FAQs

Does Info-Point support Beacon technology?

Yes....but. There are two forms of beacons, which affect how easily it can be achieved.

The type known as Google 'Eddystone' Beacons will work directly and natively with Info-Point. The reason is that these beacons broadcast a URL which can direct a smartphone to access specific content on Info-Point (just like QR codes and NFC tags). The user will only need a beacon-enabled phone with a generic beacon app.

The other type are Apple 'iBeacons'. These only broadcast an ID number and so the user will always need a dedicated app that you have created to map your specific beacon ID to an action. This site-specific app can then use Info-Point as its content source.

Beacons are an exciting but still emerging technology, so don't always live up to the hype. It is a good idea to provide the user with an alternative means of simple navigation to the same content.

Does Info-Point record visitor statistics?

Yes. There is a built-in analytics package that enables you to see not only totals, but to select time periods and have them graphed by day of week, time of day and other  factors. You could make screen shots of these to provide regular reports. You can also download the raw log files for import into a spreadsheet or database.

Can Info-Point be solar powered?

The the 'Low-Voltage Model' is designed to be energy efficient and can be powered by a battery, which can be re-charged by solar, wind, or other charging systems. 

The normal voltage range is 12v to 24v. This means that it can also be powered from a vehicle electrical system. It is tolerant of temporary voltage fluctuations from 6V to 34V that may occur if used with generators or other charging systems.

Technical details:

  • Voltage 12v to 24v DC
  • Power consumption Master unit 6 Watts  (1 week for a typical 100AH battery)
  • Power consumption Access Point unit 2 Watts  (3 weeks for a typical 100AH battery)

We recommend that the recharging source is capable of at least 80 watts in order to run the Info-Point during daylight hours in winter as well as maintain the battery charge over the anticipated 10-year lifespan.

Can I use QR codes and NFC tags with Info-Point?

Yes, both are compatible with info-Point and are a useful way of enhancing navigation.

 A QR Code (Quick Response Code) or NFC tag (Near Field Communications) is simply a representation of alphanumeric characters. The QR code or the NFC tag should contain the Info-Point URL of the page you want the user to be sent to (eg. http://www.ip.lan/mycontent/castle_intro ). This is a good technique for showing content that is specific to the exact spot the user is standing on, or the object they are looking at.

QR codes are easy to include in display panels and printed literature. They are a standardised black-on-white '2D bar code' format that can be read by any smartphone with a QR Code reader app. There are many free online QR Code generators. You simply type in the URL you want encoding and it produces an image that you copy and paste. 

Programmable NFC tags, in which you just touch your phone to the tag, in the same way as some travel and payment cards, can be placed on or behind objects. You need a device to programme the tag with the URL of the page that you want to direct your user to.

The default home page for Info-Point is:

http://www.ip.lan

The image on this page is a QR Code for this URL.

You can copy and paste the url of specific pages or specific media files if you want your users to see a page or a media file when they are at a specific location. Just go to the page or file on Info-Point and copy the URL from the address bar.

We recommend adding a text URL for those who may not have QR code and NFC technology. There is a way to generate shortened user-friendly URLs when creating or uploading content using using the built-in Content Management System.

What is the range of Info-Point?

Unobstructed, Info-Point will cover a 150 metre radius (measured sideways from a vertically positioned antenna).

If there are objects or walls in the way then the signal will travel less far, depending on the type and thickness of the material they are made of. It is impossible to predict the effect of walls, but as a guide, wood and glass have very little effect; brick reduces the signal but a single Info-Point can generally cover a large house; heavy masonry such as the stone and earth found in medieval walls attenuates the signal severely; steel cladding will reflect the signal, so it will not pass through, but the signal will be made stronger inside a steel-clad or ferro-concrete building.

See also the FAQs on networking Info-Points together and positioning Info-Point.

Can I connect Info-Point units to make a network?

