What is a Kontakt Beacon?
A beacon is a small, battery powered wireless device that broadcasts radio signals to your phone. Think of it as a lighthouse emitting light in regular intervals. Mobile apps can listen for that signal and, when they receive it, trigger a location-based action.
An overview of BLE Beacons is available here.
How does the beacon send a signal?
Beacons emit a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal, which is important for two reasons:
- It transmits radio waves, which can penetrate physical barriers like walls. This is unlike Wi-Fi or cell signals, which are often disrupted.
- BLE consumes only a fraction of the battery power that traditional Bluetooth utilizes.
Why Purple uses 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. In conjunction with the earth’s geomagnetic field and your phone’s compass, beacons provide the most accurate navigational experience.
Android vs iOS
Android phones can utilize the hospital's existing WiFi access point to automatically detect the initial floor and any floor transitions. Due to WiFi 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 taken to determine location.
Best Practices & Setup Overview
Facilities support will be required to enable the implementation of listeners.
The setup, viewing and addition of Kontakt beacons all take place on one account, which is managed by Purple. Purple will deal with the initial set up of the beacons which includes specifying the:
- UUID: which is a unique naming convention used for beacons in each facility
- Major: this is the floor number; 96-99 is reserved for non-numerical floor number, such as external grounds or basement; 0 cannot be used.
- Minor: this is a unique sequential number used for each beacon on the respective floor. The minor cannot be repeated on the same floor.
- TX: the TX represents transmission power, on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is the weakest signal, and 7 the highest. Typically 3 is used to provide sufficient range, save on battery life, and prevent signal bleeding into other floors or buildings
- Interval: this determines how often your beacon will transmit its advertising packet. It is typically set to 350ms for the perfect balance between signal stability and battery life
Additional information regarding Kontakt beacons is available here.
Range & Battery Life
- Beacons signal strength ranges up to 100m. 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.
- Kontakt battery life with our standard configuration lasts up to 50 months.
Default Battery Life
(Tx=-12dBm; interval: 350ms) up to 50 months
20.5mm (0.80 in) with mounting kit 28.4mm (1.11 in)
50mm (1.96 in) with mounting kit 60.5mm (2.38 in)
50mm (1.96 in) with mounting kit 62.5mm (2.46 in)
101 grams (3.56 oz)
IndoorAtlas is used to plan where beacons should be placed.
Purple will manage the setup of IndoorAtlas, though a login can also be provided if required.
Potential locations of beacons are mapped out to determine how to best achieve full coverage. The green background of the location shows the areas that have sufficient signal:
By removing a beacon, we can see that the signal becomes weaker. Yellow denotes that there remains some coverage, but that it could be stronger.
If red shows on the map, this means there is no signal in those locations.