BLEMAT- Context Modeling and Machine Learning for Indoor Positioning Systems (Condensed)

Introduction

As the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) services and application increases, their complexity, and system requirements must increase along with it. Researchers at VizLore Labs and the University of Novi Sad have come up with a framework which they call “BLEMAT” that they believe with significantly diminish the human effort required to prop up these growing IoT systems. BLEMAT is a space-agnostic indoor positioning system, that aims to detect floor plan layouts of the operational context of the system. Based on the results that exist in the full research paper here, researchers believe that BLEMAT provides a solid basis for deployment of high-performance location-aware IoT services and applications.

 

Problems with Positioning Systems

Complexity, speed, and accuracy are three hurdles that IoT devices and applications that rely on positioning systems have to overcome in order to scale to desired levels. Indoor positioning systems (IPS) do not have a robust solution like outdoor positioning, which relies on a global navigation satellite system (GNSS). IPS must use less robust solutions such as video surveillance and wireless radio technologies (e.g. WifI and Bluetooth) to detect proximity, track the position, and movement of objects. IPS built on radio technologies present a less accurate, but also an inexpensive solution for tracking objects. If a use-case requires only the information about whether an object is in close proximity to a deployed Bluetooth beacon or a Wireless access point, IPS can be implemented effortlessly and will present with satisfactory results. On the other hand, real-time IPS is a real-world industrial requirement. Such systems must employ complex measurement filtering algorithms, machine learning, and context-informed decision making.

As an example, we’re going to explore the use case of IoT devices in tracking customer attention while visiting a retail location called Store X. In this scenario, the customer will use an app on their mobile devices while shopping at Store X. On the consumer side, this app will hold customer shopping lists, payment information, and provide notifications with coupons and sales. On the apps retail side, Store X will have Bluetooth Beacons installed on every aisle of the store. If a consumer passes an isle, the app will notify him about the deals and coupons for that aisle. This use case, would, however, present with poor results if real-time consumer tracking was a requirement, as there is only consumer proximity information involved.

Existing IoT positioning systems deployment infrastructures lack the accuracy, update speed, and overall capability to track these customers in real time around the store. At the current state of IoT node positioning technology, this use case is hard to implement efficiently.

 

BLEMAT Proposed Solutions

Researches at VizLore Labs and Novi Sad University introduce BLEMAT as a proposed approach to solving the problems detailed in the efficient scalability of IoT devices and applications. BLEMAT is identified by researchers as a “highly autonomous distributed fog computing IPS offering auto-discovery and onboarding of new devices.” Since the BLEMAT approach reduces the need for video surveillance and a digital representation of a floor plan, it creates a pathway to speeding up the onboarding of new smart space devices. By employing a set of filtering methods and relying on gateway infrastructures, BLEMAT nodes adapt to the constant changes in these systems, drastically improving the overall efficiency and accuracy of object positioning.

BLEMAT beacons rely on the deployment of “fog computing gateways” that come in the form of scanners. The beacons are devices being tracked within the scanners system. These scanners have the capability of scanning the indoor environment for active beacons and calculating their position in space using trilateration and with the help of machine learning. These BLEMAT beacons are mobile and constantly emitting Bluetooth signal. A requirement for BLEMATis to have constant access to the systems operational context. This operational context should include the flow of people, mobile and static obstacles, other signal sources that cause signal distortion, failure of devices, etc. In real time, as the context changes, the models, approximations and IPS workflows will be updated accordingly.

Revolutionarily, BLEMAT uses real-time and online machine learning in replace of the traditional offline and manual fingerprinting approach for building signal propagation maps. By utilizing machine learning, BLEMAT offers the approach to physical space modeling through the estimation of floor plan layouts. In turn what is created is a significant advancement in building context-aware, space agnostic, distributed and autonomous indoor positioning systems.

 

Conclusion

This article is a condensed version of research findings detailed in the full paper “BLEMAT- Context Modeling and Machine Learning for Indoor Positioning Systems”. Researchers at Novi Sad University and VizLore Labs have published their complete research results in an academic journal here: Link to Complete Paper. Complete credit for this condensed summary of the paper goes to researchers at VizLore Labs and Novi Sad University. If the reader interested in learning more, questions explored in the full research paper are as followed:

  1. How does BLEMAT`s deployment infrastructure differ from that of a traditional IPS?
  2. How does BLEMAT approach real-time context modeling and online fingerprinting?
  3. How does BLEMAT offer detection of floor plan layouts?

Vienna Pioneers Festival & Demo Day

VizLore’s solutions arm, Brite Habitat, was a participant in the Vienna Startup Package and Demo Day with its Smart Access Control (SAC) solution. Vienna is a burgeoning startup hub located centrally in Europe, harnessing the collective energy of enterprising individuals from both Eastern and Western hemispheres.

Brite Habitat CEO, Ognjen Ikovic, was a key player in the Startup Package Demo day. The Smart Access Controller demonstrated its capabilities to process several secure entry events seamlessly, while juggling its ability to send virtual keys for one time or multiple use over a defined period of time.

News about the Vienna Startup Package and Pioneers Festival was featured in an Austrian business journal. Brite Habitat rocked the Demo Day and garnered several interested parties in its solution. As a result, we expanded the functionalities of the controller to permit added services on top of its bluetooth and enocean capabilities. Now the controller is a powerhouse IoT enabler, perfect for smart office spaces, residential multi-family and also warehouse automation and workflow optimization.

Virtual Key Revolution

Who wants to be tied down to a set of keys anymore? Certainly not busy young millennial students or professionals who don’t need one more thing to carry around.

Retrofit magazine features an article on VizLore’s smart access solution with virtual keys that explains everything you wanted to know, and more.

Virtual Keys are the trendy tech solution: not only can tenants enter a door with their smartphone, they can also send virtual keys to their friends!

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Vienna Pioneers Festival 2016

Our team is currently at the Pioneers 2016 Festival in Vienna, Austria – we were selected to be among 10 international start ups to work with Vienna Business Agency to scale up business operations in Central Europe. Our Bright Habitat solution comprises a complete package for context aware building automation and energy efficiency improvement. The product comprises mobile applications, building automation gateway which integrates sensors, actuators and mobile devices and finally cloud platform for contextual data gathering, analysis, reactive automated decision making and proactive efficiency improvement recommendations.

We are having a great time meeting lots of incredibly talented and motivated teams – good luck to everyone here! We are excited for Day 2!

Build it yourself IoT infrastructure

We’ve done it again! A new DIY iBeacon Gateway is on the market – we’ve named it Wi-Blue because it acts as a bluetooth beacon that detects presence, proximity and pushes notifications to devices. It can be used in commercial applications to detect conference room usage or analyze spatial distributions of assets. The findings can help cut costs and save on energy usage. But you can also use it in your home to trigger alerts when certain events occur and other home automation purposes. We’ve made it easy for you to use by breaking it down step by step in our DIY manual – buy the components and assemble the hardware yourself – then download the firmware from our web store and you will be given access to a management portal where you can activate the gateway and access your data! Watch the video below for more use cases on how to use your Wi-Blue Gateway. Build your own custom IoT infrastructure by pairing our Wi-Blue and Wi-Ocean Gateways together.

DIY WiOcean Bridge

We’re pleased to announce that we have put our WiOcean Bridge firmware on the market and it is ready for use! This firmware is especially useful to integrators or home enthusiasts alike: it bridges EnOcean sensors with WiFi to allow remote management and data retrieval. We’ve made it very easy to download and use the firmware. The entire solution is composed of:

DIY device assembly + WiOcean firmware + Free Android App + VizLore Cloud Services

In the video below we take you through the utility of such a solution and outline the steps to build your DIY WiOcean Bridge.

 

Automated Buildings Article

VizLore is featured in the automated buildings magazine this month! The article features a Q&A session with VizLore’s founder Dragan Boscovic. Get his insight into the emerging world of IoT and how it applies to smart buildings of the future.

http://automatedbuildings.com/news/apr16/interviews/160321033101boscovic.html

“Democratizing the IoT process is necessary to allow IoT to function at its full potential. If you have a bunch of cool tech solutions throughout your building but they have no way of communicating with each other, how are you going to use them to create an impact for your tenants or for your building management team?”

VizLore aims to put the power in the hands of the building operators so that they have an additional tool to monetize their biggest asset. Today, data is akin to a raw material that needs to be tapped into.