Choosing an iBeacon Developer

We are sometimes approached by companies after their initial choice of developer has let them down. The usual pattern is failure to meet deadlines after which the developer gives excuses why they can’t continue on the project. iBeacon projects introduce extra complexities that, if not experienced previously, can slow or stall projects. In the worst of cases this can cause developers to drop out wasting valuable time and in some cases loss of money that can’t be recovered.

A resultant problem is that it’s difficult to take on others’ code. The only time this is usually possible is when the developer has left for a good reason and is still around for a short time to answer questions. Noone wants to take on abandoned code as as it’s usually poorly implemented and documented.

Organisations are generally too casual about how and who they take on for development, concentrating on cost and speed at the expense of risk. Do some checking so you reduce some of the risks.

Ask who (yes a person, not a company) will be actually doing the work. How long have they been with the company? Try to assess whether they are likely to see your project through to the end. Try to get a reference for work done by the person. Ask the reference about quality and whether the work was completed on time. The better developers provide weekly or even daily builds for you to review. This allows you to evaluate progress and provide feedback. Think about how much pre-sales feedback has been received. For most projects, developers ask things and provide initial advice. If it’s all ‘can do’ or ‘yes’ then suspect something is amiss.

Successful development is a long term relationship and a random approach to choosing one is more likely to land you in trouble. It’s sometimes the case that there’s more work to be done on amendments, enhancements, solving end-user problems and creating variants than on the original development. Think longer term.

Read about our development services.

Beacon Locator Android App

A growing number of people are using beacons for personal use. Today, we added the Beacon Locator Android app to our Solutions Directory. It allows you to set up action types such as opening a URL, broadcasting an Android intent, starting an app, changing the sound profile and running tasks via Tasker in response to detecting or losing a beacon signal.

What’s especially interesting about this app is that it’s open source allowing you to extend it to a multitude of personal and business scenarios.

Learnings from Using iBeacons in Wales’ Oldest Gallery

There’s a useful article on the Nesta site on Using Proximity Technology to Enhance the Gallery Experience.

Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw in Llanbedrog on the Llyn Peninsula is Wales’ oldest art gallery. They created a mobile app that uses iBeacons to deliver content to gallery visitors.

They have some insights:

  • They found that audio-only content was best so as not to distract from the art itself.
  • Users were most interested in content presented by the artists themselves rather than other commentators.
  • Positioning the beacons was important. Planning and positioning of beacons was vital in ensuring a glitch-free experience.

Our experience of using beacons in art galleries shows that, as with Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw findings, most problems occur when beacon transmissions overlap. You have to fine tune beacon power and/or trigger on specific ranges in order to prevent false triggering or ‘bouncing’ between exhibits when the user hasn’t even moved. Apps can also be set to ignore multiple triggers that happen within a very short time.

Using iBeacons To Prompt You To Do Healthy Things

We like Nag Murty’s tweet where he says…

“Think ibeacons are only for retail? How about using an ibeacon as a health coach”

The Product Hunt web site video shows how he is using beacons to prompt himself to do more healthy things.

Nag doesn’t share how he does this but it’s fairly simple to implement. You can use just about any beacon with AutomateIt on Android or Proximitask on iOS to create a notification when you pass a beacon.

New Tally App

We have just announced our new Tally app that can be used to monitor people or things that have beacons attached to them. It’s suitable for counting groups of people, for example, tour groups and educational classes or finding the wareabouts of things such as stock items, machines or vehicles. It’s also suitable for lone workers and evidence based working.

The app is csv driven in that you can import and export beacons of interest with given names and groups. You can then start/stop monitoring sessions on all beacons, all beacons declared in the app or just beacons in a named group. The results make up sessions of detected beacons that can, again, be exported to csv files. You can also choose to add arbitrary (prompted for) information to a session, for example a description of the location, that you might later use for analysis.


The power of the app comes from the fact it works in background and can also work unattended, stopping and starting sessions automatically during idle time when detected the beacons haven’t changed. The resulting session csv files can be automatically sent via email or ftp, with queuing for failed sends.


Here are some examples of how Tally can be used:

Managing Tour Groups: You might set up an Excel file with named grouped members that’s imported into the app. Give each a beacon and set the app to show those beacons that are missing. Start a session and the app will give you the names of those people missing.

Class Registration: Give each student a beacon. Import the student names from Excel and/or dynamically add the named students one by one by allowing the app to add the nearest beacon. Set the app to automatic sessions and email sending. The app will regularly report who is in the room. The app will also send the group if this has been set for the student.

Managing Stock: Put beacons on large or valuable stock items. Import the items from Excel or add manually in the app auto-filling the beacon uuid, major and minor for the closest beacon. Set the app to prompt for extra information at the start of a session. When you need to do a stock check, start a session, enter the room name or area and walk around the room. Stop the session and export the detected beacons. You might also set the minimum signal strength for detection so as to filter out beacons in adjacent rooms.

Evidence Based Working: Some jobs require workers to prove they have been at a particular place at a particular time. Site beacons at the places that need to be visited. Import the named place details and/or set them manually in the app (you can also export this data). Set the app to unattended use and FTP upload and give to the worker. You will receive where the worker has been, with named locations via FTP.

Testing Beacons: Some rollouts, for example at museums, need to regularly walk-test the routes to make sure the beacons are working and battery strength is sufficient. Set the app to detect all beacons and enable the battery monitoring. Walk the museum and all the beacons, with their battery levels will be recorded for the session. Export to Excel, send via email or share the output session file.

Learn more about Tally

New BeaconZone Solutions Directory

We have received so many enquiries as to whether we know of Beacon software solutions for specific tasks that we have decided to start a Beacon Solutions Directory.

We have listed solutions that work with generic iBeacon and Eddystone beacons and implemented as web platforms or stand alone mobile apps. We are continually adding solutions so check back regularly to discover new solution providers.

If you know of a solution we haven’t listed or your company provides a solution, please contact us to get added. Solution providers linking back to us will be featured on the front page of the directory.