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What are Estimote’s products?
They are essentially tiny, low power computers attached to walls or objects in the physical world. Using proximity technologies they detect human presence and behavior and trigger pre-programmed actions delivering contextual and personalized experiences.
How exactly does it work?
Each beacon has a Bluetooth® Low Energy transmitter. It broadcasts tiny radio signals over the air containing unique, location-specific data. Modern smartphones constantly scan for these signals. If they enter their range an associated app responds with the desired action.
For example, it can fetch content that is tied to a user’s profile or micro-location. Apps can also push to the cloud user data or statistics. Personalized content is displayed as a notification or directly in the app. Nearby screens can also respond with relevant information.
It’s an opt-in tech to enhance user experience
Magical experiences and context-aware interactions are possible with compatible apps downloaded by those who opted-in. These apps are built on top of the Estimote SDKs for iOS or Android, where proximity, security and cloud technologies are tied together.
Building an OS for the physical world
This technology stack is making phones smarter, making locations more interactive, even giving ordinary objects a way to communicate information with smart phones or other devices. Estimote has given smartphones extra senses to “see” more of the world around them and know more about their context, opening up an endless set of possibilities for richer, more personalized experiences.
What do I do once I have beacons?
Get Estimote Apps
Use apps and learn everything there is to learn about your Estimote Beacons! From the very basics of detecting proximity, to gathering data from sensors, to securing your beacon network, to inspiring use cases. Get Estimote app & Estimote Edu app – Avaliable on the App Store & Google Play
Estimote SDK and Cloud tie everything together by granting apps access to additional features, including security layer, fleet management, and indoor location.
Create your first app with templates
Check out the Apps section of Estimote Cloud to see App Templates, where you can download a working code sample in just a few clicks. The templates have the Estimote SDK integrated, as well as your beacons’ UUIDs and API tokens for accessing Estimote Cloud API.
Create app using our SDK
See other examples and the full Estimote Beacons SDK on our GitHub pages. All Estimote Beacons are supported by our iOS and Android SDKs.
Estimote Location Beacons
For indoor location, IoT prototyping or enterprise-grade deployments choose Location Beacons – the most robust beacons on the market. They support multiple packets and have built-in sensors.
Lifetime : 5 years
Range : 200 m
Packets : 8 simultaneously (iBeacon™/ Eddystone™)
Features : 5 sensors, GPIO, 1Mb EEPROM
They are tailored for Indoor Location, becoming the first version of hardware dedicated to the location approach. Together with Estimote Indoor Location SDK, they turn a smartphone into a sophisticated compass to position and navigate in any venue. Our Indoor Location app for iOS will help you map your space out in just a few minutes, and then our tutorial will help you integrate Indoor into your own app.
They come in three fun Estimote colors: Lemon Tart, Candy Floss, and Sweet Beetroot. They are also available in white for bulk orders.
We’ve always believed that beacons are tiny computers.
LOCATION: GET GRANULAR
Sometimes, you need more precision.
Museums with many exhibits in a single hall.
A parking lot with hundreds of spots.
A huge shopping mall full of nooks and crannies that makes you feel lost in a jungle of stores.
Indoor Location enables more complex and robust micro-location projects. With this approach, we take a floor plan, distribute beacons evenly inside, and our secret-sauce algorithms carefully analyze the data from the beacons to give you an exact (x,y) position inside that space. This is a huge step up over the “you are somewhere near” approach. Once your app knows the (x,y), it can look up the three nearest museum exhibits, mark the exact position of your car in a parking lot, or guide you to a shop you need through the maze of turns and corridors.
Longer battery life allows you to work on more aggressive advertising settings necessary for accurate Indoor Location. Additional fleet management and security options make deploying and maintaining the required amount of beacons a breeze. They also support our own Estimote Location data packet that provides Indoor algorithms with more data, and also enables Indoor Location to work in the background on iOS
Location Beacons are simply tailored for Indoor Location, becoming the first version of hardware dedicated to the location approach. Together with Estimote Indoor Location SDK, they turn a smartphone into a sophisticated compass to position and navigate in any venue.
All the new beacons have a built-in intelligent adhesive tape layer. It sticks to any surface, and for the first 45 minutes beacons can be removed and repositioned freely. After that time, beacons will stick permanently.
Enclosures of the new beacons are constructed with silicone. It is resistant to extreme conditions and temperatures, and is 100% recyclable at designated recycling plants. That’s why with the new form-factor it’s much easier to open the beacon and remove parts for utilization.
ENTERPRISE DEPLOYMENT READY
Improved authentication and a new firmware upgrade mechanism.
