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Apple's first iBeacon hardware revealed in FCC application - Page 2

post #41 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
 
Yes, I too find this uber geeky, and overly complex. Even the outdoor lights - wouldn't it be simpler to get a light activated switch and be done with?
The two features of home automation I really like is the ability to program lights for when I am away, or even to do so from abroad. The ability to lock and unlock the front door and activate and de-activate the alarm system could also useful, but even that is pushing it. I have never had major issues with this kind of thing in the past.

I do have light sensors on the outdoor lighting, but it is very shady and they often come on too early and stay on too late. With the programmable controller that knows when sunrise and sunset are for a given GPS location, it would be more fine tuned. As for the other things, I already have traditional procedures in place to take care of those.

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post #42 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If it's a dumb device it wouldn't, but a dumb device could still work in a smart home.

For example, you walk into a room and your iPhone detects you're within a specific proximity to an iBeacon that you set up in that room. You get no notification on your iPhone/iWatch, it just registers the iBeacon ID which it then forwards to your Home Hub. This could be for adjusting lights, just keeping a database of movement patterns for some complex algorithm for temperature control, or whatever else you can think of, but the iBeacon itself would still be a dumb device.

I thought of that but apparently there is some security measures that only allows the HomeKit appliance to be operated when the HomeKit app is in the foreground. So I imagine it would have to push notify you and then you would need to confirm the preprogrammed operation.

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post #43 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

For the home, that same device would, more likely, be a hub or controller for WiFi Accessories, BLE accessories and inexpensive battery-powered iBeacons. The hub/controller can take advantage of what iBeacons can do easily and inexpensively ... determine inside/outside temperature, detect motion in the baby's room ...

 
This I still don't understand. How is the iBeacon detecting motion in the baby's room? The inexpensive iBeacon is dumb. It is only sending a BLE identifier. Not to be argumentative, but please link to such an iBeacon or explain how the iBeacon is detecting and communicating back to a central hub. 


Wimoto wireless sensor system now offers motion detection and water sensing


Quote:
Wimoto also added the Securimote, which features an infrared motion sensor and accelerometer, that can be configured to use as a security alert for monitoring a window or door, or set up to alert you when your mail drops in your mailbox, or perhaps even to keep tabs on whether your kids are still in bed or not.

The form factor of the sensors have also been standardized, and they all now measure just 35x35x13mm, which may make it simpler or more aesthetic to place them in and around the house.



© Wimoto

Like all of the other Wimoto sensors, these new devices connect with Bluetooth SMART technology to a smartphone or tablet running the Android or iOS app, and can send push alerts directly to the app without using a wireless or cell signal, as well as sending the data to the cloud for storage and later analysis.

All of the Motes are on sale for $39 (USD) each (or as a multi-pack - 5 for $149) through Wimoto's Indiegogo campaign (which is $10 off the estimated retail price). After September 1st, they will also be available from Amazon's new Home Automation storefront in the U.S. and Canada for $49 each.

http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/wimoto-adds-motion-and-water-sensors-wireless-sensor-system.html

Quote:
Wimoto SEN001 Sentry Bluetooth Smart Water Sensor
by Wimoto
Price: $49.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
This item has not yet been released.
You may pre-order it now and we will deliver it to you when it arrives.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Infared motion sensor has a range of 16 feet. Accelerometer detects when the sensor itself is moved in any direction.
Relays information to Bluetooth 4.0 SMART Ready devices such as iPhone 4S/5/5C/5S and certain Android phones and tablets with up to 100ft range
Acts as a datalogger when no smartphone or tablet in range and records information periodically for up to a month at a time.
Runs for 1-3 years on a single battery (user changeable) and weather resistent
Integrates with Wimoto Cloud Cube for real-time, always-on updates via the Internet
› See more product details
Home Automation Products

http://www.amazon.com/Wimoto-SEN001-Sentry-Bluetooth-Sensor/dp/B00ES5BJOO/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1405272518&sr=8-7&keywords=wimoto


There are other, similar devices in various stages of production/development ... they're coming!
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post #44 of 71
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Originally Posted by wigby View Post
 
This is not an either or situation. There will always be physical switches that override any home automation. 

Yes and no. 

 

It could involve a bit of home remodeling, though. In order for the physical wall switch to override the automation actions, you would need the equivalent of a three-way switch. This new functionality will probably involve somehow getting a new heavy duty custom switching mechanism crammed into a typical shallow residential switch box, which may already be quite full of wire nuts.

 

Retrofitting an existing residence is probably going to come with a lot of obstacles and expensive professional services.

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post #45 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
This I still don't understand. How is the iBeacon detecting motion in the baby's room? The inexpensive iBeacon is dumb. It is only sending a BLE identifier. Not to be argumentative, but please link to such an iBeacon or explain how the iBeacon is detecting and communicating back to a central hub. 


Wimoto wireless sensor system now offers motion detection and water sensing

In other words, not iBeacon and not HomeKit.

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post #46 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

In other words, not iBeacon and not HomeKit.

