What is an Info Point?

Info Point contains a mini computer and a Wi-Fi router. The computer is where your content is stored and the router allows the content to be shared with anyone connected to the Info Point Wi-Fi network. Info Point is a stand-alone and secure, onsite solution.

The content is accessed as a series of pages on a website (or websites) and each page is created using content blocks that can contain text, images, audio, video, PDF downloads and other interactive features. Content blocks can be added in any number and order using our intuitive PlaceMaker Content Management System.

For example, a church may have a tour of the church on their Info Point, containing an interactive map and an individual page for each stop on the tour. There may also be pages containing information about the churches history, architecture, eco-church status, notable graves or a page dedicated to children’s activities or prayers. PDF downloads can provide walking guides for the local area or ‘take home’ information.

How do visitors access Info Point content?

Connecting to an Info Point follows an identical process to connecting to Wi-Fi at e.g. home or at a hotel. Firstly, you open the Wi-Fi settings on your device and select the appropriate network e.g. Info Point. Next, you navigate to the content in your browser.

Both of these steps can be achieved using QR codes, which were widely adopted for the NHS Track & Trace scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic. The vast majority of modern mobile devices have a native/inbuilt QR code reader in the camera (no app download needed). Simply open the device’s camera, point it at the QR code as if you are taking a photo (but don’t take a photo!) and the camera will recognise it as a QR code. Follow the on screen instructions. Multiple QR codes can be positioned around a venue providing links to different pages/content.

In ideal environmental conditions e.g. a large open field, an Info point has a range approximately the size of a football pitch. In a church or other old building with thick, damp walls, the coverage will be limited. However, we find that most parish churches can achieve coverage through the majority of the building and into the grounds outside.  Info Point Extenders can be used to increase the range. By following Wi­Fi and web browsing standards, Info Point is user ­friendly and compatible with any modern web browser.

Entirely self-­contained, Info Point does not use phone signals and does not require a connection to the Internet. In fact it cannot connect to the world wide web. So your Info Point will reward visitors with exclusive onsite content, which is easily edited using our Content Builder. You’ll find our Info Points in many churches, museums and outdoor visitor attractions.

Info Point hardware

An Info Point comes as a complete and ready-to-use unit comprising:

  • A specialist computer motherboard
  • Solid state storage for software and content
  • A WiFi hardware module
  • A power adaptor
  • An enclosure suitable for indoor or sheltered outdoor use
  • An external RP-SMA WiFi connector and antenna

The ventilated case (with insect mesh protection) of a Info Point should be suitable for most applications but we recommend:

  • The unit is protected from direct exposure to the elements, including direct sunlight
  • A shed, outbuilding or wooden box may offer suitable protection for outdoor applications
  • Route cables in a downward direction from the unit so that gravity pulls any water away from the unit
  • Always use the supplied stand-off mountings to ensure adequate ventilation (at least 10mm) behind the unit

An Info Point Extender doesn’t contain a server. Instead it links to an Info Point to extend the range of the system, sharing the same content.

Info Point software

Internally, Info Points contain a complex set of software that has been set up to appear as a standard website server. Users connected to the Info Point’s WiFi can easily find the website content using their ordinary web browser, by e.g. scanning a QR code. This device does not ‘push’ content to user’s mobile devices. It works because users want to find the content.

One of our first upgrades when purchasing the Info Point business in late 2020 was to build a custom Content Management System (CMS) – replacing the original software – tailored specifically for our customers needs. Our CMS provides a simple and easy-to-use interface for creating pages and uploading content without the need for any special technical skills. Remote CMS training is included as part of an Info Point purchase.

We are continually developing Info Point and extending its capabilities. We are interested in understanding any requirements that you have in order to see if they could become part of our development roadmap.

Info Point is built using open source software and we gratefully acknowledge the work and the licenses under which that work has been published. Copies of the licences are also embedded within the Info Point in accordance with the various requirements set out within those licenses.

As with any computer-based product some non-free, non open source software has been used at the firmware level. These software packages have been incorporated under proprietary licenses, copies of which are typically embedded with the code. Generally, you may use or resell this product as you wish but the licenses still apply if you resell.