FULL FEATURE LIST
To summarize – the most robust beacons on the market with the following features:
- 7 years default battery life (3 years in iBeacon mode)
- Simultaneous advertising of iBeacon, Eddystone, and additional packets (with different broadcasting power and advertising interval)
- Estimote Telemetry packets (sensor data, GPIO, battery status)
- Generic Advertiser with custom packets capability
- Built-in sensors (temperature, motion, light, magnetometer)
- Additional 1Mb EEPROM memory
- Conditional Broadcasting (Flip to Sleep, Dark to Sleep)
- Separate connectivity packet (advertising iBeacon/Eddystone while connected)
- Improved secure authentication and software update
- Real-Time Clock & scheduled advertising (radio off outside business hours)
- GPIO slot for prototyping connected objects
- Pre-configuration during manufacturing (packet types, IDs, Tx power and other parameters configurable during ordering)
- Shipped with brand new SDK 4.0 for iOS and Android
- Full Indoor Location SDK support
- Compatibility with Estimote Cloud and remote management
- Intelligent prototyping and deployment adhesive tape
- Water resistant and eco-friendly reusable enclosures
AMBIENT LIGHT SENSOR
Estimote Location Beacons utilize the latest and greatest technology, the ambient light sensor. Ambient light sensors are used to detect light or brightness in a similar way as the human eye. The cool news for us? This sensor means you can now enable “dark to sleep”, thereby saving you precious battery life and resources.
REAL TIME CLOCK
Our Estimote Location Beacons are all equipped with a Real Time Clock. A real-time clock (RTC) is a computer clock (in the form of an integrated circuit) that keeps track of the current time. Now, you can schedule advertising for conditional broadcasting within a specified window of time each day.
Please note that both the ambient light sensor & real time clock features are only implemented with our Estimote Location Beacons, and not available on Estimote Proximity Beacons or our stickers.
All the goodies they have in store—a superior battery life, more power saving options, extra security features like support for Eddystone-EID, extra sensors, GPIO—make Location Beacons a great choice for the proximity approach, even if you don’t work with Indoor Location.
ESTIMOTE STICKERS ARE COMPLEMENTARY TO ESTIMOTE BEACONS.
Whereas beacons add a layer of contextual intelligence to static locations such as stores, museums and airports, stickers extend that context to the objects within those venues.
Stickers contain accelerometer and temperature sensors and an optimized ARM processor with flash memory and Bluetooth Smart controller, all inside a significantly smaller and thinner form factor. Stickers are truly designed to be placed on everyday objects. Simply attach a sticker to an item to turn it into a nearable – a smart, connected object that broadcasts data about its location, motion and temperature.
ESTIMOTE STICKERS FEATURES
How do I choose?
Think about your use case:
If you want an app aware of where the user is (e.g. store, museum, restaurant), go with beacons;
Estimote Beacons offer long-lasting battery life and great range, and are usually put on walls, tables, shelves and other static objects.
Choose Location Beacons for long range (max 200 m), maximum battery life and responsiveness, multi-packet advertising, and GPIO connector Or go for Proximity Beacons for short range (max 70 m), the most cost-effective and popular beacons for developers.
Estimote Stickers Range
- If you want an app aware of what the user interacts with (e.g. a dog, an item on display, a fridge in the kitchen), go with stickers;
Estimote Stickers are much smaller size than regular beacons, which makes it easy to stick them to everyday objects: wallet, laptop, bike, etc. This allows mobile apps to detect these objects—we call them Nearables.
2. If you want your users to interact with TV screens and displays, go with Mirror;
3. If you don’t know yet what you’re going to build and just want to test the technology, go with beacons: they’re easier to pick up.
These are a few requirements a mobile device needs to meet to be able to receive signal from beacons.
It has to support Bluetooth Smart (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE) and needs Bluetooth enabled to be able to detect beacons. Most mobile devices today ship with Bluetooth on by default.
You can find a comprehensive list of BLE-compatible devices on the official Bluetooth site.If content in the app is fetched from the cloud, Wi-Fi or cellular connection is also required. It’s also mandatory if the app uses Estimote Cloud API.
BLE support was introduced in iOS 7 and Android 4.3. You need devices running these or higher versions of mobile systems to interact with beacons. Also, remember that it’s not the smartphone itself that triggers actions based on proximity to beacons. Rather than that, it’s an app that detects beacons by using Estimote SDK or native frameworks by Apple (for iBeacon) and Google (for Eddystone). In case of iOS devices, the app also needs to ask for permission to use Location Services. How to obtain Location Services authorization for iBeacon apps?
In theory, any device with BLE support can detect beacons. However, to ‘interpret’ the signal, it needs Estimote SDK, Apple’s Core Location, or Google’s Nearby API. If you want non-iOS/Android devices and tools to work with beacons (for example you want to use PhoneGap, or build an app for Raspberry Pi), you might need to create these tools yourself.
WHAT IS A BEACON?