Why not? I thought HomeKit was designed to work with other vendors and I see no reason why iBeacons can't be added to pretty much anything.

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post #47 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If it's a dumb device it wouldn't, but a dumb device could still work in a smart home.


For example, you walk into a room and your iPhone detects you're within a specific proximity to an iBeacon that you set up in that room. You get no notification on your iPhone/iWatch, it just registers the iBeacon ID which it then forwards to your Home Hub. This could be for adjusting lights, just keeping a database of movement patterns for some complex algorithm for temperature control, or whatever else you can think of, but the iBeacon itself would still be a dumb device.
I thought of that but apparently there is some security measures that only allows the HomeKit appliance to be operated when the HomeKit app is in the foreground. So I imagine it would have to push notify you and then you would need to confirm the preprogrammed operation.

mas o menos ...

According to WWDC info: When you are at home using the iPhone, to control the HomeKit accessories, the app has to be running in the foreground ... Except, with HomeKit, you can set triggers, that automatically run in the background???

Then, there is the claim that you can control your HomeKit accessories from offsite, using your iPhone via something they called Apple Connectivity. For example you could be at the office and set the air conditioning (thermostat) at your main home or at the beach house ...

The problem is that they didn't define Apple Connectivity. Connectivity to what? Are you going to send a command, in the clear? Any sniffer would like to know that info. But Apple says the commands are secure (encrypted) ... Does your door lock or light switch have the gravitas * to receive, decrypt, execute, verify the command and return a response?

* Sol, that's Polish sausage

Hah! There's gotta be some intelligent controller in the home to do all that, execute triggers, schedules, send push notifications. IMO, that device is the AppleTV.

The current 3rd-generation AppleTV could do it without a sweat -- but I suspect that Apple will announce a new one with console-quality gaming (among other things).

And here's the biggie, IMO -- to the user, the (AppleTV) HomeKit Controller is platform agnostic. Apple and others can sell accessories, controllers and remotes (iDevices) into Windows, Chrome or Linux households/offices.
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post #48 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Why not? I thought HomeKit was designed to work with other vendors and I see no reason why iBeacons can't be added to pretty much anything.

Just saying it isn't using either of those protocols. There are tons of proprietary home automation products out there. I just asked for an example of an iBeacon that did all the stuff like motion detection, humidity, temperature, etc. As far as I know, iBeacons do only one thing, send out BT identifiers. I'm not saying you could not add on an iBeacon, but the iBeacon is not integrating with any of those other communication and detection tasks as far as I know.

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post #49 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Just saying it isn't using either of those protocols. There are tons of proprietary home automation products out there. I just asked for an example of an iBeacon that did all the stuff like motion detection, humidity, temperature, etc. As far as I know, iBeacons do only one thing, send out BT identifiers. I'm not saying you could add on an iBeacon, but the iBeacon is not integrating with any of those other communication and detection tasks as far as I know.

That's correct. iBeacon was designed to be a simple protocol. I can see some additional features being added in time but I think it works because it is meant to be a simple "lighthouse" type device.

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post #50 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
Quote:
This I still don't understand. How is the iBeacon detecting motion in the baby's room? The inexpensive iBeacon is dumb. It is only sending a BLE identifier. Not to be argumentative, but please link to such an iBeacon or explain how the iBeacon is detecting and communicating back to a central hub. 


Wimoto wireless sensor system now offers motion detection and water sensing
In other words, not iBeacon and not HomeKit.

Aw, C'mon ... HomeKit is just over a month old -- not even Phillips had a Hue ready. The Wimoto is a Bluetooth 4.0 Smart device -- AKA, the Apple low-level BLE protocol. All Wimoto has to do is refresh (over BLE) their existing devices to add iBeacon protocol.

There were lots of BLE devices which preceded theApple iBeacon announcement. There was a mad scramble to add iBeacon support so they could take advantage of the market defined by Apple.

What Wimito does now is use the lower-level BLE protocol -- it's more robust than iBeacon protocol, but more difficult to program.

An iPhone app that recognizes a nearby iBeacon will often ask the user if they want more information, e.g. the current temperature, If nothing else is available, the app will use the lower-level protocol to dialog with the iBeacon device. More likely, the app will use WiFi to connect with a more robust device than the iBeacon.

Even if Wimoto and others choose not to implement the iBeacon beacon protocol, they still can conform to HomeKit standards -- and be accessible to HomeKit apps ... why wouldn't they?
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post #51 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Just saying it isn't using either of those protocols. There are tons of proprietary home automation products out there. I just asked for an example of an iBeacon that did all the stuff like motion detection, humidity, temperature, etc. As far as I know, iBeacons do only one thing, send out BT identifiers. I'm not saying you could add on an iBeacon, but the iBeacon is not integrating with any of those other communication and detection tasks as far as I know.

That's correct. iBeacon was designed to be a simple protocol. I can see some additional features being added in time but I think it works because it is meant to be a simple "lighthouse" type device.

... Reminds me of the old fog joke about Bull Halsley and the Lighthouse ...


