We’re shipping out hundreds of Cloud Beacons a day right now to catch up with all of our preorders. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, hold on--we’re shipping them as fast we can. Because these beacons are our first versions, they don’t have final firmware and they're not quite ready for use in most live deployments. We’re working hard on upgrading the firmware of our cloud beacons regularly, and we wanted to let you know what features will be added and roughly when.
Your Cloud Beacon, out of the box as they are being shipped today, can do the following:
1. Scanning for WI-Fi access points (i.e. wifi routers) in range; noting RSSI of Wi-FI access points
2. Scanning bluetooth devices / beacons in range
And that's really it for the moment. But there's another update coming early next week with the following:
3. OTA Firmware updates
4. Advertising (act like a regular beacon)
Point 3 (Over The Air Firmware updates) means that while you will need to physically connect your beacon to your computer to update this current firmware when we ship early next week, we will never require that for a firmware update again, instead working on an Over The Air system where any cloud-connected Cloud Beacon will update automatically. Point 4 (advertising) means that the Cloud Beacon will also have the functionality of a regular Bluetooth BLE beacon, albeit one with a nearly four-year battery life if left in advertising only mode.
Later in February and early March, we'll be adding more features:
5. Bluetooth Beacon fleet management & security management
6. Initial setup without any application, but just by logging directly into the CB
Point 5 is one of the key things that makes our Cloud Beacon different from any other hardware out on the market: it will enable you to easily configure and manage regular Bluetooth BLE beacons anywhere within range of the Cloud Beacon, and will soon have cool features in the API like the ability to decide that you want to randomize the UUIDs of all beacons in range of the Cloud Beacon at set times, and set up a schedule for this. This feature, for example, allows you to create a weekly refresh of your beacon UUIDs to prevent someone else piggybacking on your beacon network or put your beacons to sleep for the night time or off-hours to save big on battery life. Point 6 means that it will be easier than ever to set up a Cloud Beacon: just turn it on and log into the Cloud Beacon with any WiFi-equipped device and you'll be good to go.
In the latter half of March and beyond, we will have even more features rolled out:
7. Push mode for apps that use our API -> flag push notifications through the API
8. Update BLE beacons firmware OTA through the Cloud Beacon
9. IPv6 beacon addressing
10. Kontakt.io Mesh Topology
You'll soon be able to set conditions in our API that flag push notification on either the client side or the server side so that, for example, you as the administrator can be pushed an alert if you notice that one of the beacons that you have deployed in a space suddenly reaches a critical battery state or stops broadcasting altogether. Variously, Cloud Beacon can work as a kind of “sentry tower”, reporting live to the Cloud all beacons that show up in range or leave. These spotted beacons may be just people with mobile apps acting as beacons, wearable beacons, or items with beacons attached to them, but you can easily tie this to events outside your usual beacon interactions like locking doors, presenting text on cloud-equipped TVs, or anything else you can imagine. Finally, we'll be rolling out IPv6 addressing for beacons and, as a part of that, constructing our own mesh topology that will enable some complicated communications and beacon management without the need for complete Cloud Beacon coverage at the venue.
All in all, you can see that we have a whole lot planned for our Cloud Beacons over the coming weeks. We wanted to you feel in the loop about what it is and when you can expect to see new features from us, and we will of course also be listening to you about what we're developing and how we can help you build your business.
Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kontakt_io if you have any further questions.