recommended reading

These Cute, Tiny Sensors Will Soon Be Watching You Everywhere


One of the promises of the “internet of things” is that it will connect the real-world with the virtual. Low-energy Bluetooth beacons are emerging as one of its stronger early technologies.

Here’s a quick look at where beacon technology stands today: Estimote, one of the leading beacon startups, just launched these new, tiny, cute beacon “stickers,” which it will start selling to developers and hobbyists today(A 10-pack costs $100, to ship this fall.) The goal is to be inexpensive enough that stores or other places could have a lot of beacons out at a time. They’re small enough to attach to something—a shoe? a salesperson?—and their novel look might even draw some curiosity.

How do they work and what do they do? Beacons—basically a battery and a tiny, low-energy computer—send unique Bluetooth radio pulses, which a mobile device can recognize. (Apple’s beacon language—which has early traction—is called iBeacon, and Google will be catching up in the next version of Android.)

It’s important to note that beacons don’t receive information, so they aren’t actually watching you themselves. To be monitored—at least how things stand today—you will first need to install a specific app and give it permission to track your location.

Some potential applications: If you’re using, say, a museum’s app as you walk around, it can launch into specific information about the sculpture you’re standing in front of. Or if you’ve pre-ordered an iced latte using a coffee shop’s app, a beacon at the door can tell the baristas that you’ve arrived. Estimote has also published a video of some ways it hopes beacons will be used.

There’s still a lot to figure out about how people will feel about interacting with beacons, whether the benefits will outweigh potential privacy concerns, or whether stores will actually do anything useful with all the data they’ll have access to. But expect to see and hear more about beacons in the near future.

Reprinted with permission from Quartz. The original story can be found here

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.