iBeacons

Home Support Forums Feature Requests iBeacons

This topic contains 30 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  lvs13 3 mths, 2 wks .

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  • mattmullen
    Participant
    February 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm #13151

    I am thrilled with the functionality that is being added to roomie. i see that iBeacons support is experimental and that an iOS device can be used as a beacon, but will you support other beacon manufacturers? I purchased five for just this reason, location based triggers for automation. I got them from geohopper they are called bleu stations and they have a companion app called bleu setup to set output power and name them. They could be named room by room to have roomie trigger lights etc. do you have any plans along these lines?

    thanks for a great product.

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    February 26, 2014 at 8:58 pm #13155

    There isn’t any technical reason why this would not work today, we just haven’t tested any of them. Because Roomie converts any iOS device into an iBeacon, that is something we feel comfortable releasing now.

    At a technical level, the iBeacon UUID advertisement from Roomie is very simple. The UUID is the same as the random home UUID of your Roomie configuration – you can see this in the Contact Support email template for instance. The major is the room number plus 1, or 0 if no room advertisement. The room number refers to the room by index as listed in the rooms list. The minor shouldn’t be needed for a stationary iBeacon. If your third party iBeacons are configurable, in principle that should work now.

    Thank you.

    mattmullen
    Participant
    February 27, 2014 at 10:26 am #13175

    Ok that’s great and I can’t wait to mess around with this. I am going to send a Contact support email, can you please tell me what UUID number I would type in my iBeacons as they are configurable. Thanks a lot. Matt

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    February 27, 2014 at 10:43 am #13192

    If you tap “Contact Support” inside Roomie, the email that appears gives you your unique UUID labelled “ID”. That needs to be set as the broadcast UUID for any external third-party iBeacon.

    Thank you.

    robertvg
    Participant
    February 28, 2014 at 8:36 am #13243

    Very exiting new feature indeed ! Big thumbs up for Roomie.
    What would be the cheapest option to buy some (~3) beacons ?
    Can anybody recommend some options ?

    Tom
    Participant
    March 5, 2014 at 2:05 am #13347

    I played around with this last night, using an iPhone 4S as the iBeacon, and then my iPhone 5S as the roaming device.  When I walked close to the 4S, nothing turned on, even though I had an Entry Activity set.  If I went back into Settings, I could watch the distance decrease and change from red to gray as I got closer to the 4S.  I expected that when it changed to gray, thay was the trigger for the activity.  But nothing.

    Any thoughts on what I’m doing wrong?

    Also, is there any delay setting (kind of like an occupancy sensor has), so that, for instance, if I leave to go to the bathroom and then I come back, it doesn’t turn everything off and then turn everything back on when I return?

    Perhaps a video tutorial would be helpful, or maybe even a setup FAQ

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    March 5, 2014 at 10:29 am #13350

    Red = Too Far Away
    Gray = Near, candidate for Current Room
    White = Near, Current Room

    The iPhone 5S seems to have some issues related to iBeacon. That’s actually the primary reason we have stated that this feature requires iOS 7.1. So we’d recommend removing that hardware from any testing of this for now.

    There are several built-in thresholds to prevent redundancy of commands. We’ll likely add some tunable parameters over time based on feedback.

    A FAQ on this whole area will be posted after iOS 7.1 is available and we have verified that any known issues have been resolved by that.

    Thank you.

    djb_rh
    Participant
    March 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm #13415

    I’m *really* hoping Apple sees fit to let you turn on an iBeacon service in a 3G ATV.  The hardware is capable, and this would be a very cheap and easy way to add iBeacon support to a room that already has an ATV.  Also hoping support is ironed out so nicely in 7.1 that these start rolling out en masse and get a lot cheaper if you have to buy actual devices.

     

     

    –Donnie

    Ghost
    Participant
    March 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm #13450

    Quick question when using beacons, do both devices need to have roomie open for it to work?

    Or just the device executing an activity for example.

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    March 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm #13452

    The way Apple has implemented iBeacons for now requires both sides are running the relevant app.

    We think that is…. some kind of oversight. Regardless, we’re keeping an eye on that issue and we have a good future solution in case Apple decides to keep it that way. It seems to us that Apple is likely to fix that. iBeacon is sort of like CarPlay, it’s something that Apple is continuing to refine.

    Advertising a Room can be done via external iBeacon transmitters, so that would generally setup either via a dedicated room based iOS device (“this is the Family Room iPad”) or a dedicated transmitter.

    Advertising a Device though is where you may want the advertisement to happen in the background. You could attach a physical iBeacon to your car, but in general things that move are not also running an app and unlocked. So right now it works for the Apple Store app because you walk around the Apple Store with your device in your hand and their app running, but Apple doesn’t broadcast the advertisement if an app is closed – even though iOS actually does broadcast BLE advertisements with apps closed, just not yet iBeacons. (An example of that is the Kevo lock which uses BLE proximity and works with the app closed, but is not based directly on iBeacons.)

    Anyway, again we have a good solution if Apple decides not to improve iBeacons in that direction, but we do consider that a bug in iOS at this point.