Estimote Beacon is a tiny computer that broadcasts radio signal. Your smartphone can pick up and interpret this signal. Powered by a coin battery, it has an ARM processor, memory, Bluetooth Smart module, and temperature and motion sensors. When an eligible mobile app enters the signal’s region, corresponding actions can be triggered. You need Bluetooth enabled for the magic to happen.
Its 32-bit ARM® Cortex CPU is accompanied by accelerometer, temperature sensor, and what is most important—2.4 GHz radio using Bluetooth 4.0 Smart, also known as BLE or Bluetooth low energy.
The greatest advantage of Bluetooth Smart over the previous iterations of BT technology is how energy efficient it is. Estimote Beacons can last more than 3 years on default settings on a single CR2477 battery.
Don’t confuse Bluetooth Smart with the first version of Bluetooth: the one that required pairing and never actually worked. It’s a new standard developed by Nokia™, now implemented in all modern smartphones like Apple iPhone™ or Samsung™ Galaxy S. Other devices, ranging from Fitbit fitness trackers to the Apple Watch, use Bluetooth Smart too.
SIGNAL RANGE AND MEASURING PROXIMITY
You can think about the beacon as a small lighthouse. But instead of light, it uses radio waves, and instead of ships, it alerts smartphones of its presence. Estimote Beacons have a range of up to 70 meters (230 feet). The signal, however, can be diffracted, interfered with, or absorbed by water (including the human body). That’s why in real world conditions you should expect range of about 40–50 meters.
Phones or other smart devices can pick up the beacon’s signal and estimate the distance by measuring received signal strength (RSSI). The closer you are to the beacon, the stronger the signal. Remember that the beacon is not broadcasting continuously—it’s blinking instead. The more frequent the blinks, the more reliable the signal detection.
And because Bluetooth Smart doesn’t require pairing, a phone can listen to many beacons at the same time. This unlocks more opportunities: for example indoor location.
CONTEXT AND THE CLOUD
Beacons do not connect to the Internet themselves. The app also doesn’t need connectivity to be triggered by a beacon, but we do advise hooking it up with the cloud.
IBEACON, EDDYSTONE & INDOOR LOCATION SDK : WHAT ARE THESE?
Beacon is only a piece of hardware broadcasting radio signal. On top of that, there are different APIs, SDKs, and protocols that you’ll be using to bring microlocation to your apps.
iBeacon™ is a communication protocol developed by Apple on top of Bluetooth Smart technology. It allows developers to create mobile apps aware of location context provided by beacons. Estimote Beacons are compatible with iBeacon.
WHAT IS EDDYSTONE?
Just like iBeacon™ is a Bluetooth 4.0 communication protocol designed by Apple, Eddystone™ is an open Bluetooth 4.0 protocol from Google.
EDDYSTONE & IBEACON COMPARISON
While iBeacon is officially supported by iOS devices only, Eddystone has official support for both iOS and Android.
Eddystone is an open protocol, i.e., its specification is available for everyone.
The advertising packet is naturally different from that of iBeacon. In fact, Eddystone is designed to support multiple data packet types, starting with two: Eddystone-UID and Eddystone-URL.
There’s a third type of packet: Eddystone-TLM, as in “telemetry.” This packet is broadcast alongside the Eddystone-UID or Eddystone-URL packets and contains beacon’s “health status” (e.g., battery life). This is mainly intended for fleet management, and because of that, the TLM “service” packet is broadcast less frequently than the “data” packets.
iBeacon provides two API methods for apps to detect iBeacons devices: ranging, which works only when the app is active, and provides proximity estimations; and monitoring, which works even if the app is not running, and provides a binary “in range” and “out of range” information.
Eddystone support in the Estimote iOS and Android SDKs is based on a single method at this time: Eddystone discovery, which is similar to iBeacon’s ranging. It provides proximity estimates and works only when the app is active.
WHAT’S ESTIMOTE INDOOR LOCATION?
Estimote Indoor Location is software for mapping indoor environments, that allows for location of people and objects down to few meters. With Indoor Location app and SDK, developers can easily set up interactive locations and incorporate them into apps.
Indoor Location is based on beacons and advanced data science for establishing position of users and objects. Precision depends on location shape and size.
WHAT IS ESTIMOTE INDOOR LOCATION SDK?
Estimote Indoor Location SDK is a set of tools for building precise, blue-dot location services indoors. Just configure Estimote Location Beacons (no sweat, it’s fully automated), attach them to walls and you’re ready to set up your first location.
From there, the location’s map is automatically uploaded to Estimote Cloud, and volià! You can now embed it in your own app.
Location accuracy varies depending on location size, shape, and crowd density. In small rooms, it’s as good as 1 meter, in larger spaces it can be around 4 meters on average. Keep in mind that Indoor Location SDK is still work in progress: constantly improving accuracy, adding new features, and optimizing for bigger venues.
With Indoor Location app and SDK, developers can easily set up interactive locations and incorporate them into apps.
