This article was 1st published on our sister Site, The Internet Of All Things
The team at Estimote, makers of beacon stickers and apps, have taken what it claims “the next big step” in the evolution of the Estimote platform.
But before one gets to the announcement, it is imperative to know what Estimote is all about. Estimote beacons and stickers are small wireless sensors that can be attached to any location or object. These broadcast tiny radio signals which a smartphone can then receive and interpret, unlocking micro-location and contextual awareness. These are good for tracking the whereabouts of people and products using the iBeacon technology.
“Today, we’re excited to announce the next big evolution of the Estimote platform: we’ve integrated Estimote Indoor Location, Estimote Stickers, and Estimote Cloud to unlock even more contextually-powered mobile experiences. With today’s release of our indoor location product, you can now see and search for nearables in specific locations, and soon you’ll be able to build your own apps on top of this infrastructure. We call this a location intelligence platform, and it takes a lot more than beacons to make it a reality,” announced a post on the company blog.
So users having a mobile device running an app that has the Estimote SDK built in, stickers placed on items can now communicate with phones and Tablets to recognise and update locations.
With the Estimote SDK, apps on your smartphone are able to understand their proximity to nearby locations and objects, recognising their type, ownership, approximate location, temperature and motion. This data can be used to build a new generation of mobile apps that connect the real world to a smart device. Estimote Beacons are certified Apple iBeacon compatible as well as support Eddystone, an open beacon format from Google.
Estimote Indoor Location, said the startup, is a central component of building an Operating System that binds the physical world. “Understanding a person’s position (micro-location) within a space, in an accurate and reliable way that is easy for developers to spin up, without excess overhead in calibration and setup, is a tremendous engineering challenge”, the blog post said.
Version 1 of the Indoor Location SDK was launched in 2014, and from thereon, the Estimote team has continued to release improvements focusing on ongoing stability, accuracy, and scalability enhancements, as well as integration with Estimote Cloud to monitor locations via the Web and “see” people in real time. In the latest version, it has added nearables into the mix to bring together location context, the power of the Cloud, and physical objects.
Here’s how it works:
Giving an example of one of the many uses of the Indoor Location platform, the post said, “We’re all familiar with the occasional frustrations of working in a busy office environment, where keeping track of your colleagues and your stuff can be a pain. Rather than walking all over to find your coworker for your upcoming meeting, imagine pulling out your smartphone to see her location in real-time. Turns out she’s lingering in the break room, but that’s okay because you can use that extra time to search for the projector since you see someone’s taken it from the conference room. Simply type HDMI Projector into your office app’s search box and voila, item located! All of this is possible today with the latest Estimote Indoor Location app.”
Estimote claims the “most powerful feature” of the new app is the ability to search for objects tagged with Estimote Stickers. Simply enter the name of a nearable and you’ll know exactly where it’s located. It’ll be highlighted on a map of the relevant location, as long as the location itself is either public or belongs to you.
Currently searching for nearables is available only in the Indoor Location app but Estimote says it is already working to bring it to its SDK as well. The applications are endless, from retail to museums to asset tracking in industrial and personal environments.
To start using this, one needs to download the Estimote Indoor Location iOS application one-time. The app takes care of beacon configuration and guides users through a one-time setup of their “space”. It also allows them to see the user’s as well as the position of other users and objects in locations, thanks to support for Estimote Stickers and Estimote Cloud integration.
Image Credit: Estimote