FROM THE BEGINNING, Estimote has wanted to create an operating system for the physical world. And it’s just taken another step toward that goal.
The hardware and software company makes Bluetooth-enabled stickers you can put pretty much anywhere. These stickers use beacon technology to communicate with apps on your phone. The way Estimote imagines it, analog people and objects magically become digital and interactive. Estimote co-founder Steve Cheney puts his company’s mission in the form of a question: “What if, in the physical world, you could have a search box, and find stuff inside it?”
Estimote has built that box: It announced this week that you can now track and search for objects in its platform.
Previously, Estimote’s indoor location capabilities extended to people, via their phones. You could deck out a room or building with beacons, and they would triangulate with your phone to determine your location. On screen, this looked like an honest-to-God Marauder’s Map, with people moving around a space in real time.
Now, Estimote’s platform can do with this any object wearing a sticker. When someone with an Estimote-enabled phone comes within range of that object (in location intelligence lingo, these objects are called nearables), the platform records the item’s location and stores it in the cloud. Over time, there will be a huge and evolving library of physical objects and their relation to us at any given time. Later, say you needed to find a certain book: you can type it in and search for its location on your phone, just like you’d Google a library’s location. This platform, Cheney says, “is using the cloud and people as a large data set to crawl the physical world.”
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