Nowadays, more and more exhibition centers and store owners are deploying beacon devices to implement location-based services. However, the beacon technology can only provide one-way communication. If we need the smartphones to respond to the beacon messages, the smartphone users have to rely on their own mobile Internet connections to send the information back to the backend system. In some cases the mobile Internet services may not be always available. Therefore, we develop an interactive positioning and tracking system based solely on the BLE technology. Specifically, we make the beacon devices capable of two-way communication. On one hand, our beacon devices can detect the presence of a specific customer at specific locations, and then the presence information can be sent to the application server via the BLE mesh network consisting of beacon devices. On the other hand, the application server can send a personalized location-based message to the customer, again via the relay of beacon devices. The benefit of our system is two-fold: not only the customers without Internet connections can enjoy the positioning services, but also the backend system can be aware of the presence of specific customers and track their real-time locations. Experimental results showed that our system is practicable with moderate transmission latencies in the BLE mesh network.
Lecture Notes on Data Engineering and Communications Technologies Vol.7