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Smart LaBLEs: Proximity, Autoconfiguration, and a constant supply of gatorade (TM)

Albert F Harris
Vansh Khanna
Robin Hillary Kravets
IEEE/ACM Symposium on Edge Computing (SEC) (2015)


The availability of the low-power, simple communication model of Bluetooth™ Low Energy (BLE) has resulted in the explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices. IoT in the retail space has the potential to improve both user experience as well as business practices. For example, IoT-enabled retail systems could eliminate the need for human intervention to update product signage when product locations are shifted or in response to changes in product information (e.g., price changes). Such smart inventory systems would rely on the ability to automatically determine which products were nearest to relevant labels. In this paper, we present a detailed study of BLE channel characteristics using a battery of tests with real devices. We then present the design and implementation of Smart LaBLEs, our BLE-based, autoconfiguring product labels. Smart LaBLEs detect BLE-tagged products in their environment, determine the nearest shelved product, and autoconfigure a colored LCD with product information from the nearest products advertising message. The Smart LaBLEs act as decentralized IoT hubs, opening the door for product tags detected by the Smart LaBLE to reduce the frequency at which they send advertising messages, thus conserving bandwidth and energy.

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