Beacons for outdoor settings?


#1

I work for a 280-acre outdoor museum and we’re interested in seeing what routes people take through our grounds (between different house-sized historic buildings) as well as their total length of stay. I’m not very tech-savvy & I’m having trouble understanding the intricacies of Estimote/Beacons/etc. so I’m hoping someone can help me out:

  1. Would the Location Beacons work for this project?
  2. Can they be placed outdoors?
  3. Can one Beacon be placed in a room to determine if a user is there, or does there have to be one on each wall?
  4. If a Bluetooth user were to exit the range of one Beacon and enter the range of the other, would the system be able to connect that it is the same user?

Thank you for any assistance!

MCF


#2

First of all, just let me set the expectations: at Estimote, we don’t provide ready-made systems/apps for use cases like yours, instead, we provide tools (mobile SDKs, Cloud APIs) for developers to build such systems/apps. So unless you want to build an app/system for your museum, you might want to look for off-the-shelf museum/tour software/services out there, that integrate with Estimote beacons/tech. One that immediately comes to my mind is our friends at Cuseum. (https://www.cuseum.com)

With that out of the way, on to your questions (: [note that if you go the off-the-shelf service/software route, their answers could vary depending on how they’ve built their service/software]

  1. Location Beacons are meant for our Indoor Location tech: you put a bunch of beacons on the walls, upload a map to Estimote Cloud, put our Indoor SDK inside your app, and your app will get the (x,y) position of the user inside the space.

    A different/simpler approach is our Proximity tech and Proximity Beacons: you put the beacons in points of interest, tag them in Estimote Cloud (e.g. “lobby”), put our Proximity SDK inside your app, and your app will get an “entered/exited lobby” info.

    Which way is better for you, your budget, etc., that’s up to you (:

  2. Generally yes, the hardware itself is splash-proof and pretty temperature resistant. Indoor Location tech is mostly optimized for indoor usage, so it might work sub-optimally outdoors.

  3. If you go for the Proximity, yup, one per room could be enough. The max range is about 70 m (and often even higher). Just think about the range as a circle around the beacon, so for rectangular or weirdly-shaped rooms, you might need to test more beacons and optimal placements.

  4. Yup, although that’s generally up to your app. If you want the user ID to persist between app installs/uninstalls, then you’d need some kind of a login system.