Yes, when acting as an iBeacon a device says: "I'm over here, and my name is Lindissima."

Just like meeting that pretty girl and getting her name.

Big deal, if that's all there is!


But, that iBeacon is also running BLE protocol (iBeacon protocol is built upon it)

So, you can ask Lindissima (using BLE protocol): "What other things should I know about you?"

And Lindissima responds (using BLE protocol): "I have an address and phone number."

You say: "Give me both!"

Lindissima responds: "Take it a little slower -- my phone number is 555-1213."

You say: "Great, I'll give you a call and we'll go from there!"

Lindissima: "Bye'"

You: "Bye."


That's making a connection, that could be the start of something big.


Our motion detector, running as an iBeacon broadcasts 2 16-bit fields in addition to the unique identifier.

The use of those bits is undefined. They could easily be the timestamp of the last motion detected.

The iPhone or HomeKit controller could easily log and monitor changes. Even better, the motion detector, likely, logs when it detects a motion and transmit the log to the controller when asked, using BLE protocol.

Once transmitted, the motion detector clears all but the last log entry, and uses that as its current broadcast timestamp ...
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post #52 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
Even if Wimoto and others choose not to implement the iBeacon beacon protocol, they still can conform to HomeKit standards -- and be accessible to HomeKit apps ... why wouldn't they?

I think they should and probably will, but it has nothing to do with iBeacons.

 

To summarize, I am sticking to my narrative that:

 

iBeacon does only one thing, sends out BT identifiers. It is not connected to the Internet or communicating with the receiving device or a server.

 

HomeKit needs to be in the foreground to issue any commands and in my opinion it is generally going to be more trouble than it is worth to turn on a simple light using your iPhone and an iBeacon rather than just turning on a switch.

 

I still fail to see how iBeacons offer any useful functionality in a typical home.

 

Retrofitting a residence for automation is going to be a lot more expensive than many people think.

 

Security is going to be a major challenge for any remote access to appliances and the setup/configuration of a home-based digital hub, router or automation appliance will likely be a complex task.

 

The current crop of automation devices use the cloud and the developers' servers. Any commands that you want to send to your device have to be issued from the developers' server by way of the device polling the server for messages, probably on port 443. Otherwise the communication isn't likely to make it through the WiFi security settings.

 

Although an iOS app can communicate directly to the device through BT, communicating to a device over a private network is also problematic because default WiFi security settings do not allow devices to connect to one another on the private network, although custom configurations could override that default.

 

Without special port forwarding network protocols like iMessage, FaceTime and Back to my Mac, direct access to appliances from a remote location will not work due to default security configurations, DHCP and dynamic IPs on typical home WiFi.

 

I would imagine those types of protocols are similar to the way it will probably work under HomeKit.

 

But it is all just a guess since Apple has revealed very little so far.

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post #53 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
I think they should and probably will, but it has nothing to do with iBeacons.

To summarize, I am sticking to my narrative that:

iBeacon does only one thing, sends out BT identifiers. It is not connected to the Internet or communicating with the receiving device or a server.

HomeKit needs to be in the foreground to issue any commands and in my opinion it is generally going to be more trouble than it is worth to turn on a simple light using your iPhone and an iBeacon rather than just turning on a switch.

I still fail to see how iBeacons offer any useful functionality in a typical home.

Retrofitting a residence for automation is going to be a lot more expensive than many people think.

Security is going to be a major challenge for any remote access to appliances and the setup/configuration of a home-based digital hub, router or automation appliance will likely be a complex task.

The current crop of automation devices use the cloud and the developers' servers. Any commands that you want to send to your device have to be issued from the developers' server by way of the device polling the server for messages, probably on port 443. Otherwise the communication isn't likely to make it through the WiFi security settings.

Although an iOS app can communicate directly to the device through BT, communicating to a device over a private network is also problematic because default WiFi security settings do not allow devices to connect to one another on the private network, although custom configurations could override that default.

Without special port forwarding network protocols like iMessage, FaceTime and Back to my Mac, direct access to appliances from a remote location will not work due to default security configurations, DHCP and dynamic IPs on typical home WiFi.

I would imagine those types of protocols are similar to the way it will probably work under HomeKit.

But it is all just a guess since Apple has revealed very little so far.


It is very Apple-like to release a new technology then enhance it later ... We can easily remember when the only way a developer could write iPhone apps was as browser apps.

Apple was rumored/expected to enhance/update iBeacon tech at WWDC 2014 ... Nada!

You are correct, that currently an iBeacon is limited to what it can do -- basically identify itself and supply a rudimentary distance (signal strength) from to the receiver. The distance lets the receiver calculate how close he is to the iBeacon. This is of little value unless the receiver knows the geo-coordinates of the iBeacon.

Here is a simple, optional, enhancement that Apple could make to the protocol -- lets call it iBeacon 2. In addition to the identifier and 2 16-bit data fields, Apple could broadcast the granular parts of longitude and latitude -- maybe another 8-16 bytes.

The longitude/latitude would be stored in the flash of the iBeacon when it was setup or moved.

