Opening hours tracking thing


(Gonzalo Casas) #1

I work for local.ch, the swiss phone book, and one of the challenges we face is keeping the information about opening hours up-to-date and correct. Correct is particularly tricky to get right for SMEs and Mom&Pop's kind of stores because there are always exceptions to the general opening hours (most common case being close for holidays).

So, we thought it would be cool to use LoRaWAN to experiment with an automated approach to opening hours collection. The idea would be to retrofit old-school "We're open NOW" signs with a tilt sensor and an Arduino+LoRaWAN to collect info every time the owner opens/closes the shop.

With that info, we can extrapolate general opening hours + get all the exceptions = perfect information.

We've started now working on prototypes of the idea, if it goes well, it'll be tested on the TTN in Zurich.


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(Patrick) #2

Simple and possibly effective application. Love to know more. What board/shield are you using for the accelerometer?


(Gonzalo Casas) #3

For the first prototype, instead of an accelerometer, we're using a mercury tilt sensor (like this one http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Mini-Mercury-Type-Tilt-Sensor-Module-for-Arduino/32450861418.html), because the sign needs to be rotated to signal a change so we get a very consistent read with extremely low-power consumption. We tried also a proximity sensor (to detect distance to the glass), but that needed more work and was less accurate. Still working on a more finalized prototype thou...


(Tom Oostvogels) #4

Smart move, the tilt sensor! What board/shield did you use?


(Gonzalo Casas) #5

For the initial prototype we used the iM880a (with the starter kit dev board) and a very simple tilt sensor. Now we're working on a more production-ready design (read smaller!) using the RN2483 and a small Arduino-compatible board.

I'll post more once this takes shape! :smile:


(Jonathan Carter) #6

How far are you with this because we made mini sensor for general purpose testing of use cases at our office and maybe you can reuse some of it (maybe not)

If you have something working I run the IoT and iBeacon living lab in Amsterdam and I can get some installed in local business quickly as a show case.

I am scheduled to come to Zurich and meet swisscomm one of these days so I would love to see it in action

Jonathan


(Gonzalo Casas) #7

Hi @jonathanrcarter!

The past few weeks I've been focusing more on the network part more and haven't had time to progress much with this yet, but I'll try to get back to it in the next few days.

If you're in Zurich, we should definitely go for a coffee/beer and I can show you what we plan to do. If you're meeting with Swisscom, you might actually be visiting the same building where I work. So ping me when you're around!

Cheers


(Carmelo G.) #8

the best tilt sensor

http://signalquest.com/products/#/1?1=y&2=n&3=n


(Paul G) #9

My initial thoughts are that an open/closed slider (eg http://www.safetysignsandppe.co.uk/product/open-closed-sliding-door-sign/) would be less error prone and easier to implement - a switch instead of a sensor. Many open signs are stuck on doors which might cause the tilt trigger to activate unintentionally. FWIW.


(Gonzalo Casas) #10

@PaulG is true that a slider would be easier, but it is a less familiar approach for the end user of the device. The idea is to minimize the "alien device" factor, to make it as easy as possible to adopt this thing.


#11

What is the status of this project ?


(Gonzalo Casas) #12

It never moved past the prototype phase: I changed jobs, and nobody continued with the project.