Bluetooth Communicator - What is it?

Scenario

There is a typical scenario where the manager, in any environment, wants to get in contact with a staff member with regard to a particular job. Ideally as soon the issue of concern arises the manager will be able to communicate with a staff member. In our case we assume that there is no dedicated communication system but all staff members have Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. These devices, together with certain number of fixed Bluetooth transmitters, are employed to create a completely distributed ad-hoc collaborative network, which enables communication with staff members at a fraction of cost of the dedicated communication system. All Bluetooth-enabled computers and mobile devices together with fixed Bluetooth transmitters represent a set of nodes that provide the infrastructure for the ad-hoc the communication network. SystemJ is in this case used to create communication paths between nodes in the network.

System Highlights

System aims are to:

  1. Reduce cost – e.g. to use commodity Bluetooth Java-enabled devices
  2. Improve Connectivity via a Bluetooth alternatives
  3. Increase Productivity and Efficiency in target systems
  4. Guarantee data delivery through implemented protocols 

The focus of the system is connectivity:

  • To allow managers to send tasks to staff
  • To allow staff to respond in the context of the messages received
  • To ensure only one individual has access to the task at a time – data integrity
  • To enable employee status updates
  • To show the individual their tasks
  • To show a manager all currently assigned tasks


Solution

In order to achieve this level of connectivity the application has several core and extended functionalities.

The initial implementation had the following features: 

  • User interface for a desktop and mobile user
  • Completely distributed system, no centralized server
  • Use of rendezvous-based protocols guarantee data delivery (or indicates problems)
  • Grassfire map evaluation
  • Dynamic mapping of participants in the activity
  • Each device can have a maximum of four connections (in the demo case) with no theoretical maximum 
  • Timestamps and data exchange protocols ensure integrity
  • Avoidance of duplicate connections
  • Server/client capabilities of nodes if necessary
  • Behavioral restrictions of participant types
  • SystemJ running on both J2SE (desktops) and J2ME (mobile nodes) – demonstrate platform independence

The second implementation (which is available for download), was designed as a demo application to provide this type of application for a warehouse environment, it has the following features, but lacks the bluetooth routing capability:

  • User interface for a desktop and smartphone (Android) user
  • Use of rendezvous-based protocols guarantee data delivery (or indicates problems)
  • JSON based communication protocol
  • Product and task database
  • Barcode scanning for price querying and stock taking
  • Task pushing to clients, with notification on the mobile device
  • SystemJ running on both the desktop and the Android system

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Figure 1 : An event occurence

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Figure 2: Solution


Figure 1 demonstrates a possible scenario where quick and discrete communication is necessary. From his office the manager can see that there is only one employee dealing with all the customers but there is also a noxious mess a few aisles over that has thankfully gone unnoticed by the visitors. Since he cannot see any other staff he would have to use the intercom to call some and let them know that they are needed. But, if the loading dock employees could not hear it or were on break and the other remaining employee had their hands full the manager would not know that the mess was not being dealt with. As demonstrated in Figure 2, assuming that the necessary coverage is provided, the proposed system allows the manager to quickly communicate directly with the other employees and get confirmation as to who is able to fulfill this task. Not only does the system clearly notify, through vibration and a flashing backlight, the employee of a new task but it allows communications to be dynamically mapped in an ad-hoc collaborative manner throughout the warehouse by messages sent via other Bluetooth enabled devices.   This is just one scenario. Another possible case is where a link in the communication chain of a hardwired network is lost or broken, in particular in a system that is expensive or difficult to maintain – an easily remedied situation for the proposed case as the units are cheap to replace and simply require a small software bundle to be able to use the system.

 

 

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