FAQs

What is the range of Info-Point?

Info-Point will cover up to a 150 metre radius and this can be increased by a special antenna to 250 metrres (measured horizontally 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 extend the coverage of an Info-Point?

Yes. 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, so these are a good way to present maps and trails.
Option Two - Hot Spots
You can use multiple independent units as '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 will automatically re-connect at each hot spot. This technique requires signal gaps between the hot spots. 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 Access Points
We can supply additional Access Points or 'Slave' units that can 'daisy chain' to create a seamless network from your Master unit. Outdoor Slave units within line-of-sight can be up to 1Km apart. Slave units also increase the system capacity for simultaneous users in high traffic areas.

How is an Info-Point powered?

Info-Point is capable of several power options:

  • Battery - a pocket-size battery can run it all day for open events and outreach
  • Solar power - it can be entirely self-contained and unattended for remote andoutoor sites
  • Vehicle or vessel - for tours and trips
  • Mains - a mains adapter is supplied

It can be left permanently on, or switched on and off at the beginning and end of each day. The system auto-recovers from power failures and glitches.

Technical details:

  • DC Voltage 12V to 24V DC
  • DC power consumption Master unit 6W, Slave unit 2W
  • AC voltage 120-240V (mains adapter supplied)
  • AC Power consumption 25W (similar to low-energy light bulb)

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.

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.

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 size and weight of an Info-Point unit?

Standard units (Master or Slave):

Height 220 mm, Width 290 mm, Depth 92 mm (includes ventilation stand-offs and mounting brackets). Add 140mm to height to allow for standard antenna, 400mm for high-gain antenna. 

The unit can be mounted 'portrait' rather than 'landscape', and the aerial bent 90 degrees in which case the 'height' from the normal base to the antenna elbow is 260mm. 

Antenna can also be remote mounted using an extension cable.

Weight Master unit 1.8 Kg

Weight Slave unit 1.2 Kg

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

How do I upload and edit content?

Uploading and editing content is very simple, and can be done via the built-in Content Management System. You don't need any web authoring skills. We have a series of 'how to' videos on the 'Support' section of our web site.

If you have web design and development skills you have freedom to build your own code and even to run your own virtual servers.

 

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. The risk is extremely low as the system is solid state electronics, consumes very little power and so generates very little heat. The greatest potential risk is within the power supply used. All the components are good quality and CE approved, and are protected in the normal way by external and internal fuses.

Normal precautions would be to switch off the Info-Point while the propoerty is unattended. For extremely sensitive properties use an intrinsically safe low-energy 12v power supply with any mains components sited remotely.

When should I order my Info-Point?

Our standard delivery turnaround is two weeks.

If your project start is six months or more away then it is best to wait, as the technology and features tend to improve over time. We can send a fixed price quotation that is valid for your project timescale.

Once you are ready to plan and start producing your content, it makes sense to get your Info-Point, giving you time to discover ways to use it, and to upload and test content as you go, rather than leave it until the final installation stage.

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.

Can Info-Point be used outdoors?

Yes. The enclosure supplied is ventilated and has dust and insect filters, but requires some protection from the direct impact of weather, especially driving rain and sun. Outdoor antennas can be supplied so that the antenna and Info-Point can be some metres apart.

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

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

We can provide demonstrations, and on-site testing.

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

How much will Info-Point hold?

Info-Point can hold hundreds of short videos and thousands of pages of text and images. capacity is unlikey ever to be a problem.

The standard server disk is 60GB. 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.

What media files does Info-Point support?

Anything that can go on the web can go on an Info-Point as it is standard web technology

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. 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).

Can the user download content?

Yes - or no if you wish. This is an option that you can change. Note though that some smartphones prevent their users from downloading rich media and apps other than from their official on-line stores. Almost all devices will download images and pdf documents.

Can I change the name and appearance to match my brand?

Yes. The Wi-Fi can be set to your chosen name. You can change the logo, layout styles, and colours to fit with your brand. We can also do this for you as part of your support package.

How do I size my images?

You don't need to. During upload, Info-Point will make a re-sized copy image and format it to fit on the page. For speed and efficiency it is sensible though to limit the file size to a web-appropriate size such as 300Kb.

Where should I position my Info-Point?

For best coverage try to position your Info-Point unit near the middle of the area you want covered, with the aerial (or antenna) vertical and at 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 strongest at the sides of the aerial, while it will be less 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 trick is worth using if you have a damp wall behind the unit.

Radio signals and antennas are complex and depend a lot on the local environment, so site testing is advisable. We can supply specialist antennas such as 'leaky cable' for use in mines and underground bunkers.

What video file format should I use?

Your Info-Point can deliver any type of media file, but user devices are limited in the video formats that they can play. Video is the most complex content to prepare as there are a number of settings and considerations.

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. We have also (unless you disable this option) automated the creation of a link underneath the video screen that enables the user to download the video and play it using their device's own player.

Always start with a high-quality original, and then convert it 'down' to a mobile-optimised format using the settings below:

VIDEO
File type (container): MP4
Codec: H.264
Frame Rate: 24 fps or 30fps (depending on the original)
Resolution: 480p for max compatibility up to 1080 for HD (always 'p' or 'progressive' not 'i' 'interlaced')
Screen size: 640x480  (use 1280 x 960 for tablet-aimed versions) or 1080 x 1920 HD
Bit rate 900kbps or max 1500 kbps
AUDIO
Codec: AAC
Channels: 1  (if possible, or 2 if not)
Sampling rate: 44.1 Khz
Bit rate: 128 kbps

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 - breaking long videos into shorter elements. See also our video training film, and contact us if you need further help with video formats.

Remember some visitors will have older phones. If you want to achieve both the good looks of HD and compatibility with older phones, then we suggest that you produce two versions and label them Hi-Res and Low-Res.

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.

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 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

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.

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.