New in iOS 10! iBeacon For Printers

New in iOS 10! iBeacon For Printers

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017

Walk up to any printer with any iPhone or iPad and discover a printer instantly with iBeacons for Printers.  iBeacons for Printers were introduced in iOS 10 so that these beacons  broadcast printer discovery to nearby iOS devices over Bluetooth. When an iOS device running iOS 10 or later attempts to print, the device will scan for nearby printer beacons. The Bleu Station Printer Beacon responds with the network address and other information to the iOS device, and the iOS device uses that information to verify that the printer is reachable on the WiFi network.  If it is, the printer will be shown as a selectable printer.

In large organizations, discovering printers with iOS can be difficult since iOS will show all printers that are on the same network and are broadcasting AirPrint advertisements.  The iOS device may see no printers or may show dozens of devices, making it very difficult for the person who wants to print to select the correct printer. iBeacon for Printers solves this problem by broadcasting the printer location over Bluetooth to nearby iOS devices running iOS 10 or later.  As long as the iOS device can reach that printer over the wireless network, it can print to it.  This includes AirPrint printers or any print queue compatible with iOS 10 devices.

Interested in Deploying iBeacons for Printers?   Complete the form below and we’ll contact you. We have the expertise and the experience to make it work for you.

Bleu Station Installation with external antenna

Bleu Station Installation with external antenna

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016

We had a customer looking for a solution to automatically open a gate when the owner’s vehicle approached. We helped him with a prototype of our new beacons and an external antenna.  Here is his experience.

Article written by Robert Predovich:

The Goal

We wanted to automatically open a sliding wrought iron gate at the entrance of a new home as the homeowners approached it within their vehicles. The “open gate” command is available via custom programming within SmartThings and attempts were made to use geofencing on their iPhones to recognize proximity and create a trigger. However, this proved very inconsistent and unreliable. The concept of using a locally installed Bluetooth beacon that would trigger an app on the iPhones, which would in turn trigger an event within SmartThings, was then considered as an alternative.

The Challenge

The location is near Toronto, Canada and so weather, especially cold and snow in winter, become a major issue with regards to determining where a beacon could be installed. Not having to rely on battery power that would be susceptible to a shortened lifespan with the cold temperatures was a significant design consideration. Therefore, an enclosed area that could be serviced with AC power was desirable.

The General Plan

The gate is controlled by a DoorKing unit that provides a user interface for visitors. The hope was that a beacon could be mounted within its metal enclosure without interfering with that unit’s electronics. This would provide the protection and AC power required.

Plan “A”

Initially a Proxidyne Bleu Station Series 100 Beacon was installed. The small size of the unit, even when powered via the AC adapter, was perfect. However, the metal enclosure severely restricted its range. Considering the homeowners would be in their own “metal enclosure” (their vehicle) as they approached the gate, the result was that there was no perceived benefit of an automatic reaction by the system to open the gate compared to their ability to manually trigger the opening of the gate as they arrived.

Plan “B”

When I explained the dilemma to Tim Perfitt and Russell Scheil of Proxidyne they recommended that I do an experiment with a prototype Bleu Station Beacon that had the ability to have an external antenna attached. In this way the beacon could be mounted inside the metal enclosure, safely away from the weather elements and powered via AC, with the dipole antenna sitting on top as illustrated by the photos.

The Result

The beacon range, which was only a few meters from the enclosure when the antenna was inside it, was increased to approximately 110 meters during testing when walking away from it. Although the range during normal use is expected to be reduced by the fact that the iPhones will still be within a metal vehicle as they approach, the external antenna has made this concept a practical solution for us.

 

Thanks for the great writeup, Bob!

Here is a photo of our Series 360 Beacon with external antenna, powered over mini USB or 2 AA batteries:

360 External Antenna 2

If you are interested in an external antenna for your iBeacon application, or more information about our beacons and bluetooth devices for deployment, get in touch!