If range is not sufficient for your site then you have three options:

Option One - Downloadable Content

Make your content downloadable at some point that all visitors pass through. Just about all devices can download pdf documents and e-books, so these are a good way. Most phones can download audio and video for playing offline. However, some phones are locked to their manufacturers' 'store' so the owners are not allowed to download audio/video media and apps.

Option Two - Hot Spots

You can extend coverage for a big site or a visitor trail by the use of multiple units as independent 'hot spots'. As units have the same name (called an SSID) the user only has to connect to the first Info-Point they encounter. Their device should then automatically re-connect at each hot spot. This technique requires 'dead zones' between the hot spots in order that the user device looks for a new signal. This can be naturally achieved by spacing the hot spots, or the power of each Info-Point unit can be factory adjusted so as to force a dead zone between them. Each Info-Point can contain the same information; so that everything is available everywhere, or different information; so that visitors have to be at a specific location to see specific content.

Option Three - Wireless Networking Modules

We can build your Info-Point as a 'Master' unit and supply any number of additional 'Slave' Wi-Fi units that can be sited so as to cover your entire site as one seamless network. The network manages the flow of data and the handover of users from one access point to another. Each of the access points has to be able to see at least one other and have a route back to the Master. We can supply a Master and up to four Slaves pre-configured for you to install yourself. More than four access points will need a site survey and professional installation as it is a more complex topology to configure and install.

Another use of Wirelsss Networking Modules is to increase the capacity for simultaneous users in a high traffic area.

Could it be vandalised or stolen?

Unlike consumer electronics, Info-Point units have little intrinsic value and so are not an attractive target for thieves. The public does not need to be able to touch or even to see the units, which can be hidden out of sight and/or out of reach, and can even be locked in a cupboard or positioned behind a wall or window to prevent access.

A user connects to the Wi-Fi OK but then gets an error message

Any make and model of smartphone, tablet or laptop can use Info-Point with any browser. The only exception is if the device has been deliberately locked down (such as by an organisational IT administrator). Sometimes features within the user's device can get in the way. These can usually be circumvented as follows:

  • Make sure in 'settings' 'Wi-Fi' that the device is actually connected to the Info-Point Wi-Fi and has not switched to another Wi-Fi or tried to use the phone's data service
  • Ignore any screens generated immediately on Wi-Fi connection - but don't click 'skip' or 'cancel' - these are generated by a 'thin client' that is wrongly assuming the need for a logon.
  • Once you are on the Wi-Fi, go directly to your home screen
  • Open a browser (such as Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or something that just says 'internet') - ignore any 'not connected' messages such as the one shown here. If you home page is a secure (https) one, or a search page then open a new tab.
  • Type into the address bar or search box 10.0.0.1  (use zeros not letter 'O'). This should send the browser directly to the Info-Point server home page.

Keep trying - any device that can browse the web can browse Info-Point, but these 'helpers' sometimes get in the way.

What video file format should I use?

Video is the most difficult content to prepare for effective and widely compatible use on mobile devices. This is due to competing and conflicting technologies and lack of common standards.

However, by starting with a good high-quality original, and then converting it 'down' to a mobile-optimised format using the settings below, you can upload a video to info-Point that is optimised for quality and to play on the widest range of smartphones.

To help with compatibility we have included a built-in media player in the Info-Point video page content type, so videos will normally play within the page, independently of the user device's video player(s). We have also (unless you disable this option) automated the creation of a link underneath the video screen that enabes the user to download the video and play it using their device's own player(s).

Modern phones can normally play High-Definition (HD) videos, which look great, but it is good for accessibility to remember some visitors will have older phones. If you want to achieve the good looks of HD and compatibility with older phones, than we suggest that you produce two versions and label them accordingly, enabling the user to choose.

VIDEO
File type (container): MP4
Codec: H.264 *
Frame Rate: 24 fps or 30fps
Resolution: 480p for max compatibility up to 1080 for HD ( 'p' or 'progressive' not 'i' 'interlaced')
Screen size: 640x480  (use 1280 x 960 for tablet-aimed versions) or 1080 x 1920 HD
Bit rate 1500 kbps
AUDIO
Codec: AAC
Channels: 1  (if possible, or 2 if not)
Sampling rate: 44.1 Khz
Bit rate: 128 kbps

 * The iPhone 3 is an exception in that it requires M-PEG 4 codec, but this codec is not compatible with many other devices.

