An Estimote Beacon is a small, wireless device, sometimes also called a ‘mote’. When placed in a physical space, it broadcasts tiny radio signals around itself.
Think about it as a very small lighthouse. Smartphones that are in range are able to ‘hear’ these signals and estimate their location very precisely, as well as communicate with the beacon to exchange data and information.
Each tiny beacon has a built-in Bluetooth® 4.0 chip, also called a BLE (Bluetooth® low energy) — and low energy it really is. The beacon can run for up to two years on a single coin battery. All the hardware is placed into the soft silicone case which has a sticky backside, allowing it to be easily attached to any flat surface like wood, concrete, or glass.
After installation, the Beacons begin transmitting 2.4 GHz Bluetooth® signals, similar to WiFi. They can communicate with smartphones that are as close as four inches away, or as far as 30 feet away.
Apple™, Google™ and Nokia™ have announced recently native support of BLE devices with their latest mobile operating systems and devices.