    Thank you.

    Macjedi
    Participant
    March 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm #13480

    Hey guys.  Quick question on this front.  Is the proximity feature only going to work on devices that support Bluetooth 4.0 BLE?  So older iPads, for example, won’t be supported?  And only newer ones would?  Just trying to understand the limitations.  We have some iPads in our rooms we were hoping to use as broadcasters.  One room has an iPad 2, the other an iPad 3.

    Thanks!

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    March 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm #13486

    Yes, iBeacon is based on Bluetooth BLE. That means it requires an iPhone 4S, iPad 3 (March 2012), or iPod Touch 5 (2012) or greater in each case of course.

    Note that our previous message was also written prior to testing iOS 7.1. There is some indication that iOS 7.1 may have made some improvements in this area.

    Thank you.

    Ghost
    Participant
    March 11, 2014 at 10:41 pm #13499

    Looks like i got my wish, been reading articles saying apps in 7.1 no longer have to be open for ibeacons.

    Macjedi
    Participant
    March 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm #13534

    This is an idea out of left field, but can Apple TVs running 6.1, which is similar to iOS 7.1, act as beacons?  That is something we have in most rooms of the house, and would be great if we could use those as beacons trigger the auto-selection of rooms within Roomie.

    Keep up the great work guys!

    Ghost
    Participant
    March 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm #13593

    Im not sure if the roomie team has had time to test ios 7.1 but im curious to what end from my previous question would require apps to be open.

     

    My goal and hope would be neither device would need to have roomie actually open to work, but i dont know if that would be possible.

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    April 1, 2014 at 11:14 am #13866

    Roomie 2.2 is now available and adds the ability to use the default Estimote beacon. Explaining to users how to reconfigure Estimotes with a special beacon ID was quite an involved process, and in general there is no real issue with using a shared beacon these days until such time as your neighbors in the next apartment start using Estimotes as well – by which time it will likely be easier to configure hardware iBeacons.

    We’ve also fixed a few other issues with Proximity Automation in 2.2 and now feel this feature is ready for real usage.

    Thank you.

    robb18
    Participant
    April 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm #13868

    Are there directions on using the Estimote iBeacon hardware with Roomie.  I see the option in the settings but don’t know how to implement 3 different Estimotes in three different rooms such that Roomie on my iPhone/iPad knows to switch to that room upon me entering it.

    Thanks,

    Rob

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    April 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm #13874

    The new Proximity FAQ has just been posted that includes instructions on setting up Estimotes:

    http://www.roomieremote.com/faq/#proximity

    Thank you.

    Tom
    Participant
    April 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm #13876

    So, I’ve gotten the proximity stuff to work.  I have no lights that are integrated, so for now, I’m just “Watching TiVo” when entering the family room and “Power Off”-ing when I exit.  That seems to work, as long as, like Roomie suggests above, bothe the iPhone 4S I’m using as a beacon and the iPhone 5s I have in my pocket are open and running Roomie in the foreground (sorry, Ghost, but it doesn’t seem like the background thing works right now).

    The REALLY cool thing, it seems to me, would be to be able to do something like:

    - On enter for more than 15 seconds, “Watch TiVo”  - the 15 seconds would be so that if I’m just walking THROUGH the room, nothing happens.

    - On exit, pause (so I can go get a beer or use the restroom without turning everything off)

    - On exit for more than 5 minutes, “System Off”

    Obviously, for this use case to work, some kind of timer would have to be incorporated, and would have to be available to the user for customization.  Any suggestions?

    Macjedi
    Participant
    April 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm #13879

    I got Roomie 2.2 to work with my iBeacons today!  Very cool!  The one thing I was a little disappointed by is how long it takes for Roomie to figure out I have switched rooms.  Can this be sped up by changing the refresh intervals on the iBeacons?  Right now I have it set to their default refresh/broadcast rate.

    Thanks!

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    April 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm #13884

    We set those internal thresholds before iOS 7.1 was released. It looks a little better now so we can probably lower them a bit. Basically the thresholds are set right now to avoid a far away room being interpreted as near before the ranging gets more precise so it allows for a few seconds.

    One important note that makes it take longer: If you have two rooms, one has a Beacon and one does not, and Roomie is deciding between the one with a Beacon which is known to be near and the one with no known Beacon which is set as the current room in Roomie, we double the amount of time required to refine the signal.

    So if you set to Gym room with no Beacon while Office has a nearby Beacon at 1m, in other words you are actually changing rooms to Office now but Roomie knows you are set to a non-Beacon room, it requires about 6 seconds to let that happen. Meanwhile, if both rooms have a Beacon, we allow a switch after roughly 2.5 seconds of proper ranging. Basically, this avoids the unfair advantage of being the only team to show up at the game. It does not mean they should always win in this case.

    Translation: it gets faster and more precise by adding Beacons for every room.

    One other little trick that obviates the above issue is to set the Rooms tab as active on iPod/iPhone screens. If the Rooms tab is Active, Roomie assumes you don’t care about leaving the current room so the thresholds are lowered to the minimum.

