The Internet of Things is turning the physical world into a digitally-connected ecosystem. Some objects have built-in connectivity, whilst others can be connected to the internet using attachable devices. Estimote Nearables are small attachable stickers that monitor location, motion and temperature data.
In order to explain Nearables, it's helpful to go back to Estimote's previous product, the Beacon. Estimote describes its Beacons as "small sensors that can be placed anywhere to provide context and microlocation to any smart device." Powered by an ARM processor, the Beacons relay information to smart devices via Bluetooth and last for 3-5 years.
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Examples of uses for Estimote Beacons include in a retail environment where they can send offers to nearby devices or at home where they can be used to detect what room you are in and trigger actions accordingly, such as pulling up a shopping list on a user's smartphone when they are in the kitchen. Another example of a use for the Beacon was provided when Gizmag featured it earlier this month, describing its implementation as a means of wayfinding for blind people on the London Underground.
Like the Beacons, Estimote Nearables are small computers powered by ARM processors with their own memory and Bluetooth connectivity. They too monitor and relay data about location, temperature and motion. Whereas Beacons are larger and are meant for more static use in locations such as rooms at home or restaurants, however, Nearables are intended to be attached to everyday objects, such as cars, handbags, shoes or even pet collars.
Using the software development kit provided by Estimote, individuals can create any app they can dream up based on the sensors built into Nearables. Some simple practical uses, though, might be attaching a Nearable to a bike to track route distances and for notifications if it is moved, having a morning alarm sound earlier if traffic reports are bad and the user is detected to still be in bed, or simply notifying a user if they leave their bag somewhere.
Both the Beacons and Nearables have a proximity range of about 70 m (230 ft), depending on factors such as weather. They are enclosed in silicone cases and can be used outdoors. Batteries in the Nearables last for less time than in the Beacons, at one year. Both are compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Estimote Beacons can be purchased in packs of three with a development kit for US$99. Estimote Nearables can be pre-ordered in packs of 10 with a development kit also at a cost of $99. The Nearables are expected to begin shopping in October.
The Estimote Nearables are complementary to Beacons, so users need to have both.
The video below provides an introduction to Estimote Nearables.