Estimote, a startup that has made its mark with small beacons that communicate wirelessly with smartphones, is unveiling a new product today that puts beacon technology into stickers, with a variety of embedded sensors.
The technology, which the company is calling “Nearables,” promises to enable a variety of new applications by attaching easily to everyday objects. Examples include the ability for a user to know if they’ve left an object or a purse behind, or the ability for a retailer to know when and how a product has picked up and viewed by a customer in a store.
Cue the privacy concerns! Estimote says the stickers will include built-in security and authentication technology. Beyond that, as with beacon technology in general, the big question long-term is whether the benefits can outweigh the privacy risks.
Here’s a video showing how it works.
Estimote, based in New York City, is a graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator that has grown to more than 50 employees. Its original beacons are used in a wide variety of locations, including Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, under a project developed by the Seattle-based startup Artifact Technologies, using its Mixby app.
The new Nearables stickers are being tested by companies and groups including Cisco, IDEO, The Guggenheim Museum, and others.
The company says Nearables will include accelerometer and temperature sensors. Battery life is up to a year. Estimote says the stickers will work in conjunction with its existing Estimote analytics tools and SDK, which are used by more than 25,000 developers.
A $99 development kit comes with ten stickers. The kits are available for pre-order starting today, and scheduled to ship starting this fall.