Bluetooth beacons not nearly precise enough, says BeSpoon

October 16, 2014 // By Julien Happich
About a year after it demonstrated ultra-precise real-time location accurate to within a few centimetres based on its Impulse Radio Ultra-Wide Band (IR-UWB) ICs, French company BeSpoon is now pushing its technology to the mass market with three turnkey system-level development packages.

The packages consist of hardware and software building blocks that allow system engineers to rapidly prove a design concept before integrating the 3D real-time location system (RTLS) technology into industrial and consumer products.

The Precise Inverted 3D design package comes with a SpoonPhone (featuring an Android API to access the location data) and the Inverted 3D software. With minimal hardware configuration, the software is capable of computing its 3D location based on the positions of six fixed tags.

The Precise Indoor GPS package enables additional SpoonPhones to locate themselves just by listening to the tags. This also allows the deployment of an unlimited number of self-locating devices.

Finally, the Precise Location RTLS package tracks in real time a set of tags whose locations are made available through a simple server connection.

With these capabilities, BeSpoon aims its technology at both single devices and server-centric solutions tracking multiple items. In a device-centric application, a moving device constantly computes its location and orientation within a 3D space. In a server-centric solution, a central infrastructure tracks locations of many individual items.

EETimes Europe spoke to Jean-Marie André, BeSpoon's CEO, to learn more about the company’s current prospects and market goals.

“Far beyond our initial technology breakthrough last year when we geo-located tags at distances over 800m while following IR-UWB's standard regulation, with these tools we want to send a strong signal to the market that it is really easy to build your own RTLS with our turnkey solutions”, told us André.

“The SpoonPhone comes with plenty of bells and whistles, with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and many different sensors, our IR-UWB IC being one more”.

“Together with a few RTLS-enabled tags, it allows our customers to explore different use cases and check for themselves what the technology can do for them, before they go to the next level which is integrating our chips into their products”, André added.

The tags could be used for simple collision-avoidance, but BeSpoon shows many versatile asset-tracking or geo-fencing applications on its website, and most consumer-oriented use cases would require the BeSpoon chip to be integrated into the users’ smartphones (giving them precise distance and orientation relative to fixed tags).