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. If that’s still too time-consuming for you, fear not! There’s more in store. Another option you might want to consider is using the API to automatize the update process. As much as this will speed up changing the settings, they will need to be propagated to each beacon—again, by connecting to the beacon using one of our apps.

Now, let’s move on to the really good parts. The other available methods will additionally save you the time spent on connecting to individual beacons. Read the Bulk Updates and Mesh Networking sections to find out how.

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 configurations in detail, and—after clicking the Edit Settings button—you can edit their settings. This will result in the beacons having “Pending Settings”—these are settings that need to be applied, or propagated to the beacon. As we’ve mentioned, this will require you to connect to the beacon using the Estimote App for Android or iOS. Alternatively, you can use the deployment app or the ‘BulkUpdater’ feature in our SDK. We’ll discuss those in a second.

Estimote Cloud API

The API available for the Estimote Cloud lets you read and update the settings for your devices, manage their Mesh settings, and even configure their Here & Now links. The detailed documentation is available here.

Bulk Updates

With this many beacons, you definitely want to look for ways to optimize the time it takes to apply your settings to beacons. What better way to do it than to have it happen in the background, without any effort? We’ve included a functionality called the BulkUpdater in our SDK. You can check out its detailed description in a dedicated tutorial. In short, it allows you to configure your beacons, either using the Estimote Cloud or the API, then have the BulkUpdater run in your app—as long as the configured beacons are in range of the device running the app, they will be updated with the configuration you specify for them. Using BulkUpdater, you can set individual, differing settings for each beacon, and they will be applied individually. You can think of this as similar to connecting to a beacon using the Estimote App, with the huge difference being that you only need to press a single button to update dozens, or even hundreds, of beacons. This feature 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, even in the background—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 setting 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.