Interesting use of Beacons when GPS signals are unavailable underground.
BARCELONA: Bluetooth and iOS devices have been deployed across parts of the London Underground operated MTR Crossrail to help inform and track staff in areas GPS cannot reach.
Mark Daniels, head of IT at MTR Crossrail, said the company needs to know where its staff are on the network to ensure they get the latest information on schedules, services and maintenance tasks.
“As part of TfL guidance terms we need to provide reliable audits; we have to audit all our stations, all our trains on a daily basis and feed that data back in real time,” he said, in a talk at the Gartner Symposium 2015 in Barcelona.
But this is easier said than done as the underground parts of Crossrail cannot receive GPS signals, and while MTR deploys a private WiFi network for its staff, it cannot be easily used to pinpoint their location.
“We want to be able to tell where our staff are on the station not just at a station. We want to be able to tell them that if they are on platform two here’s what they should be doing, and for that [level of accuracy] GPS wouldn’t work anyway,” said Daniels.
The solution to this problem was to install a host of low powered, small and long-life iBeacons on trains and in stations. Currently, 500 are in place across 12 stations, with a further 2,500 set to be rolled out to all Crossrail stations.
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