Tracking a moving user in indoor environments using Bluetooth low energy beacons

Didi Surian, Vitaliy Kim, Ranjeeta Menon, Adam G. Dunn, Vitali Sintchenko, Enrico Coiera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons have been used to track the locations of individuals in indoor environments for clinical applications such as workflow analysis and infectious disease modelling. Most current approaches use the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) to track locations. When using the RSSI to track indoor locations, devices need to be calibrated to account for complex interference patterns, which is a laborious process. Our aim was to investigate an alternative method for indoor location tracking of a moving user using BLE beacons in dynamic indoor environments. Methods and Materials: We developed a new method based on the received number of signals indicator (RNSI) and compared it to a standard RSSI-based method for predicting a user's location. Experiments were performed in an office environment and a tertiary hospital. Both RNSI and RSSI were compared at various distances from BLE beacons. In moving user experiments, a user wearing a beacon walked from one location to another based on a pre-defined route. Performance in predicting user locations was measured based on accuracy. Results: RNSI values decreased substantially with distance from the BLE beacon than RSSI values. Moving user experiments in the office environment demonstrated that the RNSI-based method produced higher accuracy (80.0%) than the RSSI-based method (76.2%). In the hospital, where the environment may introduce signal quality problems due to increased signal interference, the RNSI-based method still outperformed (83.3%) the RSSI-based method (51.9%). Conclusions: Our results suggest that the RNSI-based method could be useful to track the locations of a moving user without involving complex calibration, especially when deploying within a new environment. RNSI has the potential to be used together with other methods in more robust indoor positioning systems.

LanguageEnglish
Article number103288
Pages1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Bluetooth
Experiments
Signal interference
Workflow
Calibration
Tertiary Care Centers
Communicable Diseases
Equipment and Supplies

Keywords

  • BLE beacon
  • Bluetooth low energy
  • Indoor positioning
  • Location tracking

Cite this

@article{a05e3a090e0245108a9186987053a376,
title = "Tracking a moving user in indoor environments using Bluetooth low energy beacons",
abstract = "Background: Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons have been used to track the locations of individuals in indoor environments for clinical applications such as workflow analysis and infectious disease modelling. Most current approaches use the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) to track locations. When using the RSSI to track indoor locations, devices need to be calibrated to account for complex interference patterns, which is a laborious process. Our aim was to investigate an alternative method for indoor location tracking of a moving user using BLE beacons in dynamic indoor environments. Methods and Materials: We developed a new method based on the received number of signals indicator (RNSI) and compared it to a standard RSSI-based method for predicting a user's location. Experiments were performed in an office environment and a tertiary hospital. Both RNSI and RSSI were compared at various distances from BLE beacons. In moving user experiments, a user wearing a beacon walked from one location to another based on a pre-defined route. Performance in predicting user locations was measured based on accuracy. Results: RNSI values decreased substantially with distance from the BLE beacon than RSSI values. Moving user experiments in the office environment demonstrated that the RNSI-based method produced higher accuracy (80.0{\%}) than the RSSI-based method (76.2{\%}). In the hospital, where the environment may introduce signal quality problems due to increased signal interference, the RNSI-based method still outperformed (83.3{\%}) the RSSI-based method (51.9{\%}). Conclusions: Our results suggest that the RNSI-based method could be useful to track the locations of a moving user without involving complex calibration, especially when deploying within a new environment. RNSI has the potential to be used together with other methods in more robust indoor positioning systems.",
keywords = "BLE beacon, Bluetooth low energy, Indoor positioning, Location tracking",
author = "Didi Surian and Vitaliy Kim and Ranjeeta Menon and Dunn, {Adam G.} and Vitali Sintchenko and Enrico Coiera",
year = "2019",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jbi.2019.103288",
language = "English",
volume = "98",
pages = "1--9",
journal = "Journal of Biomedical Informatics",
issn = "1532-0464",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

Tracking a moving user in indoor environments using Bluetooth low energy beacons. / Surian, Didi; Kim, Vitaliy; Menon, Ranjeeta; Dunn, Adam G.; Sintchenko, Vitali; Coiera, Enrico.

In: Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Vol. 98, 103288, 01.10.2019, p. 1-9.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Tracking a moving user in indoor environments using Bluetooth low energy beacons

AU - Surian, Didi

AU - Kim, Vitaliy

AU - Menon, Ranjeeta

AU - Dunn, Adam G.

AU - Sintchenko, Vitali

AU - Coiera, Enrico

PY - 2019/10/1

Y1 - 2019/10/1

N2 - Background: Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons have been used to track the locations of individuals in indoor environments for clinical applications such as workflow analysis and infectious disease modelling. Most current approaches use the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) to track locations. When using the RSSI to track indoor locations, devices need to be calibrated to account for complex interference patterns, which is a laborious process. Our aim was to investigate an alternative method for indoor location tracking of a moving user using BLE beacons in dynamic indoor environments. Methods and Materials: We developed a new method based on the received number of signals indicator (RNSI) and compared it to a standard RSSI-based method for predicting a user's location. Experiments were performed in an office environment and a tertiary hospital. Both RNSI and RSSI were compared at various distances from BLE beacons. In moving user experiments, a user wearing a beacon walked from one location to another based on a pre-defined route. Performance in predicting user locations was measured based on accuracy. Results: RNSI values decreased substantially with distance from the BLE beacon than RSSI values. Moving user experiments in the office environment demonstrated that the RNSI-based method produced higher accuracy (80.0%) than the RSSI-based method (76.2%). In the hospital, where the environment may introduce signal quality problems due to increased signal interference, the RNSI-based method still outperformed (83.3%) the RSSI-based method (51.9%). Conclusions: Our results suggest that the RNSI-based method could be useful to track the locations of a moving user without involving complex calibration, especially when deploying within a new environment. RNSI has the potential to be used together with other methods in more robust indoor positioning systems.

AB - Background: Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons have been used to track the locations of individuals in indoor environments for clinical applications such as workflow analysis and infectious disease modelling. Most current approaches use the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) to track locations. When using the RSSI to track indoor locations, devices need to be calibrated to account for complex interference patterns, which is a laborious process. Our aim was to investigate an alternative method for indoor location tracking of a moving user using BLE beacons in dynamic indoor environments. Methods and Materials: We developed a new method based on the received number of signals indicator (RNSI) and compared it to a standard RSSI-based method for predicting a user's location. Experiments were performed in an office environment and a tertiary hospital. Both RNSI and RSSI were compared at various distances from BLE beacons. In moving user experiments, a user wearing a beacon walked from one location to another based on a pre-defined route. Performance in predicting user locations was measured based on accuracy. Results: RNSI values decreased substantially with distance from the BLE beacon than RSSI values. Moving user experiments in the office environment demonstrated that the RNSI-based method produced higher accuracy (80.0%) than the RSSI-based method (76.2%). In the hospital, where the environment may introduce signal quality problems due to increased signal interference, the RNSI-based method still outperformed (83.3%) the RSSI-based method (51.9%). Conclusions: Our results suggest that the RNSI-based method could be useful to track the locations of a moving user without involving complex calibration, especially when deploying within a new environment. RNSI has the potential to be used together with other methods in more robust indoor positioning systems.

KW - BLE beacon

KW - Bluetooth low energy

KW - Indoor positioning

KW - Location tracking

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85072159765&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jbi.2019.103288

DO - 10.1016/j.jbi.2019.103288

M3 - Article

VL - 98

SP - 1

EP - 9

JO - Journal of Biomedical Informatics

T2 - Journal of Biomedical Informatics

JF - Journal of Biomedical Informatics

SN - 1532-0464

M1 - 103288

ER -