Friday, May 29, 2015

HM-10 Over-the-Air Configuration Software from the Manufacturer

About 3 months ago, I attempted to test the available software provided by the manufacturer of HM-10 modules, and I failed to make it work but today, I tried to experiment with it and to my surprise, I was able to make it work! This probably because the software has been updated or it could be that my previous configuration of HM-10 was wrong, but I am quite sure that I used the same configuration as before.

The first step I did was used my configuration as indicated in my previous article(Configuring HM-10 to Support Over-the-Air(OTA) Update). Then, I downloaded the new apk from the manufacturer's website but I dont recommend downloading the software from there because they frequently update the files. Here is the apk file I used for my experiment and testing: And check the screentshots below as a result of my successful testing:

The Initial Screen. I pressed the search button. 
The app found my ibeacon, I had to tap the ibeacon to configure:
The configuration screen appeared, The initial status message is "connecting to ibeacon....", so I had to wait until it connects to the ibeacon. This is where my precious testing fails, the app could not connect to the ibeacon. But today, it mysteriously connected successfuly.
I tried to type "AT" on the input text and pressed the send button next to it, and the ibeacon responded "OK":

All AT commands should work with the software except those that will affect the ibeacon module's connectivity.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Configuring the Axaet Ibeacons

I have recently acquired several units of Axaet Ibeacons, the very colorful ibeacons with plastic shell casing available in different shapes. At first I thought the ibeacons were not working with the provided Ibeacon Management apps that I downloaded in the google playstore but through further reading and research, I have finally made it work. Here's how I made it work:

  1. I found the app by searching the google playstore using the keyword "axaet". There is only 1 app found so I downloaded and installed it immediately.
  2. I opened the app after installation.
  3. I turned on the ibeacon by pressing the function button for 3 seconds. The green led will light up for 2 seconds to indicate that the ibeacon has been turned on.
  4. I have to put the ibeacon into connectible mode by pressing the function button twice with  10ms intervals and long pressing it on the third time until the red led turns on for 2 seconds and after 1 second, the green led will turn on again.
  5. Press the clear screen button on the android app and wait  for the ibeacon to appear on the screen. "_n"  will be appended at the end of the ibeacon's name to signify that the ibeacon is in connectible mode.
  6. I just clicked on the connectible ibeacon and the screen that allows me to configure the ibeacon appears. At first the screen appeared as blank, but when I clicked the empty UUID text field, the current configuration values of the ibeacon I selected became visible instantly. 
  7. If I will click the other ibeacons, a popup message will appear telling me that I should make the ibeacon connectible.

Ideal Security Layer Implementation

The Axaet Ibeacons does not support Over-the-Air(OTA) update so it would be ideal to implement a spatial indexing algorithm, a programming algorithm designed specifically for location-aware devices.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ibeacon Apps Must Not Be Unique

Stores or the Stand-Alone shops that caters to people residing near where it is located can really get smarter with beacons. But ibeacons could not work by itself, it is always accompanied by a customized app. If you could imagine a scenario wherein there are hundreds of shops operating in one location and each one of these shops has implemented ibeacons with the basic objective of attracting more customers. This would mean the consumers has to download all the customized apps from each one of the shops. Having to install all of the apps is not a good idea at all, and seriously will just eat up the memory of the smartphone and this could be disastrous. This scenario will just render the effort of implementing ibeacons useless not to mention the tons of notification that consumers will receive. It has been proven that consumers usually uninstall apps that sends irrelevant notifications.

But there is a number of solutions to this problem. The best solution that I can think of is to have a service provider similar to free blog hosting site which provides a service that enable bloggers to start blogging in an instant.I really like the idea of because I don't have to be very tech savvy to create  a nice blog. All I have to do is register, think of a good blog title, choose the template, create the article, and the next day, I am able to track how many visitors I had the previous day, how did they got into my blog and which article they were able to read, which country they came from and so many more.

Now in the case of the service provider that can host the ibeacon app, the shop owner could just register and be able to do the following:
  1. Integrate the app with their back-end system like SAP HANA, online payment system, or any other software.
  2. Enable shop owners customize their Ibeacon security implementations
  3. Create Loyalty/Rewards/Membership Cards
  4. Create Discount Coupons
  5. Other Promotional Gimmicks
  6. The notifications should be keyword based just like what I mention in my previous article(My Mobile Application Idea using Ibeacons)
The service provider may also provide other tools like data analytics, tracking tools, ibeacon management apps, ibeacon calibration tools, etc.

This solution can be later on integrated into the Operating System so that every consumers need not worry about doing anything. It could be very convenient to have all their loyalty cards kept in one place and it will also be cool if all the purchases of the consumer can be integrated into their personal financial software to enable them to track their expenses.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Top 5 Benefits for Students can get from Ibeacons

Students are like employed people busy building up their skills, preparing for an exam, collaborate with colleagues to work on a group project, or had to stay on the lab to help Professor X finish his latest bionic brain designs. They have to work hard in order to pass their subjects. With their busy lifestyle, there are still so many grunt works that needs their attention and there may be social events and promos that they might miss. These could be very important for every students to bond with friends and cement connections. Thank God, Ibeacon technology is here to make sure every important events at school is not missed. I think these are the following top 5 benefits for students can get from ibeacons:

1. Receiving notifications and reminders using location specific devices coupled with visually appealing apps can truly make schools interactive and will captivate the students' fascination which will increase the students' desire to learn.

2. Getting every students' preference can help School Administrators send relevant notifications. It can also help Guidance Councilors formulate better career guidance program for every students.

3. In the classrooms, attendance can be taken automatically as the student enters the classroom, students can request the teacher's assistance while doing some experiments, resulting in a much better teacher-student relationship.

4. As mentioned above, with the help of ibeacons, important social, organizational, and/or sporting events can never be missed by the students because they could receive relevant reminders and notifications related to such events.

5. A truly interactive game that can help students learn with the help of ibeacons can also be developed. The interactive game could be related to improving and honing the students' social skills, or help them develop interest in solving some of Math's unsolved problems.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Another Effective Guide on How to Maximize the Use of Ibeacons

When trouble comes, there could be something wrong with what you're doing this is especially true for newbies. Ibeacons do sometimes have trouble but there will be some solutions to every unique problems encountered. Sometimes electronic devices fail to operate on certain conditions so these tips can be a good guide to ensure that ibeacons will not fail.

Q: My battery is 180mAH and I expect it to last 15 days but it wont even last for 1 day, what's the problem?
There are a number of reasons why this happens, try these
  1. Batteries of this size is very vulnerable to overcharging and frequent full discharging so avoid overcharging and full discharging the battery
  2. If it does not last for 1 day, see my article A Closer Look at How Ibeacons Consume Power. If you have followed the configuration in this article Configuring HM-10 to Support Over-the-Air(OTA) Update, then you should adjust the rated power transmission power to -23dB by invoking AT+POWE0
  3. If the problem still exists, try adjusting the advertising frequency to 1228mSeconds by invoking AT+ADVI9
  4. Make sure that it sleeps by invoking AT+SLEEP
  5. Enable the Ibeacon's security features AT+TYPE2 and AT+PASS000000("000000" is the default. You may change it to your preferred passkey
This is another informative tip on how to effectively use your ibeacons.