Frequently Asked Questions

Getting started


How do you install Vismo?

You can be invited to Vismo through a text message or email which will provide a link to download the application. Alternatively for other smart-phones like iPhones, the application can be found in the App store and installed onto the user’s smartphone.


What devices can Vismo be installed on?

Currently Vismo can be installed onto iPhones/ iPads, BlackBerrys, limited Android devices and some satellite devices and the list is growing all the time as Vismo continues to develop. To find out if your device is compatible please contact us.


A lot of our overseas staff are on Android phones, please can you confirm the current status of the App for use on Android Phones?

It is impossible to say we support “all Android devices”. Android has an open source platform and by its very nature different manufactures write differing code for their devices. This may (or may not) have an impact of which location services are reported. We have seen this between different devices from the same manufacturer. We currently support a range of android devices. To load Vismo onto other devices you may have in the field to test if they work with Vismo, but we cannot give any guarantees. Obviously we would not charge you for this until both parties were happy that Vismo reported fixes accurately.


What does the device owner need to do?

Apart from the initial download usually nothing at all. Once Vismo is active, it will run silently in the background and send back location information (normally every 20 minutes).


Will it work as a background app?

Vismo has the capability to work as a background app sending out fixes every 20 minutes. If for example on iPhone, someone was to swipe up on the app and ‘kill it’, this will disable the app and it won’t be able to work until the app is reopened, so it can start tracking again.


How do other organisations monitor/ manage the panic button response?

That depends. Best discussed as some organisations operate their own 24/7 Response Control Centre, other outsource this to 3rd Parties.


Why is Vismo better than on-demand location systems?

Vismo is primarily used to provide care and protection to travelling employees. Should a global incident occur - earthquake, civil unrest, explosion, terrorist incident for example - it's quite possible that the mobile networks could quickly become saturated and the device may be damaged or deliberately broken or discarded. An on-demand system would have little chance of locating an employee in these situations but Vismo always has the latest position information to hand to provide an instant response, where others may not.


Will I be able to check whether or not my device is switched on?

Yes. The device has a Connectivity Check feature which will send a check to the device using SMS. Not only can you tell if the device is on/in coverage but you can see if the device is switched off, as well as this you will also be notified when the device is turned on again.


Can I tell when someone has turned the device off?

Yes. The Black Box telemetry readings show times when the device was turned off. As well as this, telemetry can also show when the device was out of coverage.


Connectivity

Does GPS work indoors?

Sometimes GPS can work when the device is near a window but mostly GPS won't work indoors. When Vismo can't get a GPS fix, it will instead use the location of the Wi-Fi access points or cell-towers to which the device is currently attached. These will be marked on the map so they can be easily identified.


Why haven't I had any fixes at all?

Vismo may not yet be active on the device. To check, find the Vismo application on your device (the blue magnifying glass icon containing the globe). This will open Vismo. If the screen says “Device not activated” or asks for an Invitation Code then Vismo is not yet active. Press the Activate Now button and enter your code/login details. If it fails to activate then please contact your Vismo administrator. If it activates fine then locations should start coming through within 20 minutes.
If Vismo is already active then check the front screen to see what it reports regarding the last fix. Pay particular attention to the date and time. If these are not set correctly then this could be the problem. If all looks well then please contact support for us to diagnose further.


Why has the device stopped locating when it was working?

There are several reasons that Vismo can stop providing location information back to the website. There is no need to panic – this is quite normal in many circumstances and locations will usually resume again shortly. A stop in location information can be due to:

The device being off:

If the device is switched off or has run out of battery then location information will not be sent back to the website. You can check this by sending a Connectivity Check to the phone. If it is off, the connectivity check will stay orange.

The device is out of coverage:

In remote areas there can be very patchy coverage. If there is no coverage at all then sending a Connectivity Check will show this. Note, it is still possible to have both SMS and voice coverage without having data coverage. Vismo requires data coverage to be able to send back locations. If there is no coverage, it will record the locations and send them back when it can.


But I have just spoken to or exchanged SMS with the device holder so I know the phone is on?

The device may only be turned on for short intervals or not during a scheduled fix time:
The device may be turned off for significant periods of time, for example for a meeting and only turned on for 2 or 3 minutes at a time to send an SMS or make a short call. If this is the case then these small periods may not be sufficient to get and send a location back. Even if you have spoken to the device holder, it is possible that the device isn't being left on long enough after this time to get a location. Performing a Connectivity Check should give you an indication as to whether the device is now on.

A further possibility is that the device is being turned on regularly but not when a location fix is scheduled. During the night, for instance, a location is only attempted every hour. If the phone is on for 50 minutes and then turned off, it's possible that it might miss the location schedule and hence it will be a further hour before another attempt is made.


Will it work anywhere in the world?

Vismo is currently in 144 countries world-wide.
In high-threat areas such as Syria and Iraq, the mobile infrastructure can be compromised by governments and can be non-existent in some places.  If in doubt we would always suggest the use of a satellite Phone such as the Iridium Extreme which can support Vismo.


Why haven't I had any Vismo locations abroad when it worked at home and I know the device holder has arrived?

The device will be switched off during flight and Vismo needs a few minutes to get a first location in a new country. Therefore it may not appear immediately on the website that the device holder is in a new country.
To test this, send a Connectivity Check to the device. If it fails to come back green then the phone is now switched off and probably won't send locations until switched back on.


What happens if the device doesn’t have data coverage?

Vismo does use GPRS data to send back location information. If there is no data coverage, Vismo will store the location information until data coverage is restored. If this is a prolonged period, Vismo has the option for sending locations back using SMS. This can be configured by the control centre.


Why aren't my Connectivity Checks going green?

Firstly, don't worry – this is quite normal. It is just confirming that the device is either currently turned off or is out of coverage. In a small percentage of cases, sometimes the device is on but the connectivity check can take an hour to return a confirmation to this effect. However, in most cases, if the circle stays amber then the phone isn't reachable. What is useful is that the Connectivity Check screen (accessed under BlackBox) will show you the time that the device becomes contactable so you will know how long it was off/out of coverage.


Why don't the Satellite Pictures look right?

The satellite photography comes from Google and can sometimes be up to a year or more out of date. Therefore it is possible that you may see old road layouts, building sites etc where the reality has moved on somewhat.


Why isn't the text address shown quite right?

The text address shown on Vismo is also provided by Google using something called Reverse Geo-coding. This takes a latitude and longitude and returns an appropriate road name, area, city etc. The accuracy of this information can vary and in certain countries it can sometimes be quite vague. In these cases it is better to view the map to determine the locale around the fix.


Usage

How accurate are the fixes?

On average GPS fixes are typically accurate to around 3-5m. A cell-tower location can be accurate to around 100m in a metropolitan area. In a remote area it could be much more depending on how remote the cell-towers are. On average they are accurate to within around 300m.


Roamed data can be expensive – how much data does Vismo use?

Vismo has been optimised to use the minimum amount of data for fixing purposes. Getting locations every 15 minutes during the day, every hour at night and sending back telemetry twice a day will use approximately 65Kbytes per day which amounts to around 2Mb per month. However, the device profile is fully configurable so the frequency can be scaled down to reduce both battery impact and data use where required.


Can I request a fix on demand?

Yes, the Vismo website has the ability to force a device to perform a location fix on demand. It does this using SMS.


How much battery life does Vismo use?

Very little. In normal operation - sending back fixes every 15 minutes during the day - Vismo will use 8%-9% of additional battery per day. A heavy user should see around 36 hours of usage from a BlackBerry. A normal user would expect to see up to 72 hours of use. It is also possible to configure the frequency and power settings used by the Vismo under Device Profile to further reduce the impact on the battery.


Why don't the call log times look right?

The times of the calls are recorded from the time on the device itself. When you receive a bill from the network, the times of the calls will be according to the network time and hence there can be a discrepancy. This is most obvious if the date, time and/or Time Zone are set incorrectly on the phone. Also when you are viewing the call records, the times shown will reflect the Time Zone selected. Go into Settings/User Settings and choose the appropriate Time Zone for the country where the device is now.


Privacy and Data Protection

As privacy and data protection are of the upmost importance to a company, please can you confirm where Vismo is hosted?  Who by?  What information is stored? How long is information stored? And how secure are the servers?

Vismo is hosted by Node4 a Tier3 Data Centre (http://www.node4.co.uk/).  The information stored is latitude/longitude of the user, and device telemetry i.e. battery levels, signal strength. The information is stored indefinitely. There is a report produced by the Scottish Government who asked similar questions during their recent Census Survey.


On the BlackBerry Platform it is possible to see the full text of every SMS sent and received. It is possible to disable the Black box to comply with our organisations privacy and data protection policies; please can you confirm what functionality would be lost by doing this?

This is only available on BlackBerry5 and is selectable by the Administrator. Our default is not to have this selected. If it is de-selected this information is not reported back to Vismo and no records are stored.


Are there any privacy and data protection issues on the other platforms (iPhones etc.) and how are these managed, is there any loss of functionality?

We cannot recover any SMS/Call log details from any other devices. This functionality is unique to the BlackBerry5. There is no loss of functionality on the other platforms.


Accuracy

Why isn't the location accurate?

Vismo uses GPS fixes where possible which are usually quite accurate (on average within around 20 metres). However, a small percentage of GPS fixes can be slightly further out – sometimes a few hundred metres. When GPS isn't available, Vismo will firstly use the location of the nearest cell-tower (which is providing the mobile device with connectivity). This could be up to a mile away from the actual location. If a cell-tower is not available then Vismo will attempt a location using a WLAN fix, these are often less accurate.


Why don't the times of the locations look right?

There are two things that can affect the date and time of the locations shown on the website.

The first is the Time Zone in which you are viewing the website. If you go to Settings/User Settings you can choose the Time Zone so that it matches the country or area where your device holder is staying. Click Save and refresh any pages to see the times change.

The second thing is the date and time on the device itself. For the locations to appear correct, the date, time and Time Zone need to be set correctly on the device. So if, for instance, the device is still set to US Eastern Time but the time has been adjusted to be right for Europe locally, then this will have the effect of making the location fixes come through as if they are 5-7 hours in the future. Ensure that the date, time and time zone are set correctly on the BlackBerry device.


If you have any further questions which haven’t been answered throughout the frequently asked questions sections, please don’t hesitate to contact a member from our team and we will be ready to help.