In mounting beacons for use with AtSite in tracking staff it’s important to optimize their placement to make it easy for staff yet also show the data you need to capture, and to ensure that any problem areas are targeted.
This is all common sense, but what it the best way?
- Ideally place beacons at least 3m off the floor to reduce or prevent tampering and theft,
- We use a permanent mounting tape made by 3M. See below,
- Placing beacons higher helps the signal penetrate to staff better,
- We recommend, if possible, using a 3-step ladder to help place beacons higher,
- Mounting on ceilings above a mall for example is an ideal placement but makes later replacing batteries or maintenance very difficult (ie scissor lift and out of hours work).
- Never place beacons in metal fronted fire boxes. The signal will not get out, or only poorly,
- Ideally mount on white or off wite walls and ceilings so beacons do not ‘stand out’ and look distracting,
- Beacons are not waterproof. Mount under cover and/or use a weatherproof box,
- Some locations do require a little more care, see below.
The Beacon FAQ gives a very brief description on mounting beacons, here.
Adhesive & Application
We use double sided tape from 3M – “Permanent Clear Mounting Tape 25mm wide” – it has a red plastic backing and is very strong.
We use a strip across the rear of the beacon, full width.
If you remove a beacon from the wall to move it, replace the tape. It does not re-use well. It loses its “stick”.
Make sure any surface you mount onto is clean and grease free.
Make sure the surface is not “powdery” with old loose paint, or has loose grit (example some old brickwork). The tape will not stick well.
Make It Easy yet Indicative
For public liability and staff attendance tracking it is critical that the contract for provision of service is known. That will guide you in placing beacons. If you must patrol an area, then a beacon will often be advised. Alternatively, placing a beacon where staff don’t patrol is pointless and will show poor performance.
Only place beacons where staff are meant to pass (as above). Do not change staff patrol patterns to suit beacons – this just generates resentment and will probably not generate the data you want.
Next, accept that staff will do the easiest thing possible. If that means not going right up to an entrance, or cutting a corner to make work easier, they will do it. Everyone will. If you must change the way staff work then you must document it and re-train staff.
We have had clients break all the above ‘rules’ and it always ends poorly. Generally the solution is to move the beacon.
Applying Beacons To Locations
People absorb beacon signals. This is a known fact. If there are many people between a beacon and the staff member logging data, the signal will be reduced. Mouting higher helps. Increasing power level helps. So, checking beacon logging is working when an area has many people present is strongly suggested.
Metal reflects beacon signals. If you mount on a metal pillar, the beacon signals will be reflected out the front, less will be available behind. It is not perfect, but it will change where staff are logged from.
Malls are usually easy unless it is a multi storey site and there are voids between levels. Ideal mouting is on the ceiling in the middle of the mall but this is difficult. What can be very successfully done is mount on a wall, high up, only increase the power level to Level-3 for wider malls without voids.
Voids between levels allows the signal to travel easily between levels. This must be avoided. The only solutiuon is to,
- Mount away from voids,
- Ensure the beacon power is not set too high,
- If necessary, use 2 or more beacons to cover a wide mall with voids.
Entrances can be problematic. If it is a lovely day, lots of sun streaming in through wide entrance glass doors, staff may not move to where you need to track them. In other words, they stand back, say ‘no point going there, it is fine’ and you do not get a logging.
On Top Of Metal Entrance door frames is to be avoided. Metal reflects the signal away. If you mount a beacon on top of a metal frame of a doorway, it is likely that staff will have to pass very close to get a log of their movements. Ideally move the beacon out into the clear, away from metal.
Toilets can also be problematic because they are often small. If a toilet is small, the signal from a beacon may easily penetrate through plaster walls from one toilet area to another (eg from the male to the female areas) making isolation and localization of staff difficult. Best possible application is;
- Mount at hip height near where staff enter the toilet area,
- Reduce the beacon power to Level-1 using management mode, scan, set power,
- Check results. If the data is not indicative of staff movements then increase power and-or move the beacon to a better location.