Then, any receiver would be able to trilaterate his geo-location from three nearby iBeacons and know where he is within 4-8 feet. If the iBeacons were in a shopping mall, campus, hospital, airport, etc. the receiver could access a rudimentary layout over nearby WiFi and display a map/floorplan of the facility -- showing where the user is and how to get to nearby destination ... granular, indoor turn-by-turn navigation.

Not bad, eh?

Other, inexpensive iBeacons in the home/office could use these additional bytes * to Broadcast things like time-stamped motion activity (our motion detector), time-stamped temperature (room thermometer), time-stamped moisture level (garden soil/rain/flood detection).

* these iBeacons wouldn't need to broadcast their geo-location as the iPhone or controller knows where they were placed when they were set pup.

Most (if not all) current iBeacon devices have an ARM CPU, some flash memory, sensors, and a <$2 battery that will last 2 years. An enhanced broadcast stream might require require a larger <$4 battery.

It is interesting to note that some iBeacons do not offer replaceable batteries ... Their stance is that the tech is advancing so fast that you are likely to replace the iBeacon for a better model before the battery dies.

Your point about WiFi connections on the same network is well taken. I've read that Apple may use NFC and/or BLE to facilitate these connections -- including ToouchID for authorization.

Some final thoughts:
  • Apple bought PrimeSense IR motion detection (Kinect, and 3D mapping chip, IR and Cameras)
  • Apple bought WiFiSlam WiFi motion detection (indoor mapping and tracking)

Either or both of these technologies can be used in HomeKit (or BusinessKit/EnterpriseKit) along with iBeacons. As described above, iBeacons can refine the indoor location/mapping tracking process by providing inexpensive lighthouses at known locations along the way.

If you already have installed expensive/complex sensors and controllers retrofitting the residence might be a problem ... but it will less of one as time/tech progresses. The new devices will be faster, cheaper, more sophisticated/simpler ... now, where did I put all those CDs 1biggrin.gif

Your point about current automation devices using/requiring 3rd-part web servers is valid. The WWDC HomeKit presos emphasized security and privacy as integral parts of Apple's solution. If you have intelligent devices at both ends (offsite iPhone talking to HomeKit controller), nothing need be sent unencrypted or in the clear. In fact you could send tokens representing actions known only to both ends ... and these could be randomized by a key known only to both ends ... and the randomizing key could be periodically reset ...

It doesn't make sense to do this on inexpensive, specialized iBeacons or HomeKit accessories -- but it's a natural for the iPhone and an AppleTV class HomeKit controller.

In re setting up HomeKit devices. The tool that Apple provides to developers is drop-dead easy.

For example to add an accessory you enter:

Accessory Name :  You specify (must be unique within the home)
Manufacturer:  Printed and/or (barcode) on the accessory/packaging
Model Number:   Printed and/or (barcode) on the accessory/packaging
Serial Number:   Printed and/or (barcode) on the accessory/packaging *

You can send a command to the accessory to identify itself -- flash, buzz, vibrate

It's as easy, if not easier than setting up the Phillips Hue.

Even better, the Accessory manufacturers can provide automatic setup apps -- where you run the app on your iPhone, scan the barcode on the package and it fills in the rest -- even suggesting unique names.
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 7/13/14 at 4:20pm
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post #54 of 71
How big is this thing?
It appears to be 2 inches in diameter.
Maybe less than 1 inch tall.

Smaller than a hockey puck.
post #55 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

My understanding of iBeacon is that the user needs a dedicated app that is programmed to respond to a certain identifier being broadcast by an iBeacon. The app along with location services can send a push notification to the users phone. This is a one way communication from the iBeacon to the phone. The iPhone does not send any communication back to the iBeacon and the iBeacon is not connected to the Internet or the private network.

Now that I think about it though, perhaps, if the app receiving a signal from the iBeacon is Apple's own HomeKit app and it was in communication with a home-based digital hub over WiFi, then it should be able to send commands to a device within the home. Depending on the action required, it does sound a bit convoluted though. If you just wanted the lights on you could just say "Hey Siri, turn on the lights." That way at least you are still in control in case you didn't want the lights to come on automatically.

If the iWatch were something that one would wear 24/7, in addition to monitoring your movement during sleep to track how well you're sleeping, it could interact with iBeacons in your home to detect when you get out of bed in the middle of the night. The iWatch would then notify The HomeKit app on your iPhone which you might have configured to turn on floor lighting in your vicinity to allow you to safely navigate your way to the bathroom or perhaps to the kitchen to get a drink of water. As you move about in the darkened home, the appropriate floor lights would be switched on and off. Just one of many use cases that I could imagine.
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post #56 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

So iBeacons can have WiFi and be connected to a network? I did not know that. Do you have any links to these intelegent iBeacons?

Not necessary or desireable. They need only be connected to an iOS device inside the home. Your iPad, for example, which could then wake up and initiate actions through its connection to the world through wifi.
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post #57 of 71
We need to keep in mind this may never get launched. Does anyone else remember the smaller than the 3rd gen AppleTV that ended up at the FCC a couple years back that never went on sale?

