SELECTING THE RIGHT BEACON
Foreground vs. Background
If your app will only be used in the foreground, an S10 may be suitable. If you expect your App will need to see beacons while it is in the background (e.g., someone’s pocket), use an S21 or U-Series 5.
Size and Durability
S10s are small, run on a coin cells and can be hidden well. S21s are larger, run on 4 AA batteries, and are suitable for outdoor use as well. U-Series 5 beacons can be used where there is a desire for a powered beacon and are indoor use only.
S10s have a typical battery life of 3 months for foreground-only app use cases in their default configuration. S21s are designed for both foreground and background App use cases and have a typical battery life of 18 months in their default configuration.
The S21 beacon comes with batteries pre-installed and switching an interior on/off switch powers on the beacon. The U-Series 5 needs only a powered USB port to turn on. Test beacons with the Gimbal Beacon Manager (GBM) app on an iOS device (available from the App Store℠) once it has been installed.
Pricing / Availability
It’s preferable to install beacons out of normal human reach (~10-12ft high). For added security with the S21, use the ‘set screw’ from the inside of the case to help prevent tampering by inserting it in the push tab.
Place the beacon where it will have good visibility to the end user’s phone. A clear, consistent, unobstructed signal is the best way to achieve consistent app behavior.
For more permanent installations, consider how easy it will be to replace batteries later. Can it be easily reached from a ladder? Can the S21 be opened while mounted? If the ‘set screw’ has been used, is there room for a screwdriver in order to open it?
Presence vs. Ranging
Consider what use cases your deployment needs to support. If your app is trying to determine whether someone is present or not, focus on placing beacons to prevent leakage outside of that area. If you’re app needs to know how close they are, assess the specific amount of area you’re trying to cover and increase the density/number of beacons you’re deploying until your use cases work consistently. Remember that Places as used with our v2 SDKs can contain multiple beacons.
A long pole can be useful for testing (tape a beacon to the end of the pole to simulate placement during testing). We also recommend having some Gaff tape handy (no residue, made of cloth and doesn’t impede the beacon’s antenna). In many cases, a ladder is also required for installations depending on where you’re placing beacons. Finally, if you’re using the ‘set screw’ on the S21s, make sure you have a Torx T8 screwdriver handy.
An iPhone 6 or above is recommended for testing and should be running the Gimbal Beacon Manager (GBM) application (available for free from the App Store℠). GBM can be used to configure beacons where necessary as well as to sight beacons during installation and testing. Refer to each beacon’s manual for further instructions which are available at https://docs.gimbal.com/ under ‘Devices’.
In most cases, the double-sided tape included with each S21 beacon is sufficient though note that it is industrial strength and can be difficult to remove. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using an adhesive zip tie mount on the back of the beacon combined with a zip tie for mounting purposes which is easy to remove should there be a need to post-install.