Monitoring at Ranges less than 3 meters

I am trying to build an application that can detect whether a user enters a room, and then whether or not they walk up to a specific location in that room (cupboard, sink, etc.). It would appear that the minimum range of 3 meters it likely too large to determine whether they’ve actually walked up to that sink, or whether they just walked by it.

Is there a way to lower the range below 3 meters? Or do I need to use a combination of monitoring and ranging for this application?

I think there is a way to configure signal strength using “estimate indoor location” app from app store. To do that you should have the ownership of beacons you are using i.e the beacons should be registered with your email id.

In general, this level of precision (“I’m exactly at the sink”) is going to need some good thinking. You could combine the 3-meter range with dwell-time—e.g., if you stay in the sink beacon’s range for 30 seconds, the chance you’re at the sink rather than just walking by is greater.

What do you want to use this proximity info for?

Thank you both for the thoughts. I think the combination of a 3-meter range and a timer will suffice to determine if someone, in this case, has washed their hands at the sink. They would need to spend at 5-10 seconds in that space.

Interestingly, if you change the settings to weak (-30db), it actually lists the range as 1.5m (5 feet), not 3m like in the documentation. Is that a recent change? This might be perfect.

Also, is there a way to use the bluetooth on the apple watch with the iBeacons? A related article said you can use the stickers only (https://community.estimote.com/hc/en-us/articles/204268608-How-to-build-apps-for-beacons-with-Apple-Watch-). Why does this limitation exist?

Thanks again.

The range for each Tx power value really varies a lot from device to device—some are more sensitive, some are less. 1.5 m is probably more accurate estimate on average though, can you let me know where did you find the 3 m mention? We’ll adjust it.

Apple Watch itself can’t scan for Bluetooth devices, but you can have your iPhone doing the scanning, and relaying the scanning results to the Watch via the Watch Connectivity Framework. The blog post you mentioned is a pretty old one, back when there was no Watch Connectivity Framework yet (it was only introduced in watchOS 2) and we created our own solution for transferring scan results between the iPhone and the Watch. It started with support for nearables, and we planned on adding beacons support later on, but then WCF came out and the interest in Apple Watch and beacons also turned out to be less intense than we expected, so we decided to focus our efforts in other areas. And who knows, maybe the next Apple Watch / watchOS will introduce an API for scanning for BLE devices directly from the Watch?

The 3m minimum range reference was in the comparison chart between stickers and beacons:

Thanks for the background on the watch. Until I can do everything on the watch without a phone nearby, it limits the types of applications I can do…so I’ll probably wait like others.

Thanks again.