Firmware updates over mesh

Beacons can help deliver context to the physical world seamlessly. They allow you to build intelligent mobile apps, and deliver relevant information for a specific place and time. We like to call it a “magical experience”. At Estimote, we believe the same magic should be applied to the beacon deployment and management process. Recently, we’ve announced breakthrough technologies such as a mesh network, Clustering and Automapping, all designed to take a step closer to intelligent beacon network configuration. Today we are proud to announce another step in this direction - firmware updates over mesh network.

A virtual team working for you

Keeping your beacons up-to-date is a no brainer. Just last year, we introduced 10 significant firmware updates. Features like Shake To Connect, Clustering and mesh improve the deployment process, shortening the time you need to put in personally. On the other hand, Estimote Storage API and Here&Now support enables completely new user experiences.

Over-The-Air firmware updates take about a minute on average, no matter if it’s performed using a mobile phone or beacon-to-beacon mesh network communication. Manual OTA firmware updates require some additional work, though. You need to physically move towards the beacon, detect the device, connect to it, and navigate the app UI to start the actual process. These additional steps make a single beacon firmware update much longer in practice.

Imagine a deployment consisting of 30 beacons. Manual firmware updates would take about 2.5 hours of time from a single maintenance worker. Even using some automations like the Estimote Bulk Updater will take about an hour.

Firmware updates over mesh represents a new level of efficiency. Each updated beacon is capable of updating another. This introduces an exponential increase in the process speed. An update of your 30 beacon fleet takes just 5 minutes total! It’s extraordinarily time saving, not to mention it cuts costs. You’d need a trained crew of 30 people to achieve similar results!

How it works

With this release, the beacon firmware is propagated throughout the entire mesh network automatically. To get the process started, just update a single meshed beacon using our regular Over-The-Air firmware update available in the iOS or Android Estimote App. When a new version of firmware is in place, the beacon starts scanning for other devices belonging to the same network. Once discovered, the initial beacon will automatically connect to another and perform the firmware update. The newly updated beacon becomes another source of new firmware, and propagates it further.

Information about the current firmware version is available in one of the Bluetooth packets broadcasted by a beacon. That means you don’t need to connect to the beacon to access this information! Confirmation of successful firmware propagation can be collected and sent to the Estimote Cloud with just a single walk-through of the venue.

Firmware updates over mesh do not require any additional development. Connect beacons into the mesh network using Estimote SDK or App, and that’s it! Just perform the firmware update on a single beacon, and the other ones will have the new version automatically. To use this new, amazing feature you just need Long Range Location Beacons running firmware 4.12 or higher, and use the Estimote SDK in versions 4.14 for iOS and 0.18 for Android.

Bottom line

Keeping your beacons up-to-date gives you access to all the innovations and improvements that we introduce. With firmware updates over mesh, you can achieve this easier than ever, saving both time and money. Transferring bigger chunks of data over mesh network enables even more sophisticated features in the future. Stay tuned! We have a lot to show you this year!

Got any questions or ideas to share? Let us know!