Discussion Forums  >  Maps, Device Location, Tracking

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SmugWimp
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05/07/15 09:14 PM (4 years ago)

Gimbal Beacons... Anyone get them to work? (Got it to work)

I bought a bunch of 'Stick-N-Find' beacons. It took me forever to get around to playing with them. But now that I have, I've ordered a few of their 'industrial' type beacons for an upcoming project. (and look for another SmugPlug as a result in the 'near to distant' future)

During that time, Gimbal (Qualcomm) had some kind of developer thing going, where they would send you three beacons. So I applied, and recieved 3 of their beacons.

When I finally got time to work with them, I could never get them to work. I replaced the batteries, and tried again, but even with the gimbal app, I can still get no response from the beacons...

Did anyone else get Gimbal beacons? Has anyone got them to work? Am I missing something elementary?

The Stick-N-Find beacons work great; no problems. Gimbal? Not a peep.

Let me know if you've gotten different results.

Cheers!

-- Smug
 
tompos
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05/08/15 12:59 AM (4 years ago)
Hi Smug,

I have not tried the Gimbal beacons, but I had a similar experience with "beaconinside" beacons.

I thought that it would be the first step to use the apps from beaconsinde.com, but my beacons were not detected.

The funny thing is that I tried some tutorial apps from "Learning iBeacon" from Craig Gilchrist... and it worked! Finally, I used the LightBlue software on my Mac to see whether the beacons showed up... and they did.

I am sure that you tried similar alternatives besides the Gimbal app...

Good luck!
Thomas
 
SmugWimp
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05/08/15 03:29 AM (4 years ago)
I have that iBeacon book too... In fact, I could only get the Stick-n-finds to work 'without the stick-n-find SDK' with the help of that book. Now my project is 'iBeacon' based, uses no SDK (outside of Apple) and works like a champ!

But yes, I've tried far more than just the Gimbal App and SDK. I'll keep trying... I just wanted to show a 'proof of concept' that I didn't need any particular 'brand' of beacon in my project, even though I've pretty much decided on Stick-N-Find's "iBeek" model (http://bluvision.com/product/ibeek/) because of the high power/long battery life.

My client (a rental car agency) wants to put beacons on each vehicle, because they have several parking lots, and sometimes can't find 'the correct' vehicle when they need it, because someone parked it elsewhere and didn't record the location correctly, or at all.

What my app acomplishes, is to sync with a mysql database of vehicles, and update the location of the vehicle without anyone having to actually 'type' anything. They just walk around or drive around slowly, letting the beacons hit the device, which detects the beacon, matches the vehicle, and remotely updates the database with the current location. This way, a vehicle can be anywhere, and the location will be updated a few times a day in the normal course of operation. A php web page can display all vehicles, or allow a specific search to determine location.

I'm actually kind of pleased how it works, although with my current 'consumer' beacons, the performance lacks severely. But the iBeek can transmit at full power for a few years, as opposed to my consumer beacon, which can last about a half a day on battery at full power iBeacon spec.

And my client's parent company, who also runs an auto sales dealership, is interested in the same thing with their sales fleet, as well as for showroom pizazz. This might land me a nice app contract as well as a recurring income stream. Fingers crossed, lol!


Cheers!

-- Smug
 
tompos
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05/08/15 05:46 AM (4 years ago)
This is a very interesting project. Thanks for sharing this in detail. It is always inspiring to see the broad scope of our techniques.

I came across the iBeacon topic when I implemented a local connection between 2 iphones via Bluetooth. For the specific application (a simultaneous stop watch for about 50 runners in a sport event) it was important not to loose the connection or at least to be warned whenever the distance was too long. I observed a significant variation even when staying at the same distance. So I tried the same with an iBeacon... and observed a similar variation.

Your application is good in the sense that you do not want to distinguish between the beacons. The museum example from the iBeacon book did not work for me very well as the app jumped between the beacons back and forth. But anyway, I learned to use them that way ;-).

Fingers crossed for your project ;-)
Thomas
 
SmugWimp
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05/08/15 07:33 AM (4 years ago)
Oh, we'll distinguish between beacons; they'll all share the same UUID and Major value, but the Minor value will be individual to each vehicle. But like you, I've found that 'reliable' distance configuration and computation is haphazard at best, so I've designed it not to really worry about 'which' beacon signal is stronger or weaker since they vary wildly.

