We are opening a series of stories about feature implementation in our recent IoT project. In this episode a feature goal will be shared and all subsequent episodes will be telling you how exactly the goal has been achieved. At the moment of writing the article we are still experiencing issues with satisfaction of feature acceptance criteria. That’s why even for Lemberg Solutions team this is a really interesting challenge and we don’t know yet what results would be achieved.
About the project
We are participating in the project development that deals with pet tracking, and in our case the pet is a Horse.
Enri is the project owner and strategist. Knowing the industry in detail, Enri knows what features will be appreciated by potential target audience.
It is required to identify current position of a rider on the arena, and also to keep track of location change in an accurate way. This will allow to perform prediction of any changes in trajectory.
And the prediction allows us to coordinate Rider’s next actions.
Below you can see the schemas of two possible arenas that will be used in our tests.
Meet our QA guy, Maryan, who temporarily emulated a running horse on arena. You will meet him in next series also...
One of possible ways to go is to use GPS. But it isn’t always a good option from the accuracy standpoint. So we took a set of devices, installed Mytrack app there and walked a path similar to dressage arena area.
We were using the following device models:
- Xiaomi Mi4
- Samsung S4
- Nexus 6P
After performing several tests in the fields we can make same conclusions.
So here are the reasons why it won’t work in our case:
- Small area
- Low accuracy of GPS on mobile devices
- Tracking a complex path will be very different from the actual one
- Sometimes arena could be covered - GPS 100% doesn’t work
- Satellite signal can be lost - completely breaks the feature
- Signals reflected off buildings or walls ("multipath")
- Satellite signal blockage due to buildings, bridges, trees, etc.
- Atmospheric conditions (e.g. geomagnetic storms caused by solar activity)
Also similar test on local parking surrounded by a building gives even worse results.
Next approach would be to use iBeacons.
As an alternative we consider to use iBeacon. That’s why we immediately ordered two packs of iBeacons to fully cover small arena. You probably wonder why we assume iBeacons approach is the right one for us.
We found these main PROS of such approach:
- Higher accuracy
- Good for indoor navigation
- iBeacon ranging uses much less battery than GPS tracking
- Location accuracy does not depend on weather conditions
This is all true for general case. But in ours - we have an additional condition:
- Speed of movement
This may collapse all our investigation.
Whether or not the beacons approach will satisfy this condition - we will find out in the next article. To be continued…