While gateways have long been in use as an edge connecting point for IoT devices and sensors, there is a hidden capability to make them part of a low cost geofence network. Industrial and commercial site developers can unlock this capability quickly with free software and a BLE enabled Linux based gateway.
Applications are abundant for this simple, but powerful, geofencing ability. Locate the area where expensive equipment has been left on a jobsite or work complex; tag pallets & scales to report if they enter a restricted zone; locate personnel; see if something moves within a geofence, etc. An interesting customer use of geofencing is to track a corporate book with original signatures when it leaves the safe.
A geofence tag is a BLE beacon that is continually broadcasting an “advertisement” containing the unique ID of the tag. Using Avimesa Gadget, the gateway can detect the radio signal strength of the tag and determine the approximate distance between the gateway and the tag. Battery life for the typical BLE based tag (usually $10 to $20) is usually measured in years and not months with the physical size as small as a square inch.
A Geofence is created by loading the free Avimesa Gadget software onto a supported gateway, such as a Systech, and then configuring the gateway using the Avimesa.Live SaaS application. Once configured, the gateway casts a BLE Geofence with the gateway at the center of the radius. A tag (BLE beacon) is matched to a range of a meter or more within the radius of the Geofence. In Avimesa.Live: alerts via text or email can send notifications when the tag moves in and out of the specified range, and graphs are rendered to display geofence activity.
The tags themselves are available from a variety of sources, such as amazon.com, and typically cost between $10 to $20 depending on capabilities. Another use of tags is to detect movement while inside a Geofence. Gateways can be located at strategic locations throughout a yard and/or a building with each tag creating a unique reaction to the combination of gateways.
Each tag can be configured to be recognized when it is within a certain number of feet, or meters, of a specific gateway. An area as small as a one-desk-office or as large as a five lane loading dock can be represented as a geofence by limiting the recognized tag to gateway distance. Depending on ambient and other conditions a single geofence could span more than 1,000 square meters or be refined to a few dozen square meters.
In addition to Internet gateways, a Raspberry Pi can be loaded with Avimesa Gadget and become a full peer as a Geofence post in the Industrial IoT site.
Once activated, the tag connected equipment becomes part of the Avimesa IIoT Cloud superstructure, ready for the optional inclusion of sensors. Additional sensor options include temperature, vibration, pressure, chemicals, humidity, air quality, eCO2, open/close, motion, speed, tilt, air and fluid flow, and more. Many sensors and tags can be enclosed to meet IP67, IP65, and other industrial standards.
Linux IoT Hosting options include AWS, On-Prem, and Hybrid topologies. Avimesa provides numerous APIs, SaaS applications, interfaces, and tech partner options.