    Thank you.

    Ghost
    Participant
    April 2, 2014 at 3:41 am #13888

    I wish i could try this, at the moment though i dont have a 2nd idevice with ibeacons (looking at an ipad mini retina later this summer).
    The wife has an iphone 5s to but it seems like alot of work to get it working on someone else’s idevice with my config.

    So im guessing that roomie will always need to be open on the device “monitor” but my beacon or phone cant have roomie app closed and still be sending a beacon signal? I would have thought roomie wouldnt need to be open for my phone to send a beacon to the monitor? Maybe roomie can clarify.

    I guess my concern in all this is fail safes. My use case would be typically like the above poster to turn on my dvr when i get home and my equipment. But if i shut down my system, take my phone with to bed, but get up at night to check a phone message and walk near the room is it going to start firing all my equipment on again? Or if my phone dies and i reboot it near a monitor is it going to execute an activity  every time and turn on all my equipment? Perhaps this just comes with the territory?

     

    Ghost
    Participant
    April 2, 2014 at 3:43 am #13889

    OR would that by why roomie needs to be open on my phone for this to work? So its not always sending beacons when a user wouldnt want them?

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    April 2, 2014 at 9:36 am #13892

    The issue of not sending a Beacon when the app is closed should be able to be resolved. We’re on the bleeding edge here with Apple and we’re basically trading fixes back and forth between iOS releases and Roomie releases. iBeacons have exploded in popularity since being a little known feature of iOS 7 on a slide last June so these things are getting ironed out.

    Just consider the issue of not broadcasting a beacon when the app is not open as temporary for now. The alternative right now of course is to send beacons with a hardware beacon like Estimote although that really only makes sense in the room switching scenario.

    Thank you.

    robb18
    Participant
    April 4, 2014 at 9:17 am #13933

    I am using 3 Estimote iBeacons in three rooms.  I have it working such that roomie switches to the correct room, but I can’t figure out how to program actions based on when I enter or exit the room with Estimotes.  The proximity action panel does not show any synchronized devices for me to associate a command with a particular room.  The activities are prefixed with room name.  If I select from that list items for each room, will roomie execute the appropriate activities based on the room I am entering/exiting?

    Thanks,

    Rob

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    April 4, 2014 at 9:31 am #13935

    We noted in the FAQ that is not going to work. Detection of a device requires that device is listed in the Wi-Fi Synchronization Peers list. It doesn’t have to be there to detect it, but it does have to be there to set it up. We can change that but at the moment there really aren’t any use cases where we see people actually carrying iBeacons around (that are not their smartphone).

    Thank you.

    robb18
    Participant
    April 4, 2014 at 9:44 am #13936

    I guess I don’t understand.  And maybe it can not be done at this stage.  I want to be able to execute actions based on the room I am entering or exiting; using Estimotes which are permanently placed in each room.  So, I walk into a room, my iPad, which I am carrying with me, picks up the Estimote and knows I am in the bedroom, so execute this series of actions (turn lights on, TV on, change channel, volume, etc…)  and have the ability to do this discreetly so that a different set of actions can be triggered when leaving the room.

    Roomie
    Keymaster
    April 4, 2014 at 9:53 am #13938

    While in principle you could walk around with an active iPad with Roomie running on it, it’s not the general case. Estimotes are a good room beacon, but executing Proximity Detection requires an iOS device.

    If/when we can get proximity actions to execute while the app is not active, we could enable the reverse behavior you’re talking about. The use case today is that the stationary iOS device executes the proximity actions (and likely also serves as the room beacon).

    Thank you.

    Macjedi
    Participant
    April 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm #13940

    Hi guys

    Our primary use case for using this Roomie proximity feature is having our iPhones (that we carry with us) with Roomie running on them, and moving from room to room and having Roomie automatically select the room as we enter the room.  We are using Estimote iBeacons to sit in each of these rooms to help trigger this auto-switching.  We use Roomie to help drive most of our home automation controls as well as audio/visual related activities, and are hoping these proximity features will help provide additional ease of use through the auto-switching.  Just wanted to clarify the use case we are using at our place.

    Keep up all of the great work!

    bezzers
    Participant
    April 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm #13956

    My use case is generally the same as macjedi’s. I have stationery 3rd party I beacons in each room and use my iphone for control.  Now I have the 3rd party ibeacons set up properly it all works pretty well except that the distance threshold for switching is too low for my room layouts. If it is possible to add the feature to tune that distance, it would significantly enhance this functionality for me.

    lvs13
    Participant
    April 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #14034

    ^ 1+. Another use case where distance parameter needs tweaking. thanks.

    bsobel
    Participant
    June 22, 2014 at 4:53 pm #14855

    (Awaiting moderation)

    | Approve
    bsobel
    Participant
    June 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm #14858

    (Awaiting moderation)

    | Approve
    mcs699
    Participant
    July 19, 2014 at 9:02 am #15110

    (Awaiting moderation)

    | Approve
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