CalAmp's BLE key fobs, in combination with BLE-capable LMUs (location messaging units), enable your drivers to enter their IDs into the system (also called driver pairing), send a panic-button message, and communicate other events. The LMUs also can warn you if a vehicle is being driven (and perhaps stolen) without the use of a nearby fob if you set up an associated notification in the CalAmp application.

What Is BLE?

BLE stands for Bluetooth low energy, and it is a means of connecting wirelessly between electronic devices. BLE uses less energy than standard Bluetooth connections because it remains in standby until the communication is needed and lasts only a few milliseconds, whereas Bluetooth can persist from a few seconds to a few hours.

Here are a couple examples of CalAmp's BLE key fobs:

In order for the driver-pairing feature to work with the CalAmp application, you'll need to make sure that the driver's profile has been added to the software and that the key fob's ID number has been included as their badge ID. This is covered in the first section below, "Assigning a Key Fob's ID to a Driver."

The second section, "How Do the Key Fobs Work?," discusses how the LMUs work in coordination with the BLE key fobs, and the final section, "Using the Key Fobs in the Vehicles," describes how your drivers will use the fobs while in your vehicles.

Assigning a Key Fob's ID to a Driver

To assign the BLE key fob ID to the driver in the CalAmp application, follow these steps:

Caution: You'll need to physically have the key fob in order to verify its ID number. Later, make sure that you give the correct key fob to the driver you assigned it to!

  1. Remove the key fob cover.
  2. Find and record its ID, which will be on the inside to the right of "MAC."
  3. In the CalAmp application, add the driver who will be assigned the key fob as shown in Adding a Driver.
    Don't click Done yet!
    If the driver already has a profile in the CalAmp application, instead open their Edit Driver dialog box by clicking  in their row on the Admin - Drivers screen and selecting Edit Driver.
  4. In the Badge/Fob ID field, enter the BLE key fob's MAC identification number.
  5. Enter any other information you need to update for the driver's profile.
  6. Click Done.
    The ID number you entered will appear in the driver's row under the Badge/Fob ID column.
    Caution: Again, make sure that you give the correct key fob to the driver you assigned it to in the software! If you can't immediately give them the fob, or if you are adding the key fob numbers for multiple drivers, you should attach a note to each key fob with its driver's name.

How Do the Key Fobs Work?

A key fob works in conjunction with the BLE chip that is in the vehicle's LMU. After the driver turns the ignition on, this chip will scan for nearby Bluetooth devices for 30 seconds. During this time, the driver should press the fob's middle button; the LMU will lock on to the first fob with the middle button pressed.

If the LMU doesn't detect a button press in its 30-second scan, it will automatically lock on to the BLE key fob with the strongest RSSI (received signal strength indicator).

If the LMU doesn't detect a button press or any key fob in its vicinity at all and the vehicle begins moving, the LMU will send an unauthorized trip report to CalAmp, as this could indicate that the vehicle is being stolen. 

The LMU also contains a buzzer that will make a sound the number of times indicated below, depending on the following conditions:

Number of Buzzer Chirps
Event Reported to CalAmp
The key fob with the strongest RSSI was detected; no button press was detected.
BLEKeyFob Auto Detected
A button press was detected (and therefore the driver was paired with the vehicle).
BLEKeyFob Middle Button Press
The LMU didn't detect a key fob close to it, and the vehicle started moving. This could indicate that the asset has been stolen.
Unauthorized Vehicle Usage
The key fob detected by the LMU has a low battery; the default threshold is 15% (or lower). The threshold value is configurable in the LMU script; contact your customer success manager (CSM) with requests.
BLEKeyFob Battery Low

All three of the buttons on the CalAmp key fob have a function, as follows:

Button Location
Button Press Action
Top button
This can be configured to send a message to CalAmp, but does nothing out of the box. Contact your CSM if you have a specific need for this.
Middle button
The driver's ID (also the key fob's ID) is being sent to CalAmp; in other words, the driver is being paired with the vehicle.
Bottom button (also called the panic button)
The driver is in an emergency situation, so an SOS Detected event is being reported to CalAmp.
Caution: You (or another admin in your organization) must configure a corresponding alert within the CalAmp application in order for the software to send a notification via email or text to the appropriate people or to include the alert on the Notifications panel. (See Adding a Notification [Alert] for details.)

Using the Key Fobs in the Vehicles

These are the steps a driver should take when using a BLE key fob:

  1. After turning the ignition on, press the middle button on your key fob.
    You will hear two beeps from the LMU, which indicates that your ID has been reported to CalAmp and associated with the vehicle you are driving.
    Make sure that you do not start the vehicle if you don't have your key fob with you! If you do NOT press your fob's middle button within 30 seconds of turning the ignition on or begin driving, the LMU will chirp three times and send an Unauthorized Vehicle Usage report to CalAmp.
  2. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, you can press the bottom button to send an SOS message.
    Caution: Verify with your supervisor first that the alert has been configured.
  3. If your organization has customized the top button, you can use it to send its particular message, such as "Cargo Dropped Off."
  4. If you hear four beeps from the LMU, this is a warning that your key fob's battery is low. You should check to see who is responsible for replacing the battery.

Note: If two drivers who carry fobs are near a vehicle, the LMU will detect the one who presses their middle button after the ignition is turned on, and that driver's ID will be sent to CalAmp as the vehicle's operator. If neither driver activates their fob's assignment button, the fob that has the strongest signal (usually the one closest to the LMU) will be connected.