Reliable Beacon Detection

State: completed by Robin Engbersen


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication methods are empowering the proximity com- munication opportunities in the increasing global digitalization. The usage of Beacons for hyper local marketing has seen an explosive growth in the retail space and other domains. Despite the seemingly simple setup for a Beacon deployment, many issues arise when retail- ers want to cover new use cases. To cope with the challenges, it is necessary to understand the technological limits of the mobile devices and the Beacons as well as the privacy concerns affecting the users.

This thesis will evaluate, if it is possible to increase the probability of an accurate user detection within the proximity of a Beacon for 3 different real-world use case with a minimum effect on the user in terms of battery drain of the mobile device. If the course of the thesis will lead to a viable position that this will not be possible, a respective alternative will be defined, which results in the specification of other parameters, settings, and approaches to detect a Beacon reliably.

The first part of this thesis consists of an extensive research on existing Beacon providers. The focus is hereby on the available hard- and software in terms of implemented Beacon security measures (such as piggybacking or hijacking), pricing structure, and installation ease-of-use for the configuration of Beacons. Further a comparison and research among available Beacon protocols needs to be undertaken. Some Beacon protocols are for example: iBeacon, Eddystone, and AltBeacon. Allessential dimensions for this comparison need to be defined dur- ing the thesis. Besides that, the study and research of the concept of Beacon monitoring and ranging is crucial. Because using either monitoring or ranging to basically detect Beacons differs highly in devices’ battery usage. A explanation why that battery drain is higher has to be provided. The information gathered is required to conduct the adequate Beacon provider selection process.

The knowledge and information gathered of this initial research is applied to design a concept to implement an optimal Beacon detection for the following use cases:

  • Detecta user walking by a venue and time spent in front of venue
  • Detect a user entering a venue and detect time spent in venue
  • Detect a user walking around in the venue. Perform multi-Beacon detection and path analysis.

The thesis is done in cooperation witht he company BLINQ in Zurich.


Final Report

20% Design, 70% Implementation, 10% Documentation
Cooperation with company BLINQ

Supervisors: Dr. Thomas Bocek, Dr. Corinna Schmitt

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