Looking for beginner help


#1

Hello,

Although I have some scripting experience I’m new to estimote beacons and developing for Android. I work at a University and what we are looking to do is use estimote beacons to push out (or advertise) a URL to android devices. The Beacons will be kept in specific lecture spaces with the idea that depending on what subject is being taught and at specific times, URL information to the subject being taught will be pushed out to the devices.

I’ve looked at Eddystone-URL. Although it seems to work great, the issue we have is that the URL will be behind authentication. Looking at online resources Eddystone-URL wont be an option because of this. I’m thinking what I need so I can get started is the following :

1 - How to access a website behind authentication.
2 - Being able to programmatically change the URL (perhaps through some kind of API?) remotely for specific beacons (and at certain days / times).

To add something else into the mix, the beacons we have are quite old (estimote beacons - hardware version D), and not proximity beacons. Taking into consideration the use case above, I can always recommend to the owners of the service that we purchase proximity beacons if I can put forward a case that they would make achieving the above easier?

Can anyone possibly point me in the right direction of how I could get started with this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks


#2

If you’re looking to do this with the Nearby service built into Android, then yes, I don’t think that’ll work out. Nearby requires that Google’s crawler can access the website. Maybe you could have a publicly-available landing page, and only redirect to the password-protected section after a click?

The easiest way to control what website the URL/beacon points to is, broadcast a shortener/redirection URL (a’la bit.ly) that you can dynamically update. If you’re looking to do that many times throughout the day, I guess you’d need to find a service with an API, and write some code/scripts to automate that. Word of warning though, it seems that Nearby is doing some kind of caching, which may degrade this experience.

The best option is of course to build an Android mobile app that could detect the signal from the beacons, find out which lecture space this is, fetch the current subject/class, and notify the user. This would give you full control of the experience, but of course it’s a bigger investment than using Nearby, and getting app downloads can also be a challenge. (Although I guess you could hang some posters to promote it throughout the university.)


#3

Many thanks for taking the time to respond Piotr.

I think in the interest of longevity and reliability I will most likely go with building our own app. Unfortunately I have no experience with this - is there anything you can possibly point to on how building an app ties in with configuring the beacons? I have programming experience, just not for Android.

Again, many thanks for your help.


#4

Adding Estimote Beacons to the app is pretty straightforward these days—the new Proximity Beacons require no special configuration, you just “tag” them in Estimote Cloud (e.g., “lecture hall A”, “lecture hall B”), and then in the app you say “if sb enters ‘lecture hall a’, do this”, etc.

The whole thing is outlined here:
https://developer.estimote.com/proximity/android-tutorial/

The gotcha is, the old beacons used to work differently, so some configuration is required and we don’t really support them anymore in our own SDKs. (But you can e.g., the open-source Android Beacon Library.)


#5

We are obtaining the new proximity beacons, so this will help no doubt!

Will look into the link above.

Again, many thanks for all your help.