When optimised your video files should be around 7 - 10 Mb file size per minute of video. Info-Point will accept files up to 125 Mb, but a smartphone is unlikely to download such a big file, so you should adopt a maximum of around 40Mb if you can. See also our video training film, and contact us if you need further help with video formats. Remember: your Info-Point can deliver any type of file - most problems are with specific user devices being limited in the file types that they can play.

Can an Info-Point be permanently on, and what power will that use?

Yes. Info-Point is designed to provide a robust service 24/7 and will auto-recover from any power loss or server crashes.

Power consumption:

  • The Standard Model is mains-powered and consumes 25 Watts so is comparable to a low-energy light bulb
  • The Low-Voltage Model uses 6 Watts 
  • Low-Voltage Access Points use 2 Watts

Can Info-Point be used outdoors?

Yes, the Standard and Independent Models can. We advise some protection from the direct impact of weather, especially rain and sun.  An open barn, an alcove, or a wooden box (which could look like a nesting box) are all ideal as they will shelter the unit from water ingress and the effect of heat and ultra-violet light.

Is there any possibility of interference with other Wi-Fi?

It is almost unknown.

By law Wi-Fi has to follow international standards and specifications, so no two installations should unduly interfere with each other. If there are a lot (say 10 or more) strong Wi-Fi signals in a very small area then they have to share capacity, which may cause a slowing of performance. Poorly configured competing Wi-Fi signals can also cause slowing, especially in a busy industrial/commercial environment, but should not cause either system to fail.

Other devices such as cordless phones and microwave ovens operate at similar frequencies (Info-Point uses 2.4 GHz) and if these malfunction then they can theoretically be a cause of interference, but again this occurs very rarely.

What about fire risk?

Info-Point is an electrical device and so will always carry some level of risk of malfunction that could lead to a fire. However, the risk is extremely low as the system is solid state electronics, so consumes very little power and generates very little heat. All the components are good quality and CE approved, and are protected in the normal way by external and internal fuses.

If fire risk is a high priority then the following are recommended:

  • Site the Info-Point where it can be seen by staff and smoke would be obvious
  • Swich off overnight or when the property is unattended
  • Enclose the Info-Point in a fire retardant enclosure (radio-transparent wood, plastic or glass)
  • Use the Independent version and a low energy 12v power supply with added cut-out protection

What is the size and weight of an Info-Point unit?

Standard and Independent units:

Height 220 mm, Width 290 mm, Depth 92 mm (includes ventilation stand-offs and mounting brackets). Add 140mm to height to allow for antenna. 

In some circumstances, such as mounting the unit 'portrait' rather than 'landscape', the aerial can be bent 90 degrees in which case the 'height' including antenna is 260mm. Antenna can also be remote mounted using an extension cable with RP-SMA connectors.

Weight 2Kgs

Recessed panel for label: Width 229 mm, Height 171 mm

Portable or test unit:

Height 200 mm min,  300mm max (depending on aerial orientation),  Width 100 mm, Depth 30 mm

Weight 300 g (including separate mains adapter plug)

 

What audio file format should I use?

Info-Point uses standard web protocols and can deliver any audio format commonly in use. However, user devices vary in what they can and cannot play - both for technical reasons and for commercial and copyright reasons. It is a common mistake to test only on your own device and assume that it will work on others.
To help with compatibility we have included a built-in media player in the Info-Point audio pages. We have also (unless you disable this option) automated the creation of a link underneath the audio player that will download the file and play it using the device's own player.
For maximum compatibility we recommend that the audio files you upload are in the following format:
Format: MP3
Tracks: Mono
Sample rate: 44,100Khz
Bit depth: 16bit
Bit rate: 128Kbps

At what stage in my project should I order my Info-Point?

