What is indoor positioning?

It’s the ability of the Crownstones to know where you are when carrying a smart device with you. Your smart device measures the Bluetooth Low Energy signals emitted by the Crownstones. This makes it possible for the Crownstones to react to your presence and proximity.


Requirements for indoor positioning

To enable indoor positioning the following is required:

  • A minimum of 4 Crownstones in the same sphere. It is recommended to have at least 2 Crownstones per room for better performance.
  • To train the Crownstones by walking a few rounds in a specific room.
  • To enable Bluetooth in your smartphone.

How does indoor positioning work?


Every Crownstone in the sphere broadcasts its unique identifier a certain number of times per second.


While walking around a room, your phone records how strong each Crownstone is “heard” in different places of the room. This is what we call the fingerprint of a room.


Every second your phone will make a list of all the Crownstones it senses in that second, and how loud it perceives them.


Based on what the smartphone sensed, the Crownstone system will find the room that most closely matches that.

Placement of the Crownstones

Several factors should be considered when placing Crownstones. A brief explanation of some of these factors is mentioned below:

absorbance of signals

Absorbance of signals

The strength of the received signals gets reduced when the signals need to travel through other high density or conducting materials. For example, metal appliances that block and reflect wireless signals such as fridges, ovens, washing machines, dryers, etc. Increasing the number of Crownstones will diminish these effects.

ceiling lights


Placing the Crownstones behind ceiling lights is of great help to increase the area covered by the Crownstones and diminish the absorbance of the broadcasted signals. This translates into better performance of the indoor localization.

Areas vs Rooms

Areas vs Rooms

The indoor localization has difficulty with multiple areas (i.e. no wall is separating the areas) in the same room (i.e. a space delimited by walls). This is because the difference in the measured signal in these areas can be very small. Therefore, it is preferred to have walls in between so that the signal strength can be better differentiated.



For indoor positioning, Crownstones should not only be placed along a single axis because not enough information will be provided to identify in which room you are. For example, in the setting shown above, the Crownstones will have trouble identifying in which room you are because the strength of the signals at the intersection on the left is the same as on the right.

When is indoor positioning of great help?


You sit on the couch and it is getting dark

The lights in the room where you are can be turned on automatically. Presence information is needed to avoid lights going on even if you are not there!


Go to bed with peace of mind

A small delay doesn’t matter when turning things off. The only thing that matters is that you no longer have to do it manually! No more rounds of checking if everything has turned off!

neighboring rooms

Neighboring rooms are also turned on

Some people don’t like to peer into or walk into a dark hallway or another room. If you turn on the lights in all neighboring rooms a small delay doesn’t matter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Four Crownstones at home is the absolute minimum. The more Crownstones are present, the more information becomes available to know someone’s location. Since the Crownstones in other rooms also contribute to the positioning accuracy, two Crownstones per room is often sufficient. Depending on the house, if there are heavy reinforced concrete ceilings and walls, the signals won’t travel as far and you might need more Crownstones.

For a Crownstone to detect your presence it might take up to 10 seconds. For example, when walking along the hallway to get to another room, the lights in the hallway won’t automatically turn on. However, they will do it if you stay in the hallway for a longer time.

Crownstones detect that you leave the house after not hearing from you for 5 minutes. After that time, they will think that you have left home (the sphere). Once a room is no longer occupied by anyone, a five-minute grace period starts. The five-minute grace is to avoid turning lights (or devices) off and on when you are still at home, but there is a long delay when your smartphone advertises your location to the Crownstones.

To improve the quality of the training, we give the following recommendations:

  • Try to cover evenly most places in the room.
  • Hold your phone the same way you do when not training.
  • Try to hold your phone not always in the same orientation.
  • Re-train a room when a Crownstone is moved to another place inside the room.
  • Re-train a room when a Crownstones is added or removed from that room.

It’s difficult to put a number (in meters) for this answer as the accuracy depends on several factors such as the number of Crownstones present, how the training was done, the presence of metal appliances or the presence of people, etc. A more detailed explanation of this topic can be found in this post.