A beacon is a small, inexpensive, battery powered device. The beacon sends out an ID (Identification) number over a Bluetooth radio signal and repeats this regularly. The smartphone and the App pics up this signal, recognize the ID number, and uses the signal strength to estimate the distance to the Beacon.
What is the benefit of using a Beacon?
By using Beacon, you can:
- Find lost equipment
- See what equipment is in your storage or car.
- Find gear that you have hidden in the field (depot, wildlife camera, data-logger,…)
When you register a new location or any type of gear, you may allocate a beacon to it. Attach the Beacon device to the gear. This will be a good help in finding the exact spot or equipment later. Or to check if it is near where you are currently. When used, the beacon ID number will appear on the details page of the registration. If not used, the text ‘Beacon not used’ will appear in the same position. The signal strength from the Beacon is displayed, and the lower number you get, the closer you are to the beacon. The numbers span from 1 to 10. On the ‘MAP’ page, the proximity number is displayed, and the GPS calculated distance, and position in the map.
Imagine that you have a lot of gear that you keep in your car. By using this App you can check if it is loaded in the car, stored in the warehouse, or other places you go. Another example is finding tools, instruments, traps, wildlife-camera, and other stuff you have placed outdoor. By use of the map, GPS position and proximity beacon, it's easy to find. Even if you have hidden it to avoid misuse of the gear while left out there.
Where do I purchase a beacon?
A proximity Beacon may be purchase from major online shops. It must use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) type with iBeacon or Eddystone format. The vendor should either deliver each unit with a unique identification numbers (UUID) or offer an app where you can program this yourself. The iBeacon and Eddystone standard define several types of data that can be stored in the Beacon. This App uses the ID number (UUID). A beacon should cost in the range of 5 – 10 USD, or more if there is a service connected to it.
How do I link the beacon to the App?
This is done when you register a new location. Tap on the ‘add beacon’ button and hold the beacon so it touches the smart-phone. Make sure the Beacon is turned on, and that you have only this one beacon close to the phone. You will see a circular symbol at the top of the page, while searching for the Bluetooth beacon. After 10 to 20 seconds the pairing should be completed.
Note the Beacon function is in the Premium ‘in-app-purchase' option. It is available for 2 weeks after download. Then it is disabled and can be purchased.
What is the battery life?
The lifetime of a Beacons battery depends on the size of the battery, the transmit power of the Bluetooth radio signal, and how often the signal is transmitted. The transmit power and frequency of the transmitting, can be change by setting parameters in the beacon. The vendors app that lets you change the ID number, can also be used to change these settings. Typical lifetime of the battery is between 1 and 4 years, dependent of these factors. For this app the power should be close to maximum, and the frequency low (1 – 2 seconds). Check also that the battery can be replaced, and that it is water resistant.