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Micro-Beacon System for Monitoring and Tracking

Technology Overview

The Micro-Beacon system consists of tiny (<10mm) battery-operated beacons and a network of one or more receivers. These beacons may be tagged onto high-value objects or assets that need to be monitored or tracked or may even act as standalone sensors. The beacons transmit RF packets over a distance of about 100m and a network of one or more receivers installed within a monitored area receives these transmissions and hand them off to a backend system for processing. This system enables various applications such as asset tracking, security tagging, remote monitoring, proximity detection and wireless sensor networks.

Technology Features & Specifications

The beacons are self-contained units that are battery operated and may utilize energy harvesting methods. The RF transmissions use highly optimized packet formats based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard, allowing a high density of beacons in an area and very low power consumption. The receivers may be interconnected with WiFi or Ethernet to each other and to a backend system. Each packet received by the backend consists of the Beacon ID, Receiver ID and any other beacon data such as the status of sensors onboard the beacon. Using the network of receivers, proximity sensing and rough localization of the beacon position may be performed. The beacon hardware may also have various kinds of low-power sensors such as accelerometer, temperature, humidity, light, magnetic and movement sensors. The benefits include

  • A large scale of operation with hundreds of beacons connecting to a receiver.
  • Reliable proximity detection and identification of objects.
  • Sensing of the condition of objects in realtime – movement, acceleration, direction, tilt, temperature, etc.
  • Sensing of environmental conditions around the objects in realtime – temperature, humidity, magnetic field, light, etc.
  • Collected data is buffered within the beacon when out of range of receivers.
  • Very low power consumption and the possibility of harvesting energy from surroundings, leading to reduced need for battery replacements or recharges.
  • Beacons are programmable over the air, allowing dynamic changes to their operation in the field.

Potential Applications

The onboard micro-controller and variety of sensors on the beacon enable applications that are not possible through conventional passive tags.

  • Realtime asset tracking of high-value goods
  • Realtime warehouse inventory management
  • Security tagging of high-value retail items
  • Animal tracking in farms
  • Wireless sensor networks of high density

 

Market Trends and Opportunities

With the growth in online shopping and home deliveries, the logistics and transport chain required for high-value items presents a prime opportunity. Increased monitoring and effective management of assets in commercial, service and hospitality industries can be enabled by this technology.

Customer Benefits

  • Realtime tracking and monitoring
  • Integrated sensing capabilities
  • In-field programmability of beacons

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