Inspiration comes from previous apps that we have built and are available on the App Store. What those apps were lacking is a reliable context based stack, which could provide very accurate location updates without draining the battery and still manage to run 24/7 in the background. Fortunately with Alohar SDK we managed to find a very reliable stack which enables us to do things we weren't able to do in the past. Combining the functionalities of previous apps with the very accurate location updates from the Alohar SDK we managed to develop the perfect smartphone companion.
What it does
The app has many features, which will be outlined in the following bullet points. All the features are available through the context based location updates provided by the Alohar SDK
✔ The app gives the option of 3 types of trigger events - On Arrival, On Departure and On longer stay, all conveniently provided by the Alohar SDK
✔ The user can also define the radius for which each event should trigger, giving him/her full customizations over when and how the app will trigger context aware events, overwriting the Alohar predefined radiuses in the SDK (additional level of personalisation which a lot of our users have previously requested)
During these events the user can choose from the following functionalities:
✔ Reminders - convenient heads up notifications. Examples being: "To pick up flowers or buy something when you leave the office" Unlimited use cases of our convenient location based reminders.
✔ Change the Bluetooth or WiFi profiles on the phone - useful when you are at home and you want to enable WiFi, but disable it when you leave your house.
✔ Mute/Unmute/ Put the phone on Vibration - perfect for meetings, theatres, restaurants or other public places where discretion is required.
✔ Block calls for that location - In addition to simply muting the phone the app can also block calls so that it gives context to the caller, being busy - the app still routes all calls to the voicemail if it is enabled so that the user can take care of the calls at a later point.
✔ Control of smart home appliances - for the purpose of this Hackathon and for simplicity we have connected one of our existing smart home apps, Hue NFC to control the Friends of Hue Family of lamps with location based and context aware events. Use cases: Coming home and turning on the lamps within proximity and tuning them to specific colour. Turning off the lamps when leaving the house
Requires our Free Hue NFC app and supported NFC chips for the Beta test. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.incorporateapps.huenfc.free
In future updates the app can easily be connected to different smart home appliances through their interfaces and all the same features integrated directly into the Alohar Context Aware Companion app.
✔ Context aware automated muting of the phone - in addition to the manual, context aware location based muting of the phone specified by the user, the app can also auto mute the phone if it detects the smartphone to be in a theatre, restaurant or a cinema. This feature utilizes the additional context provided by the Alohar SDK and the list of locations in proximity. With the help of the built in Alohar SDK location manager we can very accurately track user movement and wether the user is staying for longer periods of times and wether this proximity could require muting of the phone.
The app also actively monitors if 3G Cellular, Wifi and Location Services are enabled
How we built it
The app was built from the ground up specifically for this Challenge using the Android Studio and the Android and Alohar SDKs. It follows all the latest Material Design patterns from Google.
Challenges we ran into
The integration of the Alohar SDK and the initial testing. Once we had the app setup properly and we ran the field tests there were no more challenges. The integration of Alohar was easier than expected.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of and what we learned
The fact that the app was built from the ground up for a very short period of time and the good integration of the Alohar SDK within the app. We have a good deal of experience building location based apps and the issues we always had were: not very precise location and bad battery life. With the help of Alohar we managed to find a very reliable context stack, which provides us very accurate location updates without draining the battery.
What's next for Alohar Companion
We are planning on extending the automation of smartphone control based features such as the auto mute for specific locations and extend it to more locations and different conditions. In addition we are planning the integration of more smart appliances such as refrigerators, thermostats and much more, stay tuned!