One of the most difficult aspects in product design is the user interface.
We went through a lot of iterations in the design to figure out the best way for the customer to interact with the DigiSnap Pro. If you have used our DigiSnap 2000 series controllers in the past, you have configured the DigiSnap via the simple technique of using a terminal program to type commands. It has worked well for the last 18 years, but it's clearly antiquated.
Early in the development of the Pro, we used an LCD screen and a set of buttons to allow the operator to change settings. When connected to several cables, this was very ackward, and it was difficult to enter text information, such as passwords. Nor was there any way to configure without physical access to the device.
In the end, technology matured, and we decided to make use of the most common interface of these times, a smartphone. WiFi is universal and high speed, but the DigiSnap Pro needs to operate at micro-power to allow use with small solar panels. Bluetooth LE is simpler, uses almost no power at all, and can achieve the range we needed... from the top of a utility pole to the base!
In normal use, the camera, battery, and DigiSnap Pro will be enclosed in a housing, like our Cyclapse. The housing is made of metal, which blocks radio transmissions like Bluetooth. The lid of the Cyclapse is fiberglass and works well with radio, but if the DigiSnap Pro antenna was in the bottom of the housing, you wouldn't get much signal when standing at the base of a pole under the system! This lead us to take the unconventional approach of using a Bluetooth Module on a cable attached to the DigiSnap Pro. You can then attach the radio to the inside of the lid using velcro or other methods, and greatly improve the range of the radio.
The Bluetooth Module can communicate to an App on an Android smartphone or tablet. Developing an App for the iPhone is certainly on our list of future desires, but frankly it's a very expensive proposition. If you are an iPhone user, Android tablets are surprisingly inexpensive. The Amazon Fire, for instance works well, and only costs $65, or $50 if you don't mind a bunch of ads popping up. It is somewhat specific to Amazon, but if you want a more 'open' device, we are also happy with the particular tablet, the Lenovo Tab 3 which costs about $85.
The DigiSnap Pro App can be downloaded from either 'Google Play', or the 'Amazon App Store'. If you are using the Amazon Fire, you will need to get it from the Amazon store. Other tablets can use weither store. There is no cost, and the App will be updated as needed to support new features or to improve the user interface.