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post #58 of 71
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
We need to keep in mind this may never get launched. Does anyone else remember the smaller than the 3rd gen AppleTV that ended up at the FCC a couple years back that never went on sale?

 

It was only a year. How time flies.

 

Apparently it was to use the A5X, so I’ll bet that’s why it was never released. I imagine the next Apple TV will use the A8 to have h.265 and parity with the rest of their lineup.

 

Remember, it’s still using the A5r2 die shrink put in late model iPad 2.

 

“I didn’t know h.265 was rumored for the A8.”

A man can dream, can’t he?

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #59 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
  • Status monitoring:  Some inexpensive iBeacons are quite intelligent. They can measure temperature, moisture, humidity, movement, etc -- and send that information to a central HomeKit Controller.
So iBeacons can have WiFi and be connected to a network? I did not know that. Do you have any links to these intelegent iBeacons?

I'm not sure he is correct in his phrasing. Bluetooth LE Beacons can transmit data in the beacon signal. There are many on the market that can do this. Apple's iBeacon data format does not really support that. It only sends two numbers and a beacon GUID. The numbers allow for relevant information to the app. You could have a beacon stuff real-time data in those fields, but I have not seen one that does that. They would normally be something like Store # and department in a retail example. The Bluetooth LE Beacons of course just send the data via BT and don't typically connect via Wifi.
post #60 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It was only a year. How time flies.

Apparently it was to use the A5X, so I’ll bet that’s why it was never released. I imagine the next Apple TV will use the A8 to have h.265 and parity with the rest of their lineup.

Remember, it’s still using the A5r2 die shrink put in late model iPad 2.

“I didn’t know h.265 was rumored for the A8.”

A man can dream, can’t he?

1) Thanks on the time frame. I did only guess on that.

2) I suspect we need to see H.265 decoding HW to be available at or before we get 4K UHD video from iTS and playback on Macs and Apple TVs.

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post #61 of 71
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
2) I suspect we need to see H.265 decoding HW to be available at or before we get 4K UHD video from iTS and playback on Macs and Apple TVs.

 

And what better place to introduce it than the A8?

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #62 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

I am amazed that you even bothered to make a comment like that.

Look... I stopped reading the article when they went into describing what iBeacon is... because I already knew that. Sorry.

Had I read a little but further... I would have found my answer. But Foad answered my question anyway... without the condescending tone.

Forgive me for causing you to take time out of your busy schedule to point out my mistake. You can now go back to whatever it is you do here... hopefully with some tact.

Guess those who know it already don't feel an obligation to actually read the whole thing. Not to be unduly harsh, but is it too much to expect that prior to making a comment, one should RTFA?

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post #63 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

Guess those who know it already don't feel an obligation to actually read the whole thing. Not to be unduly harsh, but is it too much to expect that prior to making a comment, one should RTFA?

Thank you comment police.

It wasn't enough for one person to tell me I was wrong... you also felt the need correct me.

A full day later too. Congrats.
post #64 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
  • Status monitoring:  Some inexpensive iBeacons are quite intelligent. They can measure temperature, moisture, humidity, movement, etc -- and send that information to a central HomeKit Controller.
So iBeacons can have WiFi and be connected to a network? I did not know that. Do you have any links to these intelegent iBeacons?

I'm not sure he is correct in his phrasing. Bluetooth LE Beacons can transmit data in the beacon signal. There are many on the market that can do this. Apple's iBeacon data format does not really support that. It only sends two numbers and a beacon GUID. The numbers allow for relevant information to the app. You could have a beacon stuff real-time data in those fields, but I have not seen one that does that. They would normally be something like Store # and department in a retail example. The Bluetooth LE Beacons of course just send the data via BT and don't typically connect via Wifi.

To expand on my original assertion: "Status monitoring:  Some inexpensive iBeacons are quite intelligent. They can measure temperature, moisture, humidity, movement, etc -- and send that information to a central HomeKit Controller."

You are correct that when acting as an Apple-defined iBeacon, a BLE device conforms to the Apple-defined iBeacon protocol. The device broadcasts a 128-bit UUID (unique identifier) and two 16-bit (sub identifiers denoted as major and minor). A total of 20 bytes. An iBeacon normally broadcasts once per second.

These identifier fields are required but their meaning is discretionary. They are set by the iBeacon deployer and usually define things like

Retail Stores:
  • UUID -- company -- Apple, Nordstroms, Olive Garden
  • major -- store number
  • minor -- department/aisle

The above is a commonly-suggested (default) usage -- where there are many different companies within an area like a mall. An iDevice can listen for up to 20 concurrent iBeacons. The way this would normally work is the user would fire up, say, an app for Nordstroms which would ask if you wanted to "be notified" (listen for) when you approach a Nordstroms store. If yes, then the app would create a listen request. * The listen request gets pushed down into the iDevice's OS and radio where all the listeners are aggregated. The user might repeat the process for each "company's store" he wants to listen for. (The iDevice receives the broadcasts of any beacons within range -- but ignores those that it is not listening for.

