Using Sensors To Get Information Sent To Your Mobile Device

ibeacon copyiBeacon and Other Bluetooth Low Energy Sensors – Getting Information from the Physical Environment with Mobile Devices


FileMaker recently announced support of iBeacons with FileMaker Go. iBeacon is Apple’s protocol that allows mobile devices (iOS and Android) to pick up signals from small sensors using the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol. In the case of the iBeacon protocol, devices can be associated with “things.” A sensor can be attached, literally, to any physical object, and by utilizing the unique identifier broadcast from the sensor, information about the object is fetched and sent to your phone.

For instance, a sensor is attached to a piece of art in a gallery and users passing by can quickly retrieve information about the specific artwork. You could also place a bunch of sensors on every item on every pallet of inventory on a truck, and the person receiving that inventory could tell if something was missing before even unloading the truck. Unlike barcodes or Quick Response (QR) codes, sensors do not have to be “scanned,” they are broadcast and have a range of about 70 meters, with the range on some sensors being configurable to greater or lesser distances. Users do not have to configure anything or make a connection to start receiving sensor data – simply open the app and nearby sensor information will be delivered to the device.

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While iBeacon fulfills a specific need, it is not the only game in town. Increasingly, these specialized sensors have the ability to broadcast many protocols at once. Google has a competing protocol called Eddystone, which can broadcast four different packet formats (and with some sensors, you can use all four). Additionally, you can take advantage of all of this sensor goodness with a variety of web services:

UID – This is pretty much just like Apple’s iBeacon Protocol where sensors broadcast a unique identifier picked up over Bluetooth for mobile devices

URL – This format broadcasts a URL across the Google platform (in Google Play and in Google Chrome); these URLs are displayed without the user having to download any software

TLM – This format broadcasts Telemetric data such as battery voltage, beacon temperature, light and motion

EID – This format is for more secure implementations requiring a random unique ID, where the meaning is derived from the cloud resolver hosted by Google

It is also possible to broadcast custom packet formats from sensors.

All of these sensors come in a variety of form factors and capabilities. You can get coin-sized sensors, sticker-type sensors, and even sensors that can be embedded in clothing and washed. Imagine the ability to solve many business needs with sensors that can track movement, relay their location, give temperature readings, monitor light and motion, and retrieve information. It is now easier than ever to incorporate data from the physical environment with your business solutions.  The Revolution11 team is excited to incorporate the sensors when solving client needs — the uses for iBeacon and the other protocols are endless.

Download a PDF of this blog: iBeacon Sensors

Using Sensors To Get Information Sent To Your Mobile Device

Utilizing Twilio and ThingSpeak API in IoT Applications

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Rapid Systems Engineering Lets Your Devices Talk To You

Rapid Systems Engineering recently posted about how they combined our solution that utilizes Twilio to automatically send notifications with ThingSpeak API and Infrared Sensors to create automatic messaging and data collection whenever any motion is detected out in the field.

You can read about it here.

Utilizing Twilio and ThingSpeak API in IoT Applications

Introducing Twilio Labs…

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Twilio Labs is where additional features for the Twilio core platform are published.

Twimlets

The projects accessed through Twilio Labs are called Twimlets.  Twimlets are small web applications that implement basic voice application functionality.  They are open source so you can modify Twimlets to suit your needs; they are also stateless so you can pass the URL parameters of execution in when you call them.

Using Twimlets

You can wire up a phone number to the URL of a Twimlet, and they can be combined with your own applications. Twimlets can also be chained based on what happens during their execution.

The Twimlets currently available are:

Forward

will forward a call to another phone number and can forward to a new URL if the call isn’t answered

Find Me

will ring up to 10 phone numbers in order until someone answers the call

Simulring

will dial 2-5 phone numbers simultaneously and the first person to answer is connected to the caller

Voicemail

will ask the user to leave a message and will email the audio recording to a specified email address

Simple Menu

will play a message for the caller and wait for them to press digits that will launch them to a new URL or twimlet based on their selection

Simple Message

will play one or more audio files, say one or more text blocks, or any combination of both

Call Me

a simpler version of Simulring or Find Me that only rings one number and will forward to another URL or Twimlet if no one answers

Echo

outputs TwiML passed in via the URL, which is useful for building completely stateless apps that place outbound calls

Conference

allows you to build a simple conference line

Hold Music

plays hold music indefinitely based on music stored in an S3 bucket

Twimlet Generator

Twilio Labs provides a Twimlet Generator where you can build up and test a Twimlet URL on the website.

Below is the Forward Twimlet Generator and its Configuration parameters using Twilio’s Try It Out! section found in each Twimlet example:

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Twilio Sample File in FileMaker

Within FileMaker, Twimlets can be utilized by HTTP requests and the “Insert From URL” function.  Revolution 11 developed a sample file to send text messages shown in the blog “Twilio Sample PHP & Instructions.” In this blog, we integrated the Hold Music Twimlet.

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By entering a phone number in the “To Phone Number” section and pressing Send SMS button, the phone number you entered receives this SMS text message:

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When we enter the phone number we want to reach and press “Call 1,” the phone number receives a call with music playing.

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Download a PDF of this blog here: Introducing Twilio Labs…

Introducing Twilio Labs…