Wearabouts is a system that enables seamlessly tracking the whereabouts of Android mobile devices, particularly wearables, indoors and globally.
HOW IT WORKS
Wearabouts components include an Android app and a cloud-based server. The app must be installed on the device to be tracked, which can be any Android device such as smart phones, tablets and wearables (e.g. watches, badges), provided such device has both Wi-Fi and a cellular phone interface. Note that Wi-Fi must be enabled, and an internet connection must be available for tracking to occur. A cellular data plan is required for global tracking.
To track a device's movements indoors, the device must be registered with a specific venue (a site). Registration consists in associating the device's Wi-Fi MAC address with the site identifier.
The Wearabouts app periodically scans ambient Wi-Fi signals and uploads this data to the cloud-based server. The server can then determine the device's location, either at the registered site (indoor location) or anywhere outdoors, as in an urban area (global location). The device's WGS 84 location coordinates are available to external applications through a RESTful API, and can be displayed on Accuware's online dashboard. Note that the app simply uploads data, and does not receive any information about its location.
Accuware's server determines devices' locations in a venue by looking up data from uploaded scans in a database of ambient signal fingerprints for that site. The database is created by fingerprinting ambient signals across the venue. Note that fingerprinting a site is required for indoor tracking.
Accuware provides an online dashboard to register and configure devices and sites.
The Wearabouts app has been designed to save battery life. Its implementation minimizes battery utilization and connection cost by detecting whether the device has moved, and by how much, so as to minimize the number of times its location is updated to the server. Accuware's dashboard enables selecting and maintaining device-specific configuration parameters that control how frequently the app performs a Wi-Fi scan and uploads data to the server. Note that for battery saving functionality to be optimized, the device should have an accelerometer.
A site's fingerprints are visualized and maintained through the online dashboard.
Wearabouts requires users to opt-in. Once the device is registered, its user must start the app, for the device to be tracked. Stopping the app disables tracking.
Though device registration at a site uses that device's Wi-Fi MAC address, the actual identifier can be obfuscated to address privacy concerns.