* Likely, this request would only listen for the Nordstroms UUID with major/minor as wildcards -- as the app recognizes that you want any nearby Nordstroms store -- rather than a particular Nordstroms store/department/aisle

Alternately, Nordstroms could have an unique UUID assigned for each store -- realizing that you can only be near one Nordstroms store, the app would contain a list of all the Nordstroms stores and pick the one closest to your current location.

By doing this, the iBeacons in the Nordstroms store would not need to broadcast store number in the major field, and they could use that field to broadcast nearby specials, etc.

But, Nordstroms could be really creative:
  • deploy iBeacons near the store entrances/exits/parking lots -- that broadcast the Nordstroms UUID.
  • deploy iBeacons within the store -- that use a totally different identifier scheme UUID/msjor/minor scheme

Nordstroms (and it's app) know that you are in the store -- so the app can now listen for any additional information that makes sense -- specials, bathrooms, temperature, longitude/latitude ...

So, these instore iBeacons could broadcast their geolocation (set when the iBeacons were deployed). Then the Nordstroms app could display a map/layout of the store showing where you are and assist you in navigating through the store.

All this accomplished by creatively using the existing iBeacons protocol

Below, are variations on a theme on how custom iBeacon identifier schemes could be used for various needs:

Hospitals/Campuses
  • UUID -- Building
  • major -- Floor
  • minor -- Room

Airports
  • UUID -- Terminal
  • major -- Runway
  • minor -- Gate

Home
  • UUID -- Room
  • major -- whatever
  • minor -- whatever


OK, to get back on topic ...

Let's discuss how an iBeacon could act as a motion detector within the home.

Home
  • UUID -- Room / motion detector
  • major -- timestamp/count
  • minor -- timestamp/count

The UUID is static, but the timestamp (major/minor) fields could change whenever a morion is detected (remember the 1-second broadcast interval). How could it do this?

The iBeacon device:
  • has the iBeacon identifier fields (UUID, major, minor) stored on the device
  • the identifier fields are set when the device is deployed and can be changed at anytime
  • In addition to running the iBeacon broadcast protocol it also runs the lower-level BLE protocol
  • has various sensors and runs runs an OS on an ARM CPU
  • in can be programmed to do something when a sensor senses something
  • in our case , when it detects a motion via an IR sensor

To satisfy the our iBeacon motion detector needs, all the device program has to do is change the timestamp/count fields whenever a motion is detected. The next beacon broadcast will contain different timestamp/count fields. An iDevice or HomeKit controller app listening for this will receive a notification!

For those of you who think that doing things like this will stress the abilities of the iBeacon devices hardware and software -- you are wrong. Many of these devices were prototyped on raspberry class computers -- and have the capability of running Linux, php, etc. That little iBeacon is more powerful than the original Mac.

Below are some links to the Texas Instruments SensorTag -- a $25 (retail) device that can be used as an iBeacon. All of the sensor information is available to an app running on an iDevice or a HomeKit controller.
Quote:
The Bluetooth SensorTag packs the following sensor:
  • Contactless IR temperature sensor (Texas Instruments TMP006)
  • Humidity Sensor (Sensirion SHT21)
  • Gyroscope (Invensense IMU-3000)
  • Accelerometer (Kionix KXTJ9)
  • Magnetometer (Freescale MAG3110)
  • Barometric pressure sensor (Epcos T5400)
  • On-chip temperature sensor (Built into the CC2541)
  • Battery/voltage sensor (Built into the CC2541)

http://newscenter.ti.com/2014-04-16-TI-supports-iBeacon-technology-across-TIs-Bluetooth-Smart-dual-mode-and-combo-connectivity-portfolio
http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/SensorTag_User_Guide
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 7/14/14 at 9:54am
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post #65 of 71
So sorry to offend you. I understand. People who tend to interrupt others from finishing their sentences also tend to resent somebody calling them out on their behavior. I'll try to be more mindful of your personality and temperament in the future.

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post #66 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

So sorry to offend you. I understand. People who tend to interrupt others from finishing their sentences also tend to resent somebody calling them out on their behavior. I'll try to be more mindful of your personality and temperament in the future.

No offense taken.

I just find it odd that out of a dozen people reading this thread... one person was able to answer my question with no problem... but two people actually had to show me how wrong I was.

