From general proximity solutions to high-precision positioning, Bluetooth® technology provides a range of reliable location services. Today, Bluetooth location services are widely used in a variety of scenarios, including indoor navigation and asset tracking, and plays an important role in enhancing operational efficiency and visitor experience in smart buildings. According to the 2021 Bluetooth Market Update, shipments of Bluetooth location service devices are expected to grow at a CAGR of 32 percent from 2021 to 2025.
Bluetooth Direction Finding enables centimeter-level positioning through the Angle of Arrival (AoA) and Angle of Departure (AoD) approaches and greatly improves Bluetooth location services. Based on the latest direction-finding feature, many manufacturers have already invested in the development of high-precision Bluetooth location service solutions.
BlueIOT is a solutions provider of Bluetooth location services based on the Bluetooth AoA direction finding approach, providing smart industry, warehousing and logistics, healthcare, and more with a sub-meter, high-precision location experience. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Darren Liu, product director at BlueIOT, about the use cases, market pain points, and the potential of Bluetooth AoA.
Q&A with Darren Liu From BlueIOT
Can you tell us more about your Bluetooth AoA positioning system?
The BlueIOT positioning system, based on Bluetooth® AoA technology, is ideal for businesses such as smart industry, warehousing and logistics, and healthcare facilities that can benefit from reduced costs and increased efficiency. Bluetooth AoA technology is also perfectly suited for smart supermarkets, smart culture and tourism, and smart cities that can optimize business operations while providing accurate location services to improve the overall user experience, including indoor navigation and point of interest (POI) search.
Why did you choose Bluetooth technology to power your positioning system?
As an international standard for wireless communication technology, Bluetooth® technology enables flexible and secure communication and location awareness with low cost and low power consumption between digital devices within a certain distance. Its technical characteristics were a significant factor behind BlueIOT choosing Bluetooth technology.
Based on Bluetooth AoA, the BlueIOT positioning system offers consistent, stable, and accurate sub-meter positioning in a wide range of complex use cases, greatly enhancing the availability of indoor positioning technology.
With high concurrency, low power consumption, low cost, and high compatibility, the BlueIOT system supports access to all types of Bluetooth enabled devices, including Bluetooth smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. The BlueIOT positioning system terminals also support iOS and Android systems as well as applets and apps, which lays the foundation for precise positioning solutions to meet navigation challenges in IoT and help industries achieve location awareness. BlueIOT has opened its ecosystem to support its partners’ Bluetooth terminals with just one piece of code by providing access to the partners’ tagging hardware.
What are the main challenges BlueIOT has solved using Bluetooth AoA?
Indoor positioning technologies are facing two major challenges:
First, the market lacks sufficient knowledge about the Bluetooth® AoA approach. Bluetooth AoA is currently in the early stage of rapid development, and there are still only a few solution providers based on Bluetooth AoA in the global market, indicating that the technology is yet to be recognized in the market and has not been widely applied in many industries.
Second, it takes time to build and cover a wide range of infrastructure. The implementation of the Bluetooth AoA direction finding approach relies on external sources. Pre-deployment of stations and construction of other infrastructure are necessities. Mass adoption of Bluetooth AoA positioning systems will take time.
In smart buildings, the BlueIOT precise positioning service can help retail, tourism, healthcare, and other facilities improve their user experience, optimize the efficiency of space utilization, and enhance intelligent building management.
In smart industry, the BlueIOT Bluetooth precise location service is used to manage logistics and supply chain and ensure personnel safety in dangerous operation scenarios.
In smart cities, the application of Bluetooth smart terminals and smartphones has changed the way people interact with the city. For example, in the management of shared bicycles, by installing BlueIOT’s AoA base station on the city light poles, and by cooperating with the Bluetooth car lock on the bicycle, the accurate position of the bicycle can be obtained, which helps users to find the bicycle more easily and accurately and guides users to park in an orderly manner in accordance with the specified area.
In terms of smart parking, many underground parking lots have a large space and lack GPS positioning signals, which inconveniences users when parking and finding cars. By deploying BlueIOT positioning base stations in underground parking lots, mobile phones can be used when vehicles enter the parking lot from outdoors. Switching from GPS positioning to Bluetooth AoA positioning helps users easily find free parking spaces through mobile phone navigation and makes it easier to find the location of the vehicle when returning to the parking lot.
The positioning technology enabled by Bluetooth® AoA Direction Finding will play an important role in the efficient management of manufacturing personnel, material tracking, traceability in production processes, search and error prevention of adaptive tools, and other major aspects.