Attendance with a Bluetooth beacon

Introduction

A Bluetooth beacon is a small electronic device that (when powered), silently broadcasts a Bluetooth identifier, with a signal strength that extends about 150 ft.
For attendance, a particiant in your group needs to be within this range of the beacon, in order to "check in."

The beacon is useful if GPS is not reliable (i.e. inside of large building), you just don't want to use GPS (perhaps due to privacy concerns), or you need a real-time portable attendance target.

Youhere has developed and tested a custom beacon, tailored for attendance. To use it, power up the beacon by plugging it in to any USB-powered port (your laptop, a phone charger, USB power-pack, etc.). It will immediately start broadcasting. When a participant taps "Check me in," the app will look for the beacon's Bluetooth identifier and if found, the participant will be checked in.

Usage

Beacon-based check-ins are supported by the Youhere App (v2.8 and higher). To set up a beacon check-in, select a "beacon check-in" in the blue dropdown you'll see on your main Youhere page.



Part of the "beacon check-in" involves you filling in the beacon's Bluetooth identifier in your Youhere.org account.



Youhere Beacon is the default name of our beacon. The Youhere site tells each App of this name when a participant taps "Check me in." The App will then scan for this Bluetooth identifier, allowing a check-in only if a matching Bluetooth identifier is found. (We are typically immersed in dozens of Bluetooth identifiers from a variety of sources: headphones, speakers, smart watches, tablet pencils, etc.)

Beacon Purchase

The Youhere beacon (pictured above) is available for purchase here.
  • Cost $79.99.
  • Free shipping.
  • Refund/return policy: -15% refund, within 30 days of purchase.
  • Jul 2021: Beacons are in stock and are ready to ship.


Do other beacons work?

Yes, but please read this. We tested extensively with a few different beacons. Here's what we found:
  • Any Bluetooth beacon will work, but most broadcast in on/off bursts to save battery life.
  • On/Off broadcasting was not always picked up by nearby phones in our testing.
  • Our beacon broadcasts continuously and was always and immediately picked up by all test phones within 150 ft.
  • Example: The Blue Charm Beacon (BC011-MultiBeacon).
    • Pros: Small, cheap, and easy to configure (set name and broadcasat power) with an App.
    • Cons: Easy to lose, internal non-rechargeable battery, some Android phones (Galaxy J3) do not pick up the signal immediately (and would require multiple "check me in" taps).

Usage tips

  • You need version 2.8 (or above) of the App for this to work. It was released Feb 15, 2021.
  • It's best to set the beacon within line-of-site of your participants.
  • You can verify the beacon's signal by tapping "Other Stuff" in the app, then "Test Bluetooth." After 5 seconds, a list of all found Bluetooth signals will be listed. Look for the name of the beacon. The default name when shipped is "Youhere Beacon."
  • Both the name and broadcast strength of the beacon are adjustable with available free software.
  • You can use multiple beacons (each with a different name), for large area coverage.