I feel special 1smile.gif
post #67 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
Quote:
The Bluetooth SensorTag packs the following sensor:
  • Contactless IR temperature sensor (Texas Instruments TMP006)
  • Humidity Sensor (Sensirion SHT21)
  • Gyroscope (Invensense IMU-3000)
  • Accelerometer (Kionix KXTJ9)
  • Magnetometer (Freescale MAG3110)
  • Barometric pressure sensor (Epcos T5400)
  • On-chip temperature sensor (Built into the CC2541)
  • Battery/voltage sensor (Built into the CC2541)
  •  

http://newscenter.ti.com/2014-04-16-TI-supports-iBeacon-technology-across-TIs-Bluetooth-Smart-dual-mode-and-combo-connectivity-portfolio

That was some useful information. What appears to have been done here is that the existing SensorTag device, which has all the sensors, now has iBeacon, but there is apparently no direct connection between the sensor information and the iBeacon. The iBeacon could give you a push and then you launch the app to query the sensor data. It is like two separate devices in one. You can now upgrade an existing SensorTag to also be an iBeacon. See the video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvtrU9lCKmQ

 

The thing in this video I don't understand is the part about placing a SensorTag in each box when you move so you can track your boxes in transit using your smartphone. This is a mystery to me as I do not understand how a SensorTag in a moving truck out on the road is able to communicate without another smartphone running an app near the boxes. Of course the smartphone would run out of battery pretty quickly if it were just along for the ride in one of the boxes.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #68 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
Quote:
The Bluetooth SensorTag packs the following sensor:
  • Contactless IR temperature sensor (Texas Instruments TMP006)
  • Humidity Sensor (Sensirion SHT21)
  • Gyroscope (Invensense IMU-3000)
  • Accelerometer (Kionix KXTJ9)
  • Magnetometer (Freescale MAG3110)
  • Barometric pressure sensor (Epcos T5400)
  • On-chip temperature sensor (Built into the CC2541)
  • Battery/voltage sensor (Built into the CC2541)
  •  

http://newscenter.ti.com/2014-04-16-TI-supports-iBeacon-technology-across-TIs-Bluetooth-Smart-dual-mode-and-combo-connectivity-portfolio
That was some useful information. What appears to have been done here is that the existing SensorTag device, which has all the sensors, now has iBeacon,

Yes, the program on the SensorTag now broadcasts iBeacon packets in addition to sending/receiving/scheduling BLE packets.

Quote:

but there is apparently no direct connection between the sensor information and the iBeacon.

Except that both activities are parts of a program sharing the hardware on the device. The SensorTag has an SDK, so you could write a SensorTag program that, say, reads the accelerometer and puts that into the minor field of the iBeacon broadcast packet.

Quote:
The iBeacon could give you a push and then you launch the app to query the sensor data. It is like two separate devices in one.

Yes, you can do that too, in a single app ... There are considerations, though -- when you connect to ask for BLE sensor data, the requestor blocks other Other BLE request until disconnect. AFAIK, iBeacon broadcasts continue uninterrupted

I wanted to equate the dual BLE/iBeacon capability to a car with a shiftable automatic transmission -- but that's a bad example 1hmm.gif

Quote:
You can now upgrade an existing SensorTag to also be an iBeacon. See the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvtrU9lCKmQ

The thing in this video I don't understand is the part about placing a SensorTag in each box when you move so you can track your boxes in transit using your smartphone. This is a mystery to me as I do not understand how a SensorTag in a moving truck out on the road is able to communicate without another smartphone running an app near the boxes. Of course the smartphone would run out of battery pretty quickly if it were just along for the ride in one of the boxes.

Yeah, aside from visual overload, the bit about about tracking boxes was a little far out (this coming from me) ...

Many trucking lines track their trailers via a device with gps and cell on the trailer -- the drivers don't like it.

Likely, some moving companies use similar devices to track their trailers. It appears that at least one extends that service to the customer.

Quote:
Track Your Shipment

Allied recognizes the value of your belongings. In order to keep our customers informed about the whereabouts of their shipments, Allied has implemented an online shipment tracking feature. From here you can check the current status of your shipment anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The information provided includes the load date, present location and delivery date for corporate account relocations, household goods shipments and specialized shipments.

http://www.allied.com/track-your-shipment.aspx

But, likely, that's just tracking the trailer -- not your specific load and boxes. That'd be fine if you were the only load on the trailer.

But, often there will be multiple loads from different customers sharing a trailer. And as other loads are added or removed (delivered, put in storage, etc.), some boxes from your load could be lost.

The mover could provide the service described in the video, by adding iBeacon capability to the existing trailer tracking device -- or just carry an iPhone or iPad, Then, track the whereabouts of every iBeacon-taged box.

One nice feature of the iBeacon protocol, is that you get a notification when an iBeacon goes in or out of range -- so the driver could be alerted, within 2-3 minutes, that a box is missing, and rectify the situation.

The $25 TI SensorTag is overkill -- 100 boxes == $2,500 -- soon, I suspect we'll see iBeacons costing only a few $

I suppose a savvy mover could offer the service, provide the iBeacons for a deposit , then refund the deposit upon return of the iBeacons.

Insurance companies might also be interested in this technology.


Ha! Running the SensorTag app on my iPad, I see the usual iBeacon suspects ... But, also my AppleTV (3rd gen) ... and someone nearby has a Gear 2
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post #69 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
 
Except that both activities are parts of a program sharing the hardware on the device. The SensorTag has an SDK, so you could write a SensorTag program that, say, reads the accelerometer and puts that into the minor field of the iBeacon broadcast packet.

