If you’re late for your flight, Estimote‘s Mirror could guide you to the right gate by flashing it on a video screen at the airport.
Estimote is introducing its Mirror video beacon today for hands-free — and app-free — interactions in retail environments, offices, sporting arenas, museums, and more. It’s like that scene in the sci-fi film “Minority Report” when actor Tom Cruise goes into a store and a display welcomes him by name and makes him a special offer. Of course, if I’m in a department store, I don’t want a sign to say my name and tell me there’s a special on Hanes underwear.
At the Techcrunch Disrupt event, Estimote is announcing that its technology allows any video screen to serve customized content to individuals, based on their proximity and preferences. Estimote’s beacon technology is already used by 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies and organizations, including some of the world’s top retailers, airports, museums, and arenas.
Estimote’s Mirror plugs into a video screen’s USB and HDMI ports. It uses beacons — Bluetooth-enabled sensors — to communicate with apps powered by Estimote’s SDK. If a nearby individual has the venue’s app installed — for example, an app for the store in which the person is shopping — Mirror can determine his or her relevant preferences, needs, or habits, and immediately adjust the screen’s display accordingly.
Even without an app installed, Mirror can communicate with Estimote Beacons through an accelerometer and temperature sensors. Mirror “knows,” for instance, if a shopper is near certain goods, or, because a beacon is attached, has handled a specific product. It can display content in real time, based on those behaviors.
“The ways Mirror can be used are limitless,” said Jakub Krzych, Estimote’s CEO, in a statement. “A brick-and- mortar store can install Mirror on wall-mounted screens so those monitors show video ads or product information that changes depending on the proximity of a particular customer. If a shopper has that store’s app on her phone, Mirror could discern if she has a history of buying a certain brand. The store can then display ads of that brand’s latest products when she walks by. It allows people to have ‘magical’ experiences interacting with their environment.”
Retailers, entertainment venues, smart cities, and businesses increasingly use Bluetooth beacons to track customers and send them messages, mapping information, or ads, right on their phones. Mirror’s debut marks the first time that beacons have allowed tailored content and targeted video to be shown on any screen within someone’s view — not just on an individual’s own phone — thus allowing users to experience content hands-free.
In addition to retail environments, Krzych notes that Mirror will likely be used in public spaces with display ads. Companies can attract more attention with eye-catching content tailored to consumers as they pass by — tapping into their interests, needs, and previous buying habits. Screen advertisements can now be truly targeted to a specific audience. Mirror can even determine what to display according to the aggregated profiles of a crowd.
Mirror can also be used in smart city apps. Screens are already everywhere in the urban landscape, from airports to subway platforms. Cities can now send precise alerts, push notifications, even video and mapping to nearby audiences who need that information. In arenas and museums, large display screens can direct passing patrons to their seats or to nearby concessions, or provide additional information about the events or exhibits. Mirror can also be used in offices.
“Software of the future won’t be created for phones, computers, or tablets — instead, the developers of tomorrow will use the physical world as their canvas, creating real-world applications and onsite experiences,” said Steve Cheney, Estimote’s senior vice president, in a statement. “We’ve been using the phrase ‘smart displays’ for years; what Mirror does is make smart displays smarter.”
Over 75,000 developers already use Estimote’s platform, and there is nothing that they need to learn to integrate Mirror. With just a snippet of code, any of those mobile apps can tap the power of Mirror’s capabilities.
Estimote Mirror is currently available for order at www.estimote.com and will ship December 1.