Introduction to Beacon Blogging

Welcome to our project!
This term we have been given the opportunity to start development of our final project for our class Advanced Studio. As the project that we’ve chosen is fairly involved, we have formed a team of three. This team comprises of myself (Daniel Schofield), Aman Singh and Luiz Cavalieri.
As a requirement of this project, we have been asked to maintain a professional blog to document our progress. The blogging utility we’ve chosen to use is “Jekyll". Jekyll is “a simple, blog aware, static site generator". Put simply it allows us create a static website hosted on a git repository, eliminating the need for third-party blogging services and dedicated hosting services.
So, that covers all the logistics, leaving the question - “What the hell is our project actually about!?". We have identified a bottle-neck (the phrase that makes every IT professional shudder) in the attendance process at our place of education - the Academy of Information Technology. This Information Technology college is still using paper records to take attendance in their classes. “Hey AIT, the 20th century called, it wants its technology back!".
So we got to thinking of how to streamline this archaic practice. The solution? A new technology - Bluetooth Beacons. Our world of wireless connecting devices was driven by the inception bluetooth. Starting out as a replacement to data cables, it has grown and integrated into many devices that we use everyday. The latest iteration being Smart Bluetooth or, more descriptively, Low Energy Bluetooth 4.0.
“What does any of this have to do with these mysterious ‘Bluetooth Beacons’!?"", I hear you uttering under your breath. Yeah, hang on we’re getting to them. Beacons are the hardware that will turn a technology that has lay practically dormant in modern smartphones for years into the perfect catalyst for our project.
Bluetooth beacons are transmitters, around the size of a bread roll, that use Low Energy Bluetooth 4.0 to broadcast signals that compatible smart devices can detect. The main current use for these, in the market, is in retail to send out alerts to consumers to entice prospective customers to enter the shop, update shoppers with specials and featured items within their immediate proximity and to purchase items and check-out straight from their smartphones.
We plan to adapt this technology into classrooms to monitor the comings and goings of people holding compatible devices based on their immediate proximity to specific Bluetooth Beacons. We will then capture the unique device identifier using a smartphone app, match it against data in our database and make a record of their attendance available to teachers and staff through an intuitive front-end web interface. Well, that is the plan at least.
I’m sure that was a lot to digest for an introduction to a new project and it’s very likely some of these posts will contain some degree of non-sensical rambling much like in here. As we are thoughtful individuals and in the interest of readers following our process through this blog, we will be including a too long; didn’t read recap.
- We’re doing a project \m/
- Our Team: Daniel Schofield, Luiz Cavalieri and Aman Singh
- Problem: Marking attendance at AIT is a lengthy process
- Solution: Automating the attendance process
- Technology: Bluetooth Beacons
Thanks for reading and we’ll keep you posted!