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Juniper Mist Location Services Overview

Virtual Bluetooth LE (vBLE) is a patented technology for indoor Location Services, using virtual beacons to locate BLE devices with great precision. Juniper Networks access points (APs) use a dynamic 8-directional antenna array that blankets an area with BLE signals and is capable of both transmitting and receiving BLE signals.

Virtual beacons are an efficient alternative when compared to physical beacons in terms of time and cost savings. With virtual beacons, there is no need to install and configure physical beacons, no need for site surveys, and no need for additional hardware. This makes for simpler, more efficient deployments and makes adding and moving vBeacons a hassle-free experience, as you configure everything from the Juniper Mist™ portal.

How It Works: vBLE Antenna Array

Juniper Mist APs transmit BLE signals using an 8-element directional vBLE antenna array.

Figure 1: vBLE Antenna Array

How It Works: Probability Surfaces

When your customer or visitor uses your Juniper Mist SDK-enabled application, the Juniper Mist cloud uses probability surfaces to determine the user's location. Probability surfaces provide the best possible location accuracy with sub-second latency.

The Juniper Mist cloud uses the RF fingerprints sent by the SDK client to create probability surfaces. This is done by splitting the floorplan up into 1-meter squares and calculating the estimated RF fingerprints for each square.

Each of the AP’s eight directional beams contribute to the likely location of the client device, examining all the probability surfaces (one for each beam) and combining them to find the likely point on the map where the device is located.

In this example, the center of the red area is the peak of the surface and the highest probability of the client's location. The blue area depicts the lowest area of the surface and the least probability of the client's location.

site floorplan with concentric circles depicting the probability surface

As the SDK client sends RF fingerprints to the Juniper Mist cloud, Juniper Mist enters the machine learning process, and the location model is optimized for that device.

How It Works: Indoor Location Experiences

The Juniper Mist SDK provides the tools that you need for building customer-facing applications that deliver indoor location services. When you integrate the Juniper Mist SDK with Juniper Mist Wi-Fi and location-based services, you can determine a user's location and deliver proximity-based notifications using Juniper Mist's patented vBLE Technology.

SDK-integrated mobile devices listen for and receive the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) packets that are transmitted by the APs. The information in these packets gets packaged up by the SDK client and sent to the Juniper Mist cloud. Finally, the cloud returns the x,y coordinates to the mobile device every second based on the information that it received.

For more information, see Juniper Mist SDK.

Your application uses this information to provide relevant experiences, such as wayfinding directions and push notifications.

Use Cases

Juniper Mist supports many location-based use cases. A few possibilities are described below.

Wayfinding

Wayfinding is just like the Google and Apple Maps experience, navigating you from point A to point B.

Picture a retail location. A customer is shopping at a store, and they have the retailer’s mobile application on their cell phone. APs transmitting BLE are located all over the store. If you integrate the SDK into your customer-facing app, you can support wayfinding. The retail customer can search for an item and then be guided turn by turn to the location of the item within the store.

For more information, see Wayfinding Use Case.

Asset Visibility

Quickly locate assets such as electronics and equipment. To support asset tracking, you attach BLE beacon tags to the assets that you want to track. When the AP hears the BLE transmission from the tag, it locates that asset on the Live View in the Juniper Mist portal. Staff at a hospital can use this feature to track down the location of medical equipment, such as wheelchairs.

For more information, see Finding Equipment Use Case.

Figure 2: Asset Tracking Example Asset Tracking Example Figure 2

User Engagement

When a site visitor enters a virtual beacon's coverage area, the Location Engine sends a push notification to display a greeting. One example of this is when a person enters through the front door of an office building and a redirect link to the company homepage is sent to their device.

Figure 3: User Engagement Example User Engagement Example

What's Next?