Indoor Location is based on beacons and advanced data science for establishing position of users and objects. Precision depends on location shape and size.
SETTING UP YOUR LOCATION
To start you need at least one Estimote Location Beacon per wall. It’s important to use Estimote Location Beacons – you cannot set up a location with Estimote Proximity Beacons, Estimote Stickers or beacons from other vendors.
There are two ways to create a location with Estimote Indoor Location:
with the app: good for testing and prototyping
with the SDK: good for building your own app
Getting started with Indoor Location SDK
With the SDK, you can easily implement Indoor Location in your own app! The Indoor Location SDK enables you to:
- set up a location manually (you can draw a room with coordinates)
- embed a built-in Location View – a map of your location with your current position marked on it – think Apple’s Map View, but for indoor!
- the Location View is fully configurable – customize its appearance, show and hide labels or leave a trace of your movement
- get raw positioning data – your coordinates (x, y) and orientation
- save and load locations to and from Estimote Cloud
WHERE CAN I USE ESTIMOTE INDOOR LOCATION?
You can use it in retail to navigate your customer through shelves. In hospitals to guide doctors, patients and visitors. On airports, to show travelers to their gates: the possibilities are endless! Also, thanks to integration with nearables and the search for physical world, you can create a new layer of interactions with apps.
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE IT WORK?
First, you’ll need at least one beacon per wall. Since you don’t come across triangular rooms too often, this means at least four beacons. Using more beacons, however, can improve location accuracy.
After you place the beacons, you can create a location. You can use our Indoor Location iOS app for rapid prototyping. The app will guide you through the calibration process: it only takes a few minutes and a walk around the room to map a space.
Remember that Indoor Location app is mostly for testing and prototyping. When you start working on an actual deployment, use the Indoor Location SDK to build locations: it gives you greater control over shape, dimensions, and orientation. We explore building apps with the Indoor Location SDK in other articles on Estimote Developer.
Estimote Location Beacon can broadcast multiple packets simultaneously. Besides iBeacon and Eddystone, there are new packets available:
- Estimote Connectivity
- Estimote Location
- Estimote Telemetry
INNOVATIVE NAVIGATION SYSTEM AT QATAR AIRPORT
Hamad International Airport is using beacons to enable simple and precise navigation that leads passengers to their gate and checks them in. For passengers at this modern airport, our technology is reducing the stress and hassle of travel, and making the whole airport experience smoother and easier.
The Hamad Airport app makes use of the more than 700 beacons at the airport. The airport company said HIA is among the only airports in the world to use iBeacons for wayfinding and providing relevant information about promotional offers to passengers.
With a scan of the boarding pass and opt-in for location detection, the app provides real-time information about flight status, baggage claim, time and direction to boarding gates and food, beverage and retail offers from Qatar Duty Free.
To tell passengers about special deals, the app alerts the user when walking past outlets with promotions. A global search feature matches and delivers relevant content and information fast, eliminating the need for navigating through traditional app menus, said HIA. Read more
IMPROVED VISITOR EXPERIENCE IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST MUSEUMS
Deploying a network of Estimote beacons allows the famed Guggenheim Museum in New York to display contextual information about nearby paintings and sculptures, transforming the visitor experience. The beautifully designed app even remembers your favorite art works when you leave. Read more
FC BARCELONA SMART SPACES IN CAMP NOU – LEGENDARY STADIUM
FC Barcelona is an icon: a symbol for locals in Catalonia and the best football team in the world for millions of fans across the globe. They are using Estimote Beacons to refresh the home turf of one of world’s most beloved teams with a new digital facade.
GENERIC ADVERTISER AND GPIO
With the redesigned firmware, new beacons are capable of much more than only broadcasting existing beacon formats. With Generic Advertiser, it is possible for developers to create their own beacon formats and data structure. Thanks to the built-in General Purpose Input Output (GPIO) it is also possible to prototype connected objects, and feed advertisers with external device data. Prototyping a smart door lock, connected lamp, or intelligent fridge with the new Estimote Dev Kit will be easy like never before.
|BATTERY LIFE||5 years|
|IBEACON™ OR EDDYSTONE™ PACKETS||8 simultaneously|
|ADDITIONAL PACKETS||Connectivity, Telemetry, User Defined|
|BUILT-IN SENSORS||Motion, Temperature, Ambient Light, Magnetometer, Pressure|
|ADDITIONAL TECH||GPIO, RTC, LED, 1Mb EEPROM|
Estimote Beacons-iBeacon style Bluetooth Smart LE sensors
Estimote Bluetooth Smart Beacon iBeacon compatible
Estimote Indoor Location
Estimote Mirror-The world’s first video enabled beacon
Estimote Smart Beacons welcome to the contextual computing era!
Estimote Sticker Beacons- Introducing Nearables
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