One of the challenges of maintaining a beacon fleet is keeping up with whether all of your beacons are working correctly or not. When you have mission-critical hardware deployed in different venues all around the globe, you need to be sure that you know about any problems or outages of beacons as soon as is possible, and you need a simple way to fix those problems as quickly as possible. With Kontakt.io's new Beacon Health monitoring in our SDKs, we're helping you solve that exact problem.
The Kontakt.io Beacon Health monitoring features in our SDKs is an exension of our current iOS and Android SDKs, and contains all of the cost-saving functionality that we've already written about before, but adds in the capacity to scan every single Kontakt.io beacon and report back on the battery health and current configuration of the device. That way, if you add the relevant parts of the SDK into your own app, you'll always know what's the status of any beacon that's deployed as soon as someone with your application installed walks by it. Beyond that, you will also be able to check in our webpanel and API to see when the last connection time for a beacon was. If it's been weeks or months since the last time a beacon was connected to, you may want to send someone to check on a beacon to see if it's been knocked off the wall or has otherwise stopped working.
Since checking the status of every item in your beacon fleet isn't a practical way to keep up with large deployments, we've also set up a simple system in the webpanel or in our API to manage alerts when a beacon's battery is low or critically low so that you'll be alerted about potentially dead beacons before they go out of service in plenty of time to reorder another batch. The process is quite straighforward: login to your webpanel at panel.kontakt.io and select the beacons whose health you would like to monitor.
From there, go to “Bulk Beacon Management” and click on the Beacon Health tab.
From there you will be able to set up alerts for when you would like to receive alerts about a beacon's battery health. You can set up two alerts, one when a battery is “low” and one when it is “critical”. These alerts will be emails sent out to the email address of the account set as the beacon “manager” in our Kontakt.io Proximity Cloud platform.
In Android, it’s relatively simple, as we’ve just added this functionality to the already existing KontaktProximityManager class. Provided that you’re using this in your SDK, we’ll already start pulling information from any Kontakt.io beacon and let you know what the battery status is, along with any other information that we’re resolving in the cloud like if there’s a pending configuration or if your shuffled beacon is out of sync with the expected value.
On iOS, it’s a little more complicated as the work of finding beacons and interacting with them is split between KTKDevicesManager and KTKBeaconManager. We’ve added beacon health monitoring to the KTKDevicesManager class, so you need to call this when the app is in the foreground in order to have it scan any Kontakt.io beacons in range and report back on the device’s health. Since constantly ranging isn’t a great practice and can affect both the beacon battery life and the phone’s battery life, it’s recommended that you use the StartDevicesDiscoveryWithInterval: method if you’re doing this so as to preserve energy efficiency for al parties involved.
All of the beacon health scanning features are already live in our Kontakt.io Proximity Administration App for iOS and for Android, so even if you don't have this SDK installed in your own apps yet, you can see how it works by walking around a venue where you've deployed Kontakt.io beacons with a phone that has our application installed on it. Give it a try today and let us know what you think!
Right now this has launched with the most crucial and immediately useful feature: battery health and proactive alerts before a beacon's battery dies so you can replace it and never suffer an outage due to battery issues. Other features that we will be developing in the next weeks and months will include:
What else would you want to see in our Beacon Health features for our SDKs? Drop us a comment and let us know, or reach out to us by dropping a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you'd like to learn more about the Beacon Health SDK and other cost- and time-saving features, sign up for our upcoming webinar, which is all about making your fleet management more effective!