What is beacon fleet management?

Fleet management is the general term for methods you can use to manage a large number—or “fleet”—of beacons. It’s vital for deployments with many beacons, where it would be too time consuming to configure each beacon individually.

There are several ways you can approach this. The simplest way would be to configure your beacons in the
Estimote Cloud interface. Once that’s done, you’ll need to connect to each beacon with the Estimote App for Android or iOS, in order to sync the changes.

Another option is to use the Estimote Cloud API instead of the web interface, to automate the update process. However, as much as this will speed up queueing new “pending settings” for your beacons, these still need to be propagated by connecting to each beacon. This is where the Bulk updates and Mesh networking can help further.

Estimote Cloud

Estimote Cloud is the one place where you can change your beacons’ settings, rename them, monitor their status, and view the data you’ve gathered with them. Under the hood, it offers a powerful REST API.

Estimote Cloud

The Dashboard will show you the list of your beacons and an overview of the settings. By clicking on each beacon, you can view their configuration in detail, and—after clicking the Edit Settings button—you can edit their settings.

Editing beacon settings in Estimote Cloud will result in the beacons having “pending settings”. These are settings that need to be applied, or propagated, to the beacon. To do that, you’ll need to connect to the beacon using the Estimote App for Android or iOS. Or, use Estimote Fleet Management tools: the Fleet Management SDKs (if you want your own app to be able to apply “pending settings”), or the Deployment app for iOS.

Estimote Cloud API

The API available for the Estimote Cloud lets you programatically read and update the settings for your devices.

The detailed documentation is available here.

Bulk updates

Bulk Updater is an API available in the Fleet Management SDKs, which fetches “pending settings” from your Estimote Cloud account, and then any time it detects a beacon with “pending settings”, it’ll connect to it and propagate the new config.

You can check out its detailed description in a dedicated tutorial. Integrating Bulk Updater into your own app means that the user of your app can act as “conduits” between Estimote Cloud and your beacons, automatically propagating “pending settings” whenver they use the app in range of the beacons.

Bulk Updater is also available through our Deployment App for iOS.

Mesh networking

Mesh networking allows you to connect multiple beacons in a “mesh”—they will be treated as a linked group.

Connect to a single meshed beacon, and it will then propagate the settings among the other beacons. This means that you don’t need to connect to all the beacons—find just one of them, make sure they’re in each other’s range, and that’s all there is to it!

Estimote’s mesh is routed, which means that you can specify any settings you want for any beacon you choose—naturally, assuming you connect to one of the beacons in the mesh, and that they’re all in each other’s range. We’ve prepared a more in-depth write-up and a blog post.