What is an Estimote Beacon?

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 to communicate with the beacon to exchange data and information.

Using Beacons — an example retail implementation

John is headed to his favorite retail store. He has the store's mobile app on his smartphone and although it's in his pocket, it's picking-up signals from beacons located in the store.

As John approaches the entrance, the violet beacon positioned in the window, sends a personalized message to his phone engaging him to read the welcome message.

John sees some great jeans and wants to learn more about them. Thanks to another beacon located near the product, he can immediately receive more information and a special offer.

As he approaches the t-shirt section of the store the yellow beacon sends a new message to John's phone with a recommendation for a new purchase. John decides to buy both of the items and uses the store's mobile app to finalize the purchase.

As John exits the store the light blue beacon triggers a thank you message with shipping information which appears on his phone. His purchase was completed with the credit card information stored in the store's mobile app.

Hello John!

We've got a special offer for you today!

Yellow T-shirt

It goes great with the jeans you like!

Thank you John!

The items you purchased will be shipped today and be delivered to your home address.

How does it work exactly?

Each tiny Beacon has a built-in Bluetooth® 4.0 chip, also called a BLE (Bluetooth® low energy). The beacon can run for up to 2 years on a single included battery. The hardware is covered with the soft silicone case housing which also has sticky back side, allowing it to be easily attached to any flat surface like wood, concrete, or glass.

When installed, the Beacons begin transmit 2.4 GHz Bluetooth® signals, similar to those of your home WiFi. The signals communicate with smartphones that are as close as four inches away, or as far as 200 feet away.

Estimote Beacons are using licensed Apple iBeacon technology
and are compatible with iBeacon-enabled Apple products
and applications.

See how our beacons are made and tested during manufacturing process in the high-capacity production line

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Estimote Beacon Pack comes with 3 Estimote Beacons in three fun colors.

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What's in the box?

Each Estimote Beacon Pack contains three beautifully designed Beacons. Beacon design takes inspiration from nature and you're sure to appreciate the unobtrusiveness and elegant design of these sensors.

Take full advantage of this intelligent technology to enrich your mobile apps with micro-location context present in the physical world around you. Your app users will be truly amazed by the intuitive experiences and interactions possible with your new context aware mobile applications.

How to integrate Estimote technology into your app?

Thanks to our SDK, it only takes a few lines of code to seamlessly integrate our technology into an existing mobile offering.

Try the Estimote app to experience working demos of beacon functionality without writing a line of code. These demos come with full source code to help you get started quickly.

Keep in mind that Estimote Beacons can do so much more than simply broadcast their location. A powerful ARM processor, accelerometer and temperature sensor are built into each beacon, allowing you to be very creative and imaginative with your app development. We look forward to seeing what you create!

Frequently Asked Questions

Beacon

  • How long does a battery last?

    Inside each beacon is a non-rechargeable lithium battery that should last up to 2 years depending on beacon configuration. Yes, the Bluetooth is really low energy. You don't have to worry about changing it, because in two years time you'll probably get your hands on our new much more advanced Beacons.

  • What is the Beacon's range?

    The typical range of Bluetooth low-energy radio modules is up to 70 m (230 ft.). Of course, it depends on the location, because radio signals could be absorbed or diffracted.

  • How precise should the indoor location be?

    It very much depends on your intended use and the immediate surroundings, but you could detect the presence of beacons as far away as 50-70 meters or as little as 10 inches, so it could be very accurate.

  • How do I install the beacons in the venue?

    Each beacon has an adhesive nanomaterial back surface. You can just stick the beacon to any flat surface like a glass window, a wooden door or a painted wall. You can unplug it anytime and it won't leave any residue or markings on the surface. If the material becomes less sticky, just clean it under warm water and it's ready to use again.

  • Is the Beacon case waterproof?

    The case is made of soft silicon and closed so that it's waterproof. You can install it outdoors or even underwater. But please note that Bluetooth radio signals are heavily absorbed by water, so heavy rain or vast amounts of H2O will reduce the Beacon's signal strength.

  • Do they come in other colors?

    The Developer Pack consists of three beacons in three different colors - mint cocktail, icy marshmallow (blue) and blueberry pie (the other blue). We produce them in many other colors like sweet beetroot, lemon tart or candy floss, but to keep things simple, we currently only market and sell three colors to begin with. If you would like other colors, please contact us directly.

SDK

  • What kind of apps could be developed with the beacons?

    Your app is able to pick up a beacon's signal and retrieve data such as UUID, location and other information. It could do it in the background and trigger different actions depending on the proximity of the beacon. The possibilities are endless - indoor navigation, proximity marketing, automatic check-ins, contactless payments.

  • How could I integrate beacons with my app?

    When you order beacons we will provide you with simple API. You simply place an Objective-C snippet in your code and you are ready to go; your app actions are triggered by different events. Our SDK includes simple applications you could play with in order to understand the general idea behind it.

  • Do the beacons need Bluetooth to be turned on?

    Indeed! We assume that most consumers always have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on. If they don't want their phones to interact with the beacon-enabled apps, they could easily turn off the Bluetooth for all the apps or for the annoying one.

  • Do consumers need an app in order to interact with beacons?

    Yes! Frictionless interaction is possible only if consumers have any smartphone apps on that support our beacons. Without the app, the smartphone will simply ignore any signals from beacons.

  • Does the app need to be active on the screen in order to pickup signals?

    No! The app could run in the background and still receive beacons signals. The general behavior is very similar to satellite-based location and geofencing.

  • Which smartphones and tablets will interact with beacons?

    Technically, all Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices could pick up the BLE signals. Bluetooth Special Interest Group maintains a list of all devices that support Bluetooth Low Energy. The most popular are iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 3, Samsung Galaxy S III and Motorola RAZR.

  • Do these beacons support the Apple iBeacon profile?

    Yes! We are officialy licensed by Apple and all beacons we ship are iBeacon-compatible and work seamlessly with iPhones and iPads.

  • Do beacons work with Android?

    Yes! Android 4.3+ has native BLE support and part of our SDK are Android samples and demo apps. You can also find our demo app in Google Play marketplace.

Platofrm

  • When will you ship my beacons?

    We are shipping beacons daily and normally get them sent to you within a few days of your order. Once the order is placed we will send an email with shipping status and tracking number.

  • Is it possible to order a larger quantity?

    We are focused on shipping to developers first. If you need a larger volume of sensors for your use, contact us directly so we can negotiate a better volume price for larger orders.

  • What is your return policy?

    If we ship beacons that don't work for you or you are generally not satisfied with the API, just let us know and we will either replace the beacons or refund your money.

  • Why do you sell packs of three, instead of one?

    You could create a great microlocation-powered app with just one sensor, but it is much more fun to do it with two or three. For example, with three beacons, you could place one next to an entry door, one inside next to products and one next to a checkout station or exit.

Do you have other questions regarding beacons or our pack we haven't answered above?

Don't hesitate to send us an e-mail

We will answer each e-mail as soon as we can.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it!

We are a team of over 30 people split between New York, San Francisco, and Krakow. Since March 2012, we've been working on a sensor-based analytics and engagement platform that will change how people run businesses in the physical world, and how consumers react to their environments.