the time to first fix.
Estimote Beacons – Best Practice: Naming
- Beacons use a unique naming convention for each facility called the UUID.
- Major is the floor number; 96-99 is reserved for non-numerical floor number, such as external grounds or basement; 0 cannot be used.
- Minor is a unique sequential number used for each beacon on the respective floor. The minor cannot be repeated on the same floor.
Estimote Beacons – Best Practice: Placement
- Beacons are placed by all elevator banks, entry ways for transitional floors, along halls and in large open spaces
- Beacons should be placed approximately 8-10 feet from the floor at a consistent height where possible
- To mount the beacon, remove the adhesive cover and place the beacon on a wall close to the entry point or elevator(s) but high enough that it cannot be touched or easily removed. Press firmly on the beacon for 30 seconds to form a tight bond
Follow beacon installation instructions for other vendors
Estimote Beacons – Best Practice: Range
Beacons signal strength ranges from 5 – 200ft. The strength and frequency of the broadcast will impact the battery life. The broader the range and the faster the interval, the shorter the battery life.
Beacon range should be set to the following:
– 50ft near entrances and elevators
– 100ft in long hallways and corridors
– 22ft in large open areas like atriums and glass walled areas.
Beacons should not be set to their maximum range, because they can ‘bleed through’ between floors which can result in confusion for floor detection and battery drain
Estimote Beacons – Best Practice: Battery Life and Beacon Access
Estimote Battery life with our standard configuration is between 3-4 years per beacon.
The estimated battery life is available when connecting to the beacon directly with the Estimote app, or the % of battery life can be viewed in the Admin Tool if using Estimote.
Estimote Mobile App
To set up Estimote Beacons, you must download and install the Estimote mobile app.