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Geertjan's Blog

  • June 4, 2016

Getting Started Detecting and Monitoring Beacons with Oracle JET

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager

Steven Davelaar did an interesting session last week at the AMIS conference about beacons. (Get his excellent slides here.) The world of beacons is split into iBeacons, AltBeacons, and URIBeacons (read here), though there'll probably be more.

There's quite a few articles out there about incorporating beacon identifiers into MAF applications:

Of course, would be great to have a similar scenario for Oracle JET applications, especially since there's a nice Cordova plugin available that provides all the low level technology:

https://github.com/petermetz/cordova-plugin-ibeacon

However, the first stumbling block is that you actually need to HAVE a beacon in order to be able to develop applications for detecting and monitoring them. I mean, how do you test your beacon detecting app if you don't have a beacon to test with? So, before even setting up an Oracle JET project, you need to get yourself a beacon... or a beacon simulator.

In the Android app store I found a whole bunch of beacon scanners and beacon transmitters. The problem is that you don't want to simulate beacon transmissions from your phone, since that's also the place where your app will be installed. You need the transmission to be from a different device to where you'll be testing/using your beacon detection app. I have yet to find a free beacon transmission simulator for computers, i.e., they're only available for mobile devices. What I need to be able to do is simulate transmission from a laptop (ideally Windows, since that's what I'm on, or Mac OSX, which is my wife's laptop).

In the end, Radius Networks to the rescue. Not free, but hey, sometimes it makes sense to pay. I started out by buying MacBeacon, though didn't read the instructions and the Mac OSX I'm on (Mavericks) is not supported, though they kindly sent me a version of the app that works on Mavericks too. Here's how it looks and it works perfectly, though for some reason one cannot simulate more than one beacon at a time:

Now, on my Android, when I scan for beacons, I can detect the above simulated beacon. That's great because now I can create an app using Oracle JET and the Cordova plugin referred to above, install the app on my Android, and try it out via the simulated beacon provided by the app above.

I also bought QuickBeacon for Windows, so that I can use my development laptop to simulate beacons, though I'll need to wait to get a related USB, not sure why the Mac OSX app doesn't need a USB, while the Windows app does need it.

But, anyway, I'm on my way into the world of beacons via hybrid Oracle JET apps using Cordova.

Continue to part 2 of this series...

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