In Loquiz iBeacons can be used as question activators, meaning that they open questions once the mobile device is in the range of Bluetooth beacon. Beacons are additional activators – all the regular activators (GPS, QR-codes) still work, but beacons can be used in addition to those.
Beacon implementation is in Beta. Please test before use!
Beacon technology is useful because it can be used indoors. Players do not need to do anything special. Once they arrive in beacon range, question connected with this beacon opens. Beacons still follow the game specific rules – if the question has already been opened or is not yet discoverable, it will not activate.
At the moment beacons can be used in all game types except quiz.
How do beacons work?
Beacons work like a lighthouse – beacon sends out the Bluetooth signal, letting the mobile devices around its range know that it is there. Beacons are not connected with devices or with the internet, they just send out the signal. Beacons have unique identifiers – called IDs. It is also possible to change beacons range.
Setting up the questions
Currently, you need to modify each question separately, if you want it to be activated by a beacon. Open the question for editing and choose “Additional settings”, find “Instructor notes” text box and enter beacon’s ID1, ID2, ID3, and range (if needed). Make sure that inserted items are separated by the comma. It is also possible to change beacon’s activation range.
It might look something like this: id1:b9407f30-f5f8-466e-aff9-25556b57fe6d, id2:1124, id3:2426, range:3
As different beacon manufacturers use ID-s differently, it is important to check that at least one ID is unique (it is common that ID2 and ID3 are the same across the range and only ID1 differs). Loquiz is checking for all three ID-s and only activates question if all of them are found and correct. The range is measured in meters, this is the area where the question activates (please note that it is approximate and we cannot force larger area than the transmit power of Bluetooth beacon). It possible to change activation range.
Setting up Beacons
To find out your beacons ID-s and modify their range, use specialized software. For example, to manage Estimote beacons Estimote compay offers complete set for mobile devices. This allows you to read the needed ID-s from the beacon but also modify them if needed.
It is important to understand the beacon range. Usually transmitting power can be set within beacon. You should always test with your specific beacons if the transmitting power is suitable for the game. Long range will activate questions too early, too short range might not activate the question at all. Note that your beacon’s battery life will last longer when you don’t use maximum range possible.
Setting up Games
To use beacons you need to create a game and include the questions that have beacon ID-s attached to them. As beacons work as additional activators, locations still need to be set for all the questions. If you want a question to open only with Beacon, set the locations far away from the playing area. You can also use an invisible pin and transparent area, so pins are not visible on the map.
To guide players to correct locations where beacons are hidden, there are many ways:
- Use after answer comments to add information about how to find the beacons. Then the players know where to go next after answering the question (this works really well if players need to go inside to perform a task in the outdoor game).
- Use welcome text (intro message) to guide players to the right locations where beacons are hidden (this works really well if there are a couple of places you want players to visit and you want to mention it separately).
- Add a picture overlay on the map that shows indoor beacons only (this works if the game is in one place, the “map” can be always accessed an used for passive navigation).
- Announce the beacon locations using built-in Chat functionality.
- Print out separate instruction sheets that include clues about beacon locations and hand them out to the players.
Position the beacons so that the radio signal is not blocked and the beacons are not easily visible. Test the game to understand if beacons work as you planned, what are exact beacon ranges and do they activate the questions.
Using existing fixed beacons
In some surroundings, you can find fixed beacons. Museums and some stores use beacons to enhance customer experience. As Loquiz uses beacons only for question activation and observes only Beacons ID-s the fixed beacons can be used in games as well. Map the beacon ID-s with suitable software, modify questions instructor comments accordingly and you can run a game built on existing infrastructure.
Beacon integration into Loquiz is in development, write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions.