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Ifinity to Test Energy-Harvesting Bluetooth Beacons in Malls

The Polish company has developed a beacon that collects ambient RF energy; meanwhile, its battery-powered beacons are being used in Warsaw to provide navigation assistance to the visually impaired.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 12, 2014

Polish Bluetooth beacon technology startup Ifinity is preparing to launch pilot deployments of its energy-harvesting AirBeacon. The button-sized device, which contains no battery, need not be plugged into an outlet, but instead draws power from ambient RF signals.

"As AirBeacons are low-energy transmitters, Ifinity figured out the way to power them up periodically by harvesting electromagnetic waves that surround them," says Krystian Cieślak, Ifinity's chief marketing officer. "Those electromagnetic waves can be generated by an external source, like a power converter, router or simple antenna."

The AirBeacon contains no battery, but instead draws power from ambient RF signals.
Cieślak says his company is presently in discussions with several commercial customers regarding the possibility of piloting the AirBeacons at such locations as shopping malls. The firm hopes to launch pilots by the end of this year, he adds.

Although the pilots have not yet begun, they will typically consist of installing the AirBeacons around a mall or other facility, with RF-emitting devices, such as Wi-Fi routers, deployed at specific locations to feed power to those beacons. Participants could then download an app that would prompt mobile phones to receive beacon transmissions, in order to enable a variety of services, including wayfinding, the delivery of promotional data, managing parking spaces or registering equipment. In the meantime, Ifinity is taking preorders for its AirBeacon developers kit, consisting of three power-harvesting beacons and a software development kit (SDK). The kit is expected to be made available in December 2014, priced at $110.

Currently, Ifinity is offering battery-powered beacons that its founders began providing last year to its customers, including the City of Warsaw, as well as private companies that have asked not yet to be named. The battery-powered beacons, available in several sizes, are manufactured for Ifinity by another company.

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