If your project is still a year or more away then it is probably best to wait as the technology and features tend to improve over time. We can send pro-forma invoices and fix the contract price, and also accept payment with a later call-off.

Once you are planning and producing your content it makes sense to get your Info-Point, learn how to use it, and upload and test content as you go, rather than leave it until the installation stage, when everyone will already be busy ironing out all sorts of last-minute problems.

How long is the delivery time?

We promise to deliver your order within two weeks of payment. Often we can be faster, but please don't rely on this. We can estimate the delivery date at the time of order.

I get lines, outlines or other effects on my video

These can be caused by video quality, settings, and compression algorithms. Potential causes are:

  • The video has been downloaded from the internet at lower resolution than desirable
  • The video has been compressed more than once
  • The settings for rendering or conversion are not appropriate for mobile devices

Ideally, always start with a higher quality original video than you need and use conversion software to produce a compressed and mobile optimised version direct from the original. The illustration shows the effect on movement of 'interlacing', which is a technique used in high quality broadcast television but is not suitable for flat screen computer displays. 

See our FAQ on recommended video settings. Contact us if you still have problems.

What media files does Info-Point support?

Images - jpg, jpeg, png, gif

Documents - pdf

This format is in practice universal for downloads

Audio - mp3, mp4a, wav, oga, f4a, aac, wma, weba

For maximum compatibility we recommend MP3

Video -  mp4, m4v, flv, f4v, webm, webv, ogg, ogv, 3g2, 3gpp, mov, swf

For maximum compatibility we recommend MP4, but see the special FAQ on video format and settings

Other - html tags and scripts for special pages, apps, and games

Does Info-Point support multiple languages?

Yes, it does it extremely well and intelligently.

When the language module is enabled, each individual user can switch between the provided languages at will. This switches not only your content, including media files, but also the navigation etc. There are even 'smart' options for when you only have some of your content in a particular language (eg. text, but not a video) or you have content that is not language specific (such as an address or URL).

The language feature is not included in the Demonstration model.

How do I upload and edit content?

Uploading and editing content is very simple. You don't need any web authoring skills.

You access the unit in the normal way, by connecting to its Wi-Fi signal from a laptop or tablet or similar device. Then log on at an administrator's page with a username and password. You then see additional editing menus and just follow them. Info-Point by default will automatically take care of the design and layout - even re-sizing images to fit into pre-set spaces on the page.

We have a series of training videos on our web site. We also have an online simulator that you can use to test your own content or ideas and see how it will display on mobile devices. This is a great way to learn, and to play with features, safe in the knowledge that you can't mess anything up as the simulator is wiped clean each night. Please contact us for a logon to access the simulator.

 

Can the user download content?

All devices that can web browse can play Info-Point content whenever they are in range. Info-Point can also deliver content as downloads. This is an option that you can set universally to on or off. However, some devices and operating systems (most notably Apple) prevent their users from downloading some types of content other than from their official on-line stores. Most devices will however download pdf files, so leaflets and trails available as dowloadable documents will be universally accessible. Audio, video, and native app downloads can be made available via Info-Point to devices that will accept such downloads.

Where should I position my Info-Point?

Ideally indoors, or if outdoors then sheltered from the direct effects of rain and sunlight. For best coverage place the Info-Point unit near the middle of the area you want covered, with the aerial (or antenna) about head height or a bit above.

The Wi-Fi signal is similar to light in that it travels in straight lines from the aerial to the user, so the more users that have uninterrupted 'line of sight' to the aerial the better. The signal radiates in a pattern that can be imagined as being rather like a doughnut, with the aerial placed through the hole. The signal will be best at the sides of the aerial, and should be even all the way round, while it will be worst if you are directly above or below the aerial ends.

Sometimes positioning a metal surface behind the aerial may 'beam' the signal more strongly in one direction, just like the reflector on a torch. The metal surface could be as simple as a sheet of aluminium baking foil. This technique is owrth trying if you have a solid wall behind the unit that is absorbing some of the signal.

