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BlueTooth/Sensor Array to support HVAC Systems

Real-Time Communications Lab, Information Technology and Management Project
Students
Nathan Sowie
Faculty
Carol Davids
Field
Real-Time Communications
Date
Spring 2017

In the aim of improving our current Indoor Location System, our team envisioned changing the architecture of the iBeacon array. We found some cheaper iBeacons (AXA iBeacon) than the original from our first system implementation. Indeed, the first iBeacons used cost $60 each while the new AXA iBeacons cost $6 each. Unlike the first generation iBeacons, the AXA versions only contain a Bluetooth module as opposed to a Wi-Fi one. For the current location, we do not need the Wi-Fi, but the previous model iBeacons used Wi-Fi to configure them and to check if they were operable remotely. The team had the idea to use the first generation iBeacons as “Sergeants” that would be responsible for a certain number of AXA iBeacons by Bluetooth (BLE) communication. 

The goal of this project was to deploy a different set of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and use a different architecture for their deployment.  AXA iBeacons have less functionality than the original iBeacons.  The AXA versions do not have a Wi-Fi chip, only a Bluetooth chip.  As iBeacons communicate with larger and more expensive devices, which include both WiFi and BlueTooth, there is a resulting hierarchical architecture we call “Sergeants and Privates.”  The Privates are the AXA iBeacons, while the Sergeants are the Wi-Fi-capable original iBeacons. Sergeants are responsible for a group of the Privates, whom they periodically connect to upload sensor data including: temperature, humidity and battery level to a database in our secure cloud.  This paper describes this new design and the data collection for use by building engineers to better understand the building environment and thus, utilize the data to regulate that environment. 

For further information on this project, including further descriptions of the service, array, location server, android application, algorithms, experiments and tests, discussion of related work, associated operations and maintenance systems, conclusions and next steps, please visit http://appliedtech.iit.edu/rtc-lab or contact Director, Real-Time Communications Lab of Illinois Institute of Technology/Adjunct Industry Professor of Information Technology and Management, Carol Davids at davids@iit.edu.   

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