Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Location dependent device detection via Bluetooth

The intent of this Bluetooth application is to allow easy recognition of individual users while they pass by. This capability then can be exploited to push personalized messages to the potential customers, as advertisements or other desired information. For a broad user-acceptance of this emerging technology, one of the most important requirements is to make it convenient for the user to take advantage of it, hence the message reception on a personalized basis must be as transparent as possible, which in turn requires the seamless integration of the described Bluetooth scenario.

Millions of Europeans always carry their cell phone with them when they walk through the city, a shopping center or on their way to the bus station. Virtually every citizen in urban Europe owns a cell phone, which he never gives out of his hands. To realize the frictionless identification of the moving individual the Bluetooth (BT) capability of exactly these omnipresent cell phones is exploited.

Beside this "client side requirement" (i.e. the presence of a Bluetooth capable cell-phone) an additional Bluetooth device is needed in conjunction with the host computer, containing the recognition- and identification-algorithms and the additional business logic. This could be a notebook with built-in Bluetooth capabilities, or a computer with a supplementary BT hardware module. Here an external Bluetooth dongle (class 1) is used, that is connected to the notebook hosting the application via the USB port.

Apart from the systematical scan of the neighborhood for other Bluetooth modules (Note: This must not necessarily be always a cell phone, since many PDAs and even some other devices take advantage of the versatile networking capabilities of this technology), the application has the ability to create a network connection to a remote machine (for example an external database) in order to compare the discovered Bluetooth device with the stored profiles.

The identification can be done either by using the device-specific Bluetooth-ID or the personalizable user-name. The device dependant ID is comparable to the inimitable MAC address of common network adapters, which is assigned by the manufacturer during factory initialization and cannot be altered by the user.

The user name in contrast can be altered by the user freely within certain restrictions (i.e. name length and allowed characters).

The second method (recognition by user name) offers the possibility to use the same name even if the user changes the device. This might be interesting since the life-cycle of these products often does not exceed 2 years, and therefore might be shorter than the expected (or desired) business relation. The underbelly is the fact that another user could assign the same username to his device, too. In this case this collision would not only force one of the users to change his device name, which could negatively influence other applications he uses with this device, but also allow a fraudulent user to steal another¿s person¿s identity.

Therefore the preferred solution is to use the unique ID and accept the minimal loss of convenience during registration (the user currently cannot read out the devices BT ID without additional equipment autonomously) and re-registration (when the user changes his cell-phone), considering the remarkable gain of security.

Depending on the local circumstances (as wall thickness) the coverage of the Bluetooth signals could differ. To deliver satisfying results the distance between the two involved stations should not exceed 15 to 20 meters.

To integrate the device into the application the set-up installation utilized a third party implementation of the protocol stack, which offered the possibility to access the BT module from a Java application in a Windows environment.

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Vodafone Terenci GmbH
D2-Park 5
40878 Ratingen
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