Using Beacons For a Library Tour

There’s an interesting article at code4lib on Creation of a Library Tour Application for Mobile Equipment using iBeacon Technology by Virginia Tech. It describes a project where a QR code driven library tour was updated to use beacons.

Some insights include how attractive beacons can become ‘lost’, the problem of replacing batteries, limited battery life due to the iOS requirement for beacons to advertise every 100ms and challenges physically fixing beacons.

As mentioned in our article on Choosing an Advertising Interval, it’s possible to set the advertising interval to between 300ms and 600ms while maintaining a reasonable detection time. Also, had the library chosen Android tablets they could have used a much longer advertising interval. 100ms is an artificial thing set by Apple for very quick detection on iOS devices. On Android, the scanning is more controllable,you can scan for longer and hence have beacons that advertise less often and have much longer battery life.

Fixing Beacons

Most beacons come with 3M double sided stickers that allow them to be fixed to walls. However, over time, these can become detached. If you want beacons to stay attached for a long time, want to make theft more difficult or need a better fixing for rough environments then you will need to look into screw fixing.

Our TON9108 has three holes that can be used for fixing. Our current stock comes with three screws as well as a sticker:

batterybutton

The Smartbeacon AA Pro also has a holder and includes flat head screws:

smartbeacon-4aa-pro-smaller

The long range Minew i3 has two screw holes, screw fixings and a sticker:

i3_smaller

The W905 has screw holes (but no screws):

w905_photo_smaller

The long range TON9118 has two screw holes and screws:

ton9118_smallerOne final option is to put beacons without screw holes inside another object or behind something. However, make sure that the intervening material isn’t metallic otherwise it will shield the signal.