It is possible to obtain specialist antennas that will cover a different pattern than the 'omnidirectional' one supplied. Radio signals and antennas are complex and depend a lot on the local environment, so trial and error is often the only way to optimise them. There are even special 'leaky cable' antennas for use in mines and underground bunkers.

Can I update content centrally on-line?

No. Info-Point does not connect to the Internet at all. We can automate the upload of frequently changing content so that it is an efficient process to update many units, but you have to be within Wi-Fi range of a unit to update it.

My video plays on some devices not on others

As a quick fix, try using the download video link (if you have this enabled) in order to play the video on the user device's own media player. The root cause is that you have uploaded a video in a format that is not compatible with the non-playing devices.

Different devices, especially mobiles, have different technological imitations. More importantly, they follow different formatting standards due to commercial conflicts and patent rights etc. so the same device may behave differently depending on its Operatng System (OS). This is not a fault with Info-Point, but a result of the lack of standardisation of video players within devices.

See our FAQs on video formats which contain recommendations on converting videos to a format that will ensure almost universal compatibility. 

Specialist sites such as YouTube produce several versions of each file and sense which type your device can play. You can do a similar thing with Info-Point by using video conversion software to produce several versions that will play best on different types of phones, and on the larger screens of tablets, and giving the user the choice. We recommend this multiple choice approach if you wish to use High Definition video as many older phones are not capable of playing this.

Can I change the Wi-Fi name and URL to my brand?

We can provide units with the Wi-Fi set to your chosen name rather than 'info-point'. Changing the URL is not possible for technical reasons. We can put a customer or Partner's logo on the unit and on its web pages, and you can change the style and colours of the web pages to fit with your brand.

How do I size my images?

You don't need to. During upload, Info-Point will re-size your images and format them to fit on the page.

Why does my media file play on my computer but not my phone?

A possible cause is that you have included a character in your media filename that is not normally allowed on the Web. Common characters that cause problems are punctuation marks such as commas.

The title that you insert into Info-Point is just for display, so anything goes, but the filename of the file that you upload should obey web protocols or it may not be understood by some devices. Some computers can work around common 'illegal' characters, which is why you can see a difference between devices. 

Use only plain alphanumeric characters in your filenames and ideally avoid spaces and use the underscore_if_you_want_to_space_words. All of the following characters have have special meanings so should be strictly avoided unless you know why you are using them:

! * ' ( ) ; : @ & = + $ , / ? % # [ ] ~ 

Are there any licensing or health and safety requirements?

No.

Info-Point uses the standard licence-exempt Wi-Fi spectrum of 2.4Ghz. The power of transmission is limited by law to 100 milliwatts, so there are no restrictions on human proximity.

There are some small differences in the allowed power and number of channels between Europe, for which we program by default, compared with the US, and Japan. We can program for these differences, so please ask about this if the location is an issue.

How much will Info-Point hold?

All models contain a web seerver that will hold hundreds of short videos and thousands of pages of text and images. capacity is unlikey ever to be a problem.

Technical capacities:

  • Standard/Independent Models 60GB (Min)
  • Demonstration Model 6GB

The maximum individual file size you can upload is 125Mb. Most smartphones can't handle files this big, so you may anyway want to compress or optimise them before uploading. We recommend that larger files such as video are compressed to about 10 - 15 Mb.

How can I be sure Info-Point will work for me?

We have a number of reference sites that we can let you have location and contact details for.

We can provide demonstrations, either directly or through one of our content Partners.

In addition we have a number of Demonstration Model loan units that you can borrow for evaluation and on-site testing.

We also have an online simulator so you can test the Info-Point Content Management System with your own content and see how it looks on mobile devices.

As the ultimate catch-all we provide a 'no-quibble' money-back guarantee should Info-Point not do what you expected for any reason.

For longer term reassurance, the hardware carries a 3-year warranty.

Can I change the navigation structure?

Yes. We provide a default main menu, which will be sufficient for many users, but you you have complete control to whatever extent you wish over the look and feel of the user experience.

See our training videos and our support page for information and guidance.