Should You Choose Bluetooth Beacon Or UWB For Indoor Positioning?

Among the current indoor positioning technologies, there are several high-precision indoor positioning technologies, and the current new high-precision positioning technology has moved the accuracy index from the early “sub-meter level” to “centimeter-level” or even “millimeter level”. Common indoor high-precision positioning technologies currently include:

Technical NamePositioning PrinciplePositioning Accuracy
UWBElectromagnetic wave flight time, three-sided positioningDeparture angle and arrival angle, single anchor point positioningFlight time: centimeter levelDeparture angle and arrival angle: generally less than 3 degrees
Bluetooth AoA/AoDDeparture angle and arrival angle, single anchor point positioningGenerally less than 3 degrees
Aonic PositioningSound wave (mechanical wave) flight time, three-sided positioningDecimeter Level
Geomagnetic PositioningChanges in electromagnetic fields, fingerprint entryDecimeter Level
5G PositioningElectromagnetic wave flight time, three-sided positioning Centimeter Level

Positioning technologies based on signal strength (RSSI), such as Bluetooth Beacon and WiFi, seem to be eliminated due to limited accuracy improvement (an error of several meters). But this is not the case. In our recent research, we found that the Bluetooth Beacon solution is still widely used. Among many industry customers, they know that the accuracy of the Beacon solution is limited, and they also know that there are many high-precision positioning technology solutions with better performance on the market. , but still choose to use Bluetooth Beacon.

  • why is it like this?

To summarize, the reason why Bluetooth Beacon still has a good market is that it has three advantages:

  • First: low cost

In the market, Bluetooth Beacons are priced as cheap as a few yuan each, and as expensive as only one or two hundred yuan each. The hardware cost is low enough.

The layout density of the Bluetooth Beacon is about 6-8m/piece. An indoor scene of 100,000 square meters requires about 2,000 Beacons. Based on this, it is estimated that the hardware cost of Beacon can be about 100,000 or 200,000. (Excluding software and operation and maintenance costs)

For the same area, if full coverage is required, hundreds of UWB base stations may be needed (one every 20-30m, and more must be deployed in blocked environments), and Bluetooth AoA base stations may also need hundreds to thousands (floor height 3-5m) , usually one is arranged at a distance of several meters). According to the current prices of UWB base stations and Bluetooth AoA base stations, the cost of Bluetooth Beacon has a great advantage.

In addition, in the Bluetooth Beacon solution, the mobile phone plays the role of a tag, but in the UWB solution, because mobile phones are not yet popular, the hardware cost has to be considered separately for the tag.

  • Second: low power consumption

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is famous for its low power consumption in the field of wireless communication technology. The receiving power and transmitting power consumption of BLE chips currently on the market can reach several milliwatts.

The actual meaning of low power consumption is that the battery can last longer, thereby saving battery costs and labor costs for battery replacement. In fact, Bluetooth Beacon products can be used for several years without replacing the battery, but once the battery is exhausted, the Bluetooth Beacon will Replace it directly with a new one.

  • Third: Easy to install and maintain

The installation of Bluetooth Beacon is very convenient. It only needs to be attached to the wall. The requirements for each installation point are not as high as those of UWB and Bluetooth AoA base stations.

If part of the Beacon is lost, the solution provider only needs to send the Beacon product to the customer remotely, and the customer can replace it by himself, which will save a lot of maintenance costs.

This is something that other types of high-precision positioning technologies dream of. When we communicated with Bluetooth AoA and UWB solution providers, everyone felt that how to save the cost of installation and maintenance is very critical, even if it costs a lot less. Money is also willing to do this.

The above three points are exactly where UWB and Bluetooth AoA are currently inferior to the beacon, so many users still choose Bluetooth Beacon technology for indoor positioning.

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