Beacon Management with BlueRange


A Guide on how to setup your very own beacon management solution


BlueRange Guide

Free Guide:
SmartBeacon Management with BlueRange

Our compact guide describes the need for SmartBeacon Management, demonstrates innovative ways to manage and control it efficiently, and demonstrates how to achieve this with BlueRange.

To the BlueRange Guide

Relution Platform on Tablet

Digitization of physical Spaces

Smart Beacon Management is an application that has evolved from the requirement to digitize spaces. Meanwhile, there are many different technologies that are capable of digitizing physical spaces. We chose Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) because we are convinced of the efficiency, the spread of this technological standard and the wide range of possible applications and use cases.

The right hardware for BLE has already been on the market for a few years and is widely used: the Beacons. These Bluetooth Beacons are offered by many different manufacturers and have as same basic principle always the same function: They send a signal, a message, via BLE to all receiving devices within range. The strength of the signal can be used to determine the distance between the receiver and the transmitter. This signaling, depending on the distance to the beacon, is called Location Based Service.


Challenges of Beacon Solutions

Beacons are now established and are already used by many companies in various applications. While some are used for proximity marketing, offering offers, price information, coupons, and more in a predefined range of receivers, others are used to define the receiver in the room based on received signal strengths of several beacons, the so-called indoor tracking. A wide range of other applications can be found in these two basic functions: messaging and tracking.

Unfortunately, Beacons are also relatively intensive in maintenance, since you have to go to each individual device on the spot, in order to exchange batteries, after having randomly determined that the device is no longer transmitting. Also, for update software, e.g. Firmware, each individual device must be addressed individually.


Identify Your Specific Use Cases

Each beacon mesh project is individually tailored for each individual situation and need.

In order to identify the optimal use cases for yourself, you need to know your objectives and requirements. Use cases arise from a need and its requirements. The possibilities of digitized spaces are almost endless.

The functions Asset Tracking or Indoor Localization, Inventory Management and Access Management form the basis for a wide range of use cases.


You don’t know the strategic direction yet?

We offer workshops and consulting, also on site, in order to work out the best use cases together.


Contact us
for your individual solution

These components are required to use BlueRange Beacon Management to its full extent

The BlueRange Beacon Management System provides the following components:

  • Access to the BlueRange platform, as SaaS, or in individual self-hosting, as an on-premise
  • One MeshGateway per site, as access point to the individual mesh
  • SmartBeacons, with the BlueRange firmware, which includes the unique mesh protocol. They form the mesh infrastructure.
  • Optional: Asset Beacons may be from BlueRange or from other manufacturers. They are attached to devices and objects and can be tracked and traced within the mesh.

BlueRange_beacons_flash

Beacons or SmartBeacons

In principle, two types of beacons must be distinguished:

Beacons / Asset Beacons - Bluetooth devices transmitting BLE signals, so-called tag messages. These signals can be unambiguously assigned and identify the device. These devices can only emit defined signals.

SmartBeacons - Bluetooth devices capable of bidirectional communication via BLE. The BlueRange firmware, which is available as an open source software "FruityMesh", enables this communication to all beacons based on Nordic's nRF51 / nRF52 chipset. This bidirectional communication is a prerequisite for networking to form the mesh.


BlueRange - device management for Beacons and the Internet of Things

BlueRange is aimed at companies that want to digitize their existing office, warehouse, production or sales areas. BlueRange allows easy management and monitoring of Bluetooth-enabled IoT devices, while adhering to common security standards. The multi-tenant capability of the platform allows multiple sites per building and all branches and outlets to be conveniently served from a single server. Through the intuitive operation of the platform, the Beacon inventory can be managed, updated and configured without major training.

BlueRange is developed and operated in Germany and the platform can be booked either as a cloud solution or for installation on site.

Notification:
Please note that uploading a correct floor plan and the correct dimensions are necessary, especially for asset tracking applications. In addition, BlueRange supports the consideration of a WallMap. This increases the accuracy a lot. The SmartBeacons must necessarily be positioned exactly on the floor plan.


1. Enrolling the MeshGateway

  • Connect the MeshGateway with the power supply and the ethernet cable
  • Supply power to the SmartBeacons and place them in range of the MeshGateway
  • Open iot.relution.io and log in with the account details that have been provided to you
  • Go to sites and “Add a new site”.
    Give a meaningful name, upload a floor plan and give its length in meters
  • Under your site, go to MeshGateways and click the “Enroll” button.
    Select your user and name the device → finally save it
  • You will be redirected to a site where you should now copy the enrollment code of the enrollment that you just created
  • Now, in another tab, open the url of your meshgateway (e.g. meshgw-12345.local).
    Follow the wizard that will guide you through the final steps

2. Enrolling SmartBeacons / Beacons

  • Back at iot.relution.io, you should now see the enrolled device showing up as one beacon and one meshgateway under your site
  • Under IoT sites “your site” information, the “Manage Devices” button will take you to another page
  • Now you can click on the „Enroll SmartBeacons“ button
    a) All SmartBeacons should be detected after a while and will show up in a list
    b) After all SmartBeacons have been found, you should select „Stop to Enroll beacons“ before continuing.
    c) You can now select all the beacons, add them to the map and place them via drag and drop
  • You can watch their status under IoT sites “your site” → Beacon Overview where you can see their connections, status and device information

3. Enrolling Asset Beacons / Assets

  • Under IoT sites “your site” information, the “Manage Devices” button will take you to another page
  • There you can click on the „Enroll Asset“ button
  • In the "Platform" section, select the platform of the asset you want to enroll, either a smart device, see the top line, or a beacon platform, see the bottom line
  • Under "Users", select the users of this asset and who this asset should be available for

    Next, the choice of platform is crucial:

    For Smart Devices (top line):
    a) Select a user and enter the data of the smart device
    b) Under "Device" you name the smart device and set the ownership to "business" or "private"
    c) Then, policies can be set
    d) Finally, you select the type of enrollment notification and an expiration date of the enrollment opportunity. If you do not specify a date, the device can be registered at any time

    For Asset Beacons (bottom line):
    a) Select a user and specify the location of the beacon
    b) Enter the device name and serial number
    c) Finally, save the asset

4. Further Information and Campaigns

Selecting any of the devices (MeshGateway / SmartBeacon ) will give you further information. SmartBeacons start scanning for Android / iOS devices once they're powered up. As soon as you start the SDK application, you should see a heatmap being generated after a short while.

Campaigns are found under IoT => Campaigns, they consist of triggers (Currently only SmartBeacons with configured iBeacon messages are supported) and actions (Notification, Content, ...). You should start by configuring one or more beacons with an iBeacon message. (Found under IoT => sites => „your site“ => Beacon Overview => „Beacon name“ => Beacon messages). Before configuring a Relution Tag message, you have to create some tags first, which is done under Settings => Tags.


Operation of BlueRange

If all SmartBeacons are enrolled and configured, BlueRange monitors the devices independently and automatically reports any upcoming battery changes or problems to the administrator, if desired. Thus the maintenance effort is kept very low and it is only necessary to intervene in case of changes. Due to its self-healing ability, the BlueRange mesh automatically re-links itself when a single connection is lost and replaces the lost connection with another one.

Campaigns View
The "Campaign" view lists all the campaigns that are created, across all locations. You can view additional details and manage the selected campaign with one click.



Sites view
In the "Sites" view all established sites are displayed in a list. Here, a location can be selected to obtain more information about the devices enrolled and assigned there.



"Information"
After a location is selected, the respective details of the location are displayed in the respective "Information" view, including, if set, the address of the location on a map, the number of broadcast messages, and the number of devices in the mesh by type.



"Device Overview"
The "Device Overview" tab provides, as the name suggests, the general overview of the meshes associated with the mesh, in list form, and a map with the location of each device. Here, information such as the device names, serial numbers, status, beacon messages and the time of the last connection can be viewed. When you click on a specific device, its detail view is displayed, in which all the details of the device are set up in detail. If devices have been registered, the device list is divided into the tabs "Devices on the card" and "Assets".



"Map"
The "Map" shows all devices within the mesh. The corresponding button can be used to switch between manual time setting and "Realtime", which enables the real-time monitoring of assets. If desired, additional displays can be displayed on the card, such as, for example, "Heatmap", "Tracking Data" and the mesh patterns of the assets in the mesh, the "Connections" between the SmartBeacons, the names of the individual devices, the "Ranges" of the SmartBeacons and also a "Help" to control the map.


You don’t know the strategic direction yet?

We offer workshops and consulting, also on site, in order to work out the best use cases together.


Contact us
for your individual solution