I don't think you can do that. Writing an app does not change the behavior of the SensorTag firmware which is just sending out regular iBeacon identifiers. I would be surprised if the interface for programming of the SensorTag would allow you to do that. I can't see it being part of the SDK because that only applies to the app running on the smartphone. To get the data from the sensor and send it to the iBeacon is not likely, but it is not necessary either because the app can query the senor data anyway. I don't think the Sensor tag is sending data to the Internet which is why I found the trucking example curious. I could be wrong, but I don't think you can include a WiFi too along with everything else for only $25. If you have to be in range to query the data it is less practical. Like, if you have to go to a room to find out how hot it is and when you get there you say wow, it feels hot in here.

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post #70 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 
I don't think you can do that. Writing an app does not change the behavior of the SensorTag firmware which is just sending out regular iBeacon identifiers. I would be surprised if the interface for programming of the SensorTag would allow you to do that. I can't see it being part of the SDK because that only applies to the app running on the smartphone. To get the data from the sensor and send it to the iBeacon is not likely, but it is not necessary either because the app can query the senor data anyway. I don't think the Sensor tag is sending data to the Internet which is why I found the trucking example curious. I could be wrong, but I don't think you can include a WiFi too along with everything else for only $25. If you have to be in range to query the data it is less practical. Like, if you have to go to a room to find out how hot it is and when you get there you say wow, it feels hot in here.

You've kinda got me spinning ... not your fault though!

I wanted to show you some before and after shots proving that it can be done!

I haven't worked on any BLE or iBeacon stuff for several months ...

In the meantime I've installed Yosemite on my main iMac and iOS 8 on my main iPhone and Main iPad, and am using Xcode 6 Beta 3 and iTunes Beta.

All my BLE and iBeacon apps won't run on these versions of iOS, OS X, XCode and iTunes.

The SensorTag firmware update that adds iBeacon support would not work -- the SensorTag app just crashed.

I dug out an older iPad 3 running iOS 7 -- the SensorTag Firmware update installed fine!

But, Xcode and iTunes do not see this old iPad ...

We have some iPad 2s and an iPad 1 -- but they don't support BLE.

I could reboot to a Mavericks OS, running older iTunes and Xcode -- but it it is currently inconvenient to do so!

Whew!


Let me see if I can logically talk you through it -- to prove it can be done.  When you initially get an Beacon device (SensorTag, Estimate, StickNFine, etc.) the Beacon broadcast settings (UUID, Major, Minor) are in an unusable state -- either unknown or arbitrarily set by the manufacturer.

Here's what the iBeacon deployer must do to make the iBeacon useable:
  1. get a UUID -- generate one with Terminal or get a database-backed one from a web site service (likely common for all your iBeacons)
  2. decide on the major and minor values (likely an unique combination to specifically identify each iBeacon)
  3. install the unique UUID, major, minor broadcast packet on each potential iBeacon device
  4. initiate iBeacon packet broadcasting on the potential Beacon device
  5. verify that each potential iBeacon device broadcasts the correct packet
  6. verify that you can correctly listen for and receive notifications when any of your potential iBeacons are detected -- with various combinations of major, minor and wild cards

Step 3  is done with an app running on your iDevice using BLE protocol -- you can't write to an iBeacon, but you can write to a BLE device to tell it what to broadcast when it is performing as an iBeacon

Step 4  is the first time that the device is performing as an iBeacon

Steps 5 and 6 check that everything is working properly -- if not, rinse and repeat from step 3

You could use separate iDevice apps for the BLE and iBeacon steps -- but in reality, it will be a single app that runs both BLE protocol for setup and iBeacon for testing. In fact, you can use a single app running on a single (or multiple) iDevice to test the whole process before you get any potential iBeacon devices .

The iBeacon deployers use this app as they will need it to install, remove, move iBeacons over time. .

OK, If you are with me so far, I think you'll agree that a potential iBeacon device becomes a valid iBeacon device because it has the ability to run BLE and iBeacon at the same time!

Your point: "Writing an app does not change the behavior of the SensorTag firmware which is just sending out regular iBeacon identifiers." really doesn't apply -- yeah, the firmware is sending out iBeacon identifiers retrieved from storage on the device. The identifier information can be changed at any time by an app using BLE. The firmware doesn't care or need to be changed. The iBeacon software on the device is just restarted, gets the new identifiers and passes that to the firmware for broadcasting.

To close the loop on the motion sensor, the software on the iBeacon device could easily check for a change in the motion sensor status * (time or counter) and whenever it changes change the iBeacon identifier to reflect that ... Done crudely, this would restart the iBeacon as above -- going offline for a second. No big deal, but I think it can be done without a restart by changing RAM as well storage.

* Most of this programming already exists on the device as you can use a BLE app on your iDevice to set, calibrate and monitor changes to the sensors,
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 7/14/14 at 4:46pm
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post #71 of 71
iBeacon for home use. Tie-in with home automation (aka HomeKit).
- Now home automation can track your every move with your iDevice in your pocket.

Possibly/Probably with built-in microphone for Minority Report style home automation (i.e. True hands-free speaking to your house).

That's my guess - And been waiting for it for a while. Not a matter of 'if', but 'when'.
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