My user interface is a tableView, so even if beacon signals 'jump' a bit, all it really takes is a good "ping" and we're ok... It only needs to detect once, and they don't really need to do much other than 'wave it around' to get signal...

This is a screen shot of the device with no beacons nearby:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/115208762/beek1.png

and this is a shot with a couple of test beacons, and the user 'tapped' on the menu, which brings up an alert, with additional info, if needed.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/115208762/beek2.png

I had also set it to do 'local' notifications, when the app was in the background, but I've found that to be about as annoying as it could possibly get, so I took that out, lol!

Still, at it's core, it's a fairly simple operation. Detect beacon, ID beacon, update the tableView, update the database. I'm still working on some 'repeat' issues in my "update list", but again, it still doesn't really matter; it doesn't add records to the database, just updates the location of a record, so if it turns out to update a record multiple times, it still won't matter; it's the same information.

Cheers!

-- Smug

Edit: the 'seek vehicle' button has since been removed, as it really doesn't serve any purpose; it was placed there from an earlier design, and only recently pulled out. And the UUID/Major/Minor values are really only there for my benefit; they'll also be removed when we move to the final stage...
 
SmugWimp
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05/08/15 08:41 AM (4 years ago)
Well what do you know? I got them to work, after a bit of googling...

It seems you have to 'register' your beacons on the Qualcomm Website 'first', THEN create a configuration, THEN you can discover them on the app. THEN you have to take them apart and put them together again so that the system can update it to the iBeacon configuration from the website.

And you have to do them one by one. Kind of cumbersome, and wouldn't be very convenient if you bought a bunch of beacons (My initial order with Stick-N-Find is for 501 iBeeks. There is a substantial price drop after 500, so...)

However, once all that was done, I can now 'see' the beacons with my app, which is a nice addition; proof of concept is finished. Provided the beacons are configured for iBeacon operation, and provided you give the correct UUID/Major/Minor combo, we're good to go! :)

Onward and Upward...

Cheers!

-- Smug
 
Susan Metoxen
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05/08/15 09:55 PM (4 years ago)
Cool business idea, Smug! Let me know if you need a mainland affiliate. ;) Sounds like a real winner.
 
NCbuzz
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05/10/15 09:02 AM (4 years ago)
Awesome idea Smug!
Congrats on completing the proof of concept. Now get tho$e rolling in ;)
 
tompos
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05/11/15 02:37 AM (4 years ago)
"distinguish between beacons", I used the wrong term. Surely, the major/minor numbers allow me to distinguish between them. I this museum example within he book the app tried to decide which one was the closest beacon... and this jumped back and forth.

Thanks again for sharing this information in detail. I had been thinking about what this "seek vehicle" might trigger... (showing you the direction in which the signal seems to get stronger... but I think such an accuracy is impossible with all the signal variations). But you clarified it: It has no effect ;-).

Thanks!
Thomas
 
SmugWimp
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05/18/15 08:08 PM (4 years ago)
Just to rattle on a bit; My first 'beacon demo' was miserable, because they hid the beacons in the vehicle glove compartment, the beacon transmission power was low, and they were 'consumer' beacons. We only detected 1 of 6 beacons, and I had to just about climb inside the vehicle to get it to detect.

Today I did another demo with the industrial strength 'iBeek', at full power, with the beacon mounted in a more likely location.

We detected the beacons from about 50 feet away from the vehicles, and got all of them on the first try. The beacons were randomly placed in vehicles that were in different areas of the island, with no real knowledge of 'where' they were beforehand, so it was a rousing success, and tipped the decision for them to place an order with me (Sadly, it will have to wait until after vacation).

The 'iBeek' will run from 2-3 years at full iBeacon Spec (Full Power, 100ms intervals). I set these at full power, with a 300ms interval, to extend battery life without comprimising availability. It worked like a champ! :)

With a large quantity order, the Beacons cost me $22 each, and I'm selling them for $30 each. This will bring a few thousand dollars in hardware profit, as well as the App Development ($3K) and monthly residual income (about $50 a month).

If you want to try something like this in your own area, feel free to ask me questions and real world situations. I'm happy to share with others not hogging my market :)

Cheers!

-- Smug
 
tompos
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05/19/15 12:47 AM (4 years ago)
Hi Smug,

I will certainly be among those who ask ;-). In any way it may help to convince possible clients that such an app is reliable and worth spending some money...

Thanks!
Thomas
 

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