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Author Topic: iBeacon  (Read 636 times)

Weaver

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iBeacon
« on: January 10, 2017, 07:30:24 AM »

Does anyone know anything about Apple and iBeacon units?

Mrs Weaver does bed and breakfast and her guests keep getting lost, driving on past because they get confused in the dark and because their satnav takes them to a postcode which is about a quarter of a mile away. I'm just wondering any standard Apple apps can alert a user when the user comes near to an iBeacon.

It's very much a long shot though, there has to be some app that supports this function, it has to be installed, which is why unless this functionality is present in some standard app then it's a dead loss, the app has to be running, the machine has to be awake not asleep and bluetooth has to be turned on. So I'm not hopeful, but I thought it might be worth at least looking into it.

The other thing would be if she could send her visitors some exact coordinates, but there would have to be a standard format for the data and some suitable Apple app which could consume it. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to have decent contact details for some of the visitors, for some reason.
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roseway

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 08:14:01 AM »

I know nothing about the subject, but I see that Android users can install an iBeacon detector: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=youten.redo.ble.ibeacondetector&hl=en
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aesmith

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2017, 12:13:51 PM »

Maybe a lower tech solution, but how about sending visitors a photo of your place as seen from the public road, or of the access if you're off the road.  Something that they'll see while approaching following their sat nav.

As an aside I've seen plenty of examples where navigation by postcode is flawed.  Satnav manufacturers seem to assume that a postcode always identifies a single point or property.    At home if you follow directions to our postcode it sends you right past our house and down a track passable only by four wheel drive tractor as at least one person found when they got their car stuck there.   I imagine it's even worse in town where a postcode could cover quite a long street. 
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Ronski

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2017, 10:42:47 PM »

Rather than give a postcode give the longitude/latitude and also GPS co-ordinates, that way their sat nav will take them right to your door. Most Sat-nav systems will take one or the other.

http://www.latlong.net/

Another option is to send them a Google Maps link as well, that way they can see exactly where you are located.
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Weaver

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 11:26:49 AM »

The problem, so I'm told, is that people don't read instructions at all. Saying “the very first house in the village” ought to be clear enough, but people just head on hoping for some unspecified miraculous intervention. At this time of year people are also struggling in the pitch blackness too.

I was hoping for some way of waking them up.

Is there a standard app that can sound an alarm based on coordinates? And would need some way of sending those coordinates to people in a standard format friendly to that app.
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Ronski

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 02:40:54 PM »

I'm afraid that if they can't be bothered to read instructions to the accommodation then I doubt they'd even read the part about installing an app, let alone setting it up, there's only so much you can do for some folk. Off course it's these people that will complain the place was hard to find, when it's not, it's their lack of planning.

I always work out the exact location of were we are staying, check on google maps/street view and finally save it in the Sat Nav before we leave, and if a post code is not good enough I will use the GPS coordinates.

I appreciate it is hard to find places in the dark, we recently stayed at the Travellodge at Fort Dunlop, whilst the building was very easy to see and find in the dark the reception and parking wasn't, and wasn't sign posted anywhere either.

Perhaps you could install some kind of illuminated sign? Even better if it only switched on when a car approached.
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Weaver

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2017, 05:22:00 PM »

I'm assuming that there would have to be a standard, ie in-box, app from Apple that supports iBeacon for it to be any use for my purposes. Anything that has to be installed cuts down the number of potential users to approximately zero. I haven't been able to find out anything about app support for iBeacon despite all of Apple’s noise (I drowned), so perhaps they are assuming that developers will create a morass of different apps. A standard alert server plus accompanying UI combined with ubiquity is what would make this kind of thing useful by creating momentum reasonably quickly, imho. I'd hope to see optional alerts published through the various map apps and the standard UI that is already used by location-based reminders (via Siri iirc, possibly in the Reminders app too?).

The Find Friends app might be another possible route - this can deliver alerts of various kinds already, and - without iBeacons - a mechanism for sending some coordinates to someone so that you can declare yourself to them as an abstract 'friend' would provide a way of exploiting the existing app.
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burakkucat

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 06:28:38 PM »

I was hoping for some way of waking them up.

Surely driving over the cattle-grid would have that effect?  ::)
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2017, 10:46:36 PM »

I may be missing the point, wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last.   :-[

But from what I can see iBeacon uses bluetooth, which would limit range to a few feet, not even tens of feet.   Useful in the supermarket for marketing Apps distinguishing between the shelf storing cauliflower and that selling beer, but is it really the technology of choice for those travelling by car and failing to find their destination?
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Weaver

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2017, 05:55:00 AM »

The devices that I have seen quote 70m some 100m range with Bluetooth 4.x LE. I intend of course to take that with a very large pinch of salt. I have a number of options for placement and the devices are so cheap that I could use several to give early warning, it turns out that it would be easy to mount one right on the roadside if necessary. Some of the devices are claimed to be weather proof, which I would discount, but it in any case completely shielding one from the weather would be easy enough.

But all is to no avail without zero-hassle, zero-installation standard app support.

Burakkucat is quite right, the cattle grid is a mechanical location-based alert device. Unfortunately it doesn't compel visitors to initiate the awareness function, or start up fact recall or optical character reading services. Mrs Weaver was roaming down the road in the blackness the other night with her head-torch on, trying to find errant guests who had sailed on past, driven downhill until the satnav told them they were <somewhere random>, then found they had no 2G coverage because they had lost too much height, so had to turn round and go past (again) a mile or so up hill until they could get some phone signal to call Mrs Weaver for rescue.

I have tried to manually correct all the various well-known mapping databases so that the Mrs is not only visible but is shown at exactly the correct coordinates rather than some lazy assumption derived by the mapping software from the postcode.

Leaving aside iBeacon for a moment, it would be useful to have a way of sending people coordinates to add into an alert app (perhaps in the style of a url). It would also be useful if the mapping services could allow you to select a named location such as a business that is already shown, and generate a location alert based on that.

My problem is that I just don't know enough about Apple standard apps’ functionality, and absolutely zero about Android. With the exception of Mrs Weaver’s ancient Sony music player Android box (not even internet-connected iirc), I have never even seen an Andoid box.

I could of course just take a small risk and buy a couple of iBeacons to see if I can discover any standard apps that come to life, but I would be digging blindly at the moment.
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Weaver

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 05:58:11 AM »

If anyone has some time on their hands and manages to spot anything about location alerts, coordinate urls or whatever, as well as app support and iBeacons (non-standard apps are out for me as mentioned earlier) then I be very grateful for a tip, via this thread pls.

I do find googling especially difficult because of confusion, drugs, pain so anyone with a functioning brain who is bored can be very helpful.
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andyfitter

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 12:50:27 PM »

For iPhone you could set up a local 'reminder' with a geofence, for example with Siri, "Remind me when I get home that I have arrived". This relies on your home address being in your contacts.

You could then share this with the guests from within the standard reminders app. If they accept it, in theory a local notification should appear on the guests iPhone when they become near to your location. No additional apps required. 
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andyfitter

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2017, 12:59:09 PM »

Actually... you can't share specific reminders, but you can share lists of reminders, so maybe if you make a new list specifically for that reminder

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2015/10/21/how-to-share-reminders-lists/
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 01:01:49 PM by andyfitter »
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Weaver

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 02:28:35 AM »

That's a very interesting tip. Thank you very much.

I wonder how to declare / define a location in Siri's terms?
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andyfitter

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Re: iBeacon
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 12:48:59 PM »

You can also add them via the standard reminders app, and set location either as a typed address or let it use gps to detect where you are if the address isn't accurate enough.

Good luck!
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