info-beamer service credits
info-beamer uses a flexible service credits based accounting system. You only pay for the resources you actually use. Credits can be added to your account in the shop. Each day our system sums up your current usage and deducts the usage costs from your stored service credits.
Why not a fixed price (per year)?
We decided against a fixed priced model (e.g. "Here's a subscription for 10 devices for xx€ per year") The usage-based model is more flexible and more fair. You don't have to change your billing setup or select a different "plan" or "subscription" if you add or remove devices. Instead you just change the number of devices and the service credit usage per day goes up or down as a result. This is also important as we are an API based service: Automation and the need to possibly having to change billing parameters manually doesn't mix well.
If you turn off all your devices (as some customers did during the COVID19 pandemic) your cost goes back to zero almost immediately. Similarly if you temporarily need more devices (for example for a trade show or other time limited events), you can just register them and you only pay for the days they are in use.
If your billing department prefers a fixed price per year, simply purchase the corresponding credit items in the shop. For example purchase the "Credits equivalent to one device year" item 10 times if you intend to use 10 devices in that year. The credits added to your account will then last at least for one year. If you end up using less devices within a year, you'll have unspent credits that you can then use up next year.
How do I know how many credits I'll need?
You can use the pricing calculator. Enter the number of devices and expected storage usage and get the expected price per week, month or year.
What's my expected storage usage?
That is of course difficult to answer as that depends on how you intend to use your account. If you have a lot of long videos, expect a few GBs of storage. Storage requirements for images are tiny in comparison. As a guideline: The vast majority of info-beamer customers store less than 5GB of content in their account. So unless you have a massive number of different and long videos, expect a similar value.
How can I check how many credits I use per day?
You can always check your current usage by going to your account page and checking the "Estimated daily usage" box in the bottom right corner. You see a precise listing of active devices as well as storage used. You can see the exact number of services credits that will be deducted from your account if you do not change your usage before the end of the day.
Additionally you can always monitor changes made to your service credit balance on the transactions page.
How can I purchase credits?
You can use the built-in info-beamer shop. You'll find various purchase options available. All of them will result in credits added to your account. Credit card purchases are handled instantly. PayPal and SEPA based payments are manually processed and might take a moment. Please also check out the payment related questions and answers section.
I purchased credits in the shop. What happens now?
The credits are added to your account once the payment is fully processed. You can see your service credit balance in the top right dropdown menu as well as on your account page.
Are there device credits and storage credits?
No. Everything within info-beamer is handled using a single service credits balance. It doesn't matter if you purchase the "Credits equivalent to 5 GB of storage for one year" item or "Credits equivalent to one device year" in the shop. Both end up adding to your account's service credits balance. The only difference is the amount of credits added. The different options just make it simpler to purchase the right amount for your usage.
Do credits expire?
No. Credits added to your account do not expire.
Why do I have to pay for storage?
We do not believe in misleading promises like "unlimited storage" or similar claims. Instead we offer storage for all your account's content at a reasonable and fair price and give you 1GB of free storage. Storage cost is also completely independant from the number of devices in your account. So it does matter if you have one or thousand devices - if you store 5GB of data, you only pay once for that. All data is persisted 3x redundant and is included in a daily offsite backup. Your content is served to your devices from our content delivery network (CDN). This ensures that no matter how many devices you assign content, they all can retrieve it as fast as possible.
What's an active device?
By default a device is considered active if it has been online in the past 2 days. If you turn off a device it will no longer be active and thus no longer generate any costs after 2 days. Why two days? The reason is that we cannot distinguish between an offline device (so it's running, but has no working network connection) and a device that is turned off. Devices still show their content for a few days, even if they are offline and the two days seems like a reasonable compromise between the ability to quickly reduce device costs and our ability to charge for device usage.
There's also the option to apply an offline plan to your device. This will change how the device behaves if it has no working network connection and also changes how long a device is considered active.
Suspending a device
Sometimes you might want to temporarily shut down a device if you don't need it to avoid paying for it. One way to do that is to just turn off power to the device. As mentioned in the previous question this will by default result in you no longer having to pay for a device after two days.
If you cannot physically turn off power, there is an alternative: You can select devices in the device list and select "Suspend" in the "Modify device" menu. Doing so will instantly switch the device to a black screen and you won't be billed for it. You can then resume normal operation at any time by using the "Resume" option in the same menu. Note that this feature is intended for exceptional cases like a business vacation or a major interruption in your business (like during COVID19). Once you suspend and resume a device you have to wait some time (at the moment three weeks) before you can resume a device again.
What happens if I run out of credits?
Our system will automatically send you an email every day if your projected service credits usage will last less than 7 days. So you usually get a warning each day for 7 days before your credits run out. If your credit balance gets negative, your devices will temporarily suspend operation. They will all switch to a black screen and we'll send you another email.
Purchase additional credits to ensure your service credit balance is positive again and your devices can resume operation. If you use a credit card for your purchase your devices will almost instantly switch back to showing your content. If your account is out of credits for a long time, we will try to contact you to check if you're still interested in using our service or if we can remove your account completely.
Can I automate payment?
That's possible if you have been using our service for a bit (so made a few purchases already). Check out the automated invoicing help page for more information.