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Beacon Customization for an Asset Tracking Solution for Enterprise

Beacons BLE Custom software development Embedded software development Firmware development Logistics and asset tracking

Businesses find many uses for location-based technologies. They help enterprises track their assets, increase sales, and improve efficiency. Modern location-based services, like tracking systems, rely on a combination of RFID, beacons, and mobile technologies. Beacons are small physical devices with transmitters that send signals on the Bluetooth low-energy standard. There are many beacon manufacturers out there. But sometimes it is still hard to find a solution that perfectly matches your needs.

Request

We were contacted by a company that provides integration of location services and the Internet of Things. The company offers businesses ready-made physical beacons to enable communication in a wireless networking platform. The beacons they used were based on EM6819 and nRF51microcontrollers. The company needed to customize these beacons to make them more suitable for their needs.

Solution

First, our client gave our team a test assignment that we needed to complete to prove the quality of our work. When a test assignment was successfully done, our client decided to continue working with us. We provided firmware development for beacons and completed the following tasks:

  • Data customization in the advertising packet – the layer that handles connectivity tasks.
  • Gatt-service and characteristic modifications – through the Gatt-service a user can change beacon system settings and IDs.
  • Optimization of energy consumption – we increased the battery life by 30%.
Testing the Beacon PCB

Scope of work

  • Software development for a BLE gateway based on Raspberry
  • Firmware development for EM6819 and nRF51 based beacons

Technologies Used

  • The hardware for BLE beacons was based on EM6819, NRF51822 and NRF52832.
  • The firmware was implemented using C.
  • Keil, IAR, EM Studio IDEs was used for firmware implementation.
  • The software for gateway was implemented using C++ and Java.
  • Eclipse IDE was used for software implementation.

Result

Because the Bluetooth beacons we worked with are deployed in enterprise assets, there is a high demand for reliability and security.

We helped our client improve the quality of their solution by customizing existing beacons.

The main technical challenge was connected with microcontrollers. They had a limited amount of resources and the firmware completely occupied all the available space. So, we had to optimize the firmware and reduce the energy consumption.

BLE beacon PCB

Despite the limitations, we successfully added all new features to the beacon while achieving the required minimum level of energy consumption. We extended the beacon battery life by 30%.

Our team also developed a BLE gateway device based on Raspberry Pi.

Integra's creative engineers have innovative problem-solving skills and in-depth expertise which make this team a strong partner in their field; their flexibility and affordability allow the relationship to remain sustainable in the long term.

Visybl Visybl, CEO of the asset tracking solution