We just received our iBeacons from Estimote!
How exciting – but what are they? and what do they do?
iBeacons are the name Apple has given to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which is set to replace Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and revolutionize retail experiences and bring context to many of the day to day experiences we have out and about with our phones.
Apple have recently installed iBeacons throughout their retails stores, so expect Apps which guide you through your instore experience to arrive soon.
Who are Estimote?
Estimote are a Y Combinator backed company founded in Krakow, Poland by Jakub Krzych and Łukasz Kostka – they are one of the first companies to produce commercialy available iBeacons.
Unboxing the Estimote iBeacons
First up, I have to say that Estimote have done a really cool job designing and putting together their iBeacon products. Each ‘mote’, as they are known, comes in a cool, pastelly, flat design kind of colour. In contrast the packaging has a really nice earthy, organic feel, offsetting the tech inside. The devices themselves are kind of like low polygon, 3D nuggets of tech goodness!
Best of all, was the handwritten note inside from the one of the founders, Jakub – nice touch!
We’ve been really busy so left them boxed up for a week today, we finally got them out and stuck them on the walls. We then headed over to Estimote’s website (http://www.estimote.com/api/) to check out what to do with them.
After a bit of prodding and poking, we then headed over to iTunes to get Estimote’s app, just to test if our devices were actually working, which they are.
How do iBeacons work and what do they do?
So, what do these bad boys do? Estimote describe them as follows:
An Estimote Beacon is a small, wireless device, sometimes also called a ‘mote’. When placed in a physical space, it broadcasts tiny radio signals to smart devices.
Think about it as a very small lighthouse. Smartphones that are in range are able to ‘hear’ these signals and estimate their location very precisely, as well as communicate with the beacon to exchange data and information.
Potential uses of iBeacons
There are going to be many exciting opportunities and experiences that can be created around iBeacons. Retail is the most obvious space. With the right phone and iBeacons in place, instore, shoppers can be notified of deals and offers as they move through a shop – the iBeacons bring precise location and contextual information to that environment.
At Lightflows, we’ve hooked up a simple app which will greet customers when they arrive at our offices, offering them a ‘beverage chooser’ which allows them to order a tea, coffee or other drink. The app then sends a notification to a member of our support team who duly serve up the correct drinks on arrival!
The customer’s choice is remembered, and they are offered the same drink next time they pop by.
These are just some fun ideas we have – there are sure to be some amazing uses for this technology which we can only begin to imagine.
For more information and to get your own
Check out: http://estimote.com, to get your hands on the App, check here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/estimote-virtual-beacon/id686915066
Also referenced in this article, Y Combinator.
Image credits: Estimote