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By Beth Bacheldor

Estimote Launches 'Video Beacon'

Estimote has announced the Estimote Mirror, a beacon that plugs into a video screen, enabling it to display content triggered by nearby consumers' phones and their corresponding apps, or with merchandise fitted with other Bluetooth beacons.

Like Estimote's other beacons, Mirror uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)—also known as Bluetooth Smart—technology. The Mirror plugs into the HDMI and USB ports found on standard video screens. When connected to a TV, Mirror reads BLE signals from nearby compatible apps or Estimote Stickers (flexible beacons that are about 3 millimeters [0.1 inch] in thickness and can be affixed to everyday objects) to receive content via its built-in Wi-Fi radio. A programmable rendering engine then decides what to display, while USB is used as an endless supply of power. Compatible with Estimote Cloud, the Estimote Mirror features a full operating system with an embedded system-on-chip with built-in video processing, similar to that of a smartphone, the company notes.

Estimote's Mirror beacon
The Estimote Mirror, which is slated to be shipped out this winter, is available for pre-order as part of a software development kit (SDK) that costs $99. The SDK contains three Estimote Mirror beacons, documentation, customizable app templates and demonstration apps. Mobile developers will not need to learn any new technology to control the large digital displays with the Mirror, the company explains, and can simply embed Estimote's SDK into their apps so that users can trigger contextual and personalized content simply by approaching a screen to which an Estimote Mirror was installed.

According to Estimote, suitable applications will be those designed to deliver user experiences and remove friction from daily lives. As an example, Mirror could be used to trigger the mirroring of personalized content from an airline app to an airport flight monitor as a traveler carrying a smartphone walks through that airport and approaches a screen. The Mirror can react not only to users with installed apps, Estimote says, but also by sensing for BLE signals from beacons and other devices around it. Content can be displayed on the screen when nearby BLE signals are detected. For example, the company says, Estimote Stickers attached to objects will send contextual data when picked up or moved; the Mirror will then detect these interactions and display content tied to a particular object or gesture. This allows consumers in a retail store to experience interactive moments, Estimote explains, even if they do not have the retailer's app installed.

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