Our neighbourhood has a guard with a visitors book. I wrote an app that's an electronic visitor book: The guard enters the destination address on the app. The app looks up the cellphone number of the resident and sends him/her an SMS.
I used a cheap R1k phone. I locked the phone (not the sim) with a PIN. The app launches on startup and pops up over the lock screen. If the back button is pressed, the activity restarts within 9 seconds. The guard can get to a few options by giving the power button a long press, including reboot. But anything like games is impossible. I installed Cyanogenmod and deleted a lot of apps, but it wasn't really necessary.
The cellphone numbers are stored in a Google Doc. The SMS is sent through a bulk provider and not from the sim. All the details are in the source, except the password and key.
I couldn't upload the zip file to the forum, so I'm using a 3rd party site.
Last edited by nroets; 29-09-2011 at 19:31.
This is excellent! Great idea...
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Fantastic! Has it been running for a while? How is it working so far?
Definite commericial possibilities here :-)
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It went live today.
The initial zip file had a bug where the app would not appear after hitting 'Home'. But I fixed it with an onPause() method. And I reduced the restart timer to 4 seconds.
Commericializating something like this is not for me. (Lots of tech support). I'm placing it under an Apache license.
I stumbled on this when looking for a coffee table visitors book for our private lodge near Bela Bela. I am so glad I did. With the 2 massive fires that occurred recently at Zondela (unfortunately with the loss of 2 lives) and Cape St Francis there is a very real need for Security Management at large Estates and Resorts to have instant access to information as to which sites are occupied in the event of a fire. I envisage that an app like the one you have developed could be expanded to include an interface to Google Maps so that a tag (red for occupied - green for not) on each site (identified by GPS co-ordinates) could be updated with the number of people and vehicles on that site. I envisage a barcode reader app being used for access & egress control. The SMS comms are ideal because of lightning problems that kicked another system (just access control) we were using into touch. Do you know if anyone has picked up on your app - I am aware that you didn't want to get involved in commercial possibilities. Please give me contact details.
I hope this thread is still alive - it was first started quite a while ago.
PS Our lodge is in a private reserve together with 200 other private lodges, 120 Timeshare units, 100 rooms in a main lodge as well as a caravan & camp site.
Also note that people move between houses / flats, pick up their neighbour's kids etc. And guards are notoriously bad at keeping proper records. So you cannot with any degree of certainty determine if a house or flat is occupied by looking at who goes in or out of the gate.
I am not aware that anyone picked up on my app. But I know that startups often take code or ideas from web forums like these, develop them into commercial products without giving credit. It's happened to me before and I'm OK with that.
Over the past year things went very well. The phone is still working. Every month we send more and more SMSs as the guards and the public get more conditioned.
I've also realized that can reduce the charges from 30c/SMS to 15c/SMS if we switch from bulksms to 8ta More. I coded the changes, but I haven't found a reliable app for forwarding the replies from the guard to me.
Thanks for your very prompt reply. Most appreciated, and comments noted. I was hoping that you would have been able to give me contact details of someone that had picked up on your app with a view to commercial development. I would then have contacted that person to see if he/she was interested in expanding the system. I am a retired pensioner and do not envisage getting involved in the commercial possibilities - other than possibly helping with development of the concept. I do believe that there are excellent commercial possibilities for the system that I envisage. I will keep looking. Please post if